The Australian Curriculum

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The Australian International School, Malaysia (AISM) offers students the rigorous and holistic Australian Curriculum with senior students completing the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC). The curriculum is world renowned with Australia rating as one of the highest performing countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Australia performs well above the OECD average and is considered to provide a “high-quality, high-equity” curriculum.

The broad curriculum provides students with opportunities to explore their areas of interest and expertise, extend their knowledge and understanding, and excel in an internationally-recognised Senior Certificate. The HSC provides direct pathways to universities in Australia, seven of which are in the top 100 best universities in the world, as well as universities in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, India and Australian private universities for degree courses in Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Engineering, Architecture, Business Studies, Information Technology, and many other areas of study.


A significant difference between the HSC and other international Senior Curriculums is the recognition that students should be given opportunities to be assessed in a range of ways other than just by external examinations. Assessment for the HSC has two components; 50% of the overall grade comes from a final examination that is set and marked in Australia and the other 50% comes from school-based assignments, examinations and projects.

A Modern Curriculum For A Multicultural Society

According to a report commissioned by the Australian Mutual Provident Society (AMP) in 2010 entitled Income and Wealth Report Issue 27 – Calling Australia Home, Australia was tied with Switzerland as the second most multi-cultural nation in the world, behind Luxemburg. With a growing population made up of 25 per cent skilled migrants, it was essential for Australia to develop a robust and rigorous curriculum that met the needs of a mobile and globally focused, multi-cultural community.

Curriculum development commenced shortly thereafter with the following assumptions:

• that each student can learn and that the needs of every student are important
• that each student is entitled to knowledge, understanding and skills that provide a foundation for successful and lifelong learning …
• high expectations should be set for each student as teachers account for the current level of learning of individual students and the different rates at which students develop
• that the needs and interests of students will vary, and that schools and teachers will plan from the curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests. (The Shape of the Australian Curriculum Version 4, Australian Curriculum, Reporting and Assessment Authority (ACARA), 2012)


General Capabilities And Cross-Curriculum Priorities

The new Curriculum, developed through a rigorous and consultative process, setting high standards for student achievement has been designed to improve learning outcomes for a diverse population of students.

A Well-Resourced And Flexible Curriculum

To support the delivery of the Australian Curriculum to students in urban, regional, remote, island and international settings, the administering organization, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), has developed a range of web-based reference and online interactive resources to assist teachers in a range of contexts to successfully access and deliver the Australian Curriculum to students in Australia and overseas.

The curriculum and its resources are available to domestic and international students and teachers regardless of the remoteness of their location, which makes it a particularly attractive option for international schools such as the AISM as it serves a large expatriate population in Malaysia.


Building Relationships With Asian Neighbours

The Australian Curriculum has been developed to equip students “with the skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable them to engage effectively with and prosper in a globalised world.

Within each learning area opportunities for the development of cross-curriculum priorities are highlighted by icons. In addition, the hyperlinked elaborations, associated with the learning areas, provide examples of how a teacher may develop this area of learning with students.

With Australia’s close economic, social and political links to its Asian neighbours, it is important for students to interpret their learning in the context of their region and to have a greater understanding of cultural diversity and social inclusion. The Australian Curriculum seeks to provide students with the skills to continue to develop these strong links between Australia and its neighbouring countries.

Article by Dr Deborah Priest, AISM Principal
Australian International School Malaysia
Address: 22, Jalan Anggerik, The Mines Resort City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Tel: +603 8949 5000

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