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Curriculum advice and guidelines

QCAA has worked in partnership with the schooling sectors to develop the following specific advice.

Time allocations

This paper provides advice about time allocations and entitlement as a starting point for decisions about timetabling.

Mapping tools

Scope and sequence

See this document developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Planning templates and exemplars

The purpose of planning is to achieve system and school teaching and learning aims. Through planning, school leaders and teachers decide how to organise the school’s curriculum — the sum total of the learning and development experiences that are offered by a school, formally and informally, in class and out of class.

Curriculum and assessment planning within schools occurs at three levels: whole school, year and unit. Each plan complements the others as they work together to support student learning.

Whole school plans

Whole school curriculum and assessment planning outlines the school’s priorities in response to the broad policy contexts that influence teaching and learning. It informs and is informed by the year level plans.

  • Under development: Whole school plan and whole school plan exemplar.

Year level plans

Year level curriculum and assessment planning identifies the specific teaching, learning and assessment in a learning area for the year. It clarifies the curriculum intent and ensures coverage, balance and responsiveness across the year. It is informed by the whole school plan and guides the development of unit overviews.

Unit overviews

Unit overviews identify the specific curriculum content, teaching strategies, and approaches to assessment and resources. They are informed by the whole school plan and the year level plan.

Multiple year level planning

This paper highlights some of the planning issues associated with the enactment of the Australian Curriculum in Queensland classrooms with multiple year levels.

Year level plans for multiple year levels

Year level curriculum and assessment planning identifies the specific teaching, learning and assessment in a learning area for a designated span of year levels for the year. It clarifies the curriculum intent and ensures coverage, balance and responsiveness across the year. It is informed by the whole school plan and guides the development of unit overviews.

  • Under development: Multiple year level planning templates and exemplars.

Unit overviews for multiple year levels

Unit overviews identify the specific curriculum content, teaching strategies, and approaches to assessment and resources. They are informed by the whole school plan and the year level plan.

  • Under development: Multiple year level unit overview templates and exemplars.

Geography curriculum resources

Catering for diversity

Inclusive strategies should be considered when planning, developing and documenting the adjustment of learning experiences and assessment. Information statements about inclusive strategies are available on the catering for diversity page.

The general capabilities (GCs) and the cross-curriculum priorities (CCPs), together with curriculum content in each learning area, have been written to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century. They will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to the learning areas.

General capabilities resources

Cross-curriculum priorities resources

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Protocols outline the roles and relationships expected of teachers and students working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and knowledges. Information and resources about building relationships with local communities, and protocols that ensure culturally appropriate use of Indigenous collections, please refer to Indigenous perspectives support materials.


Standard elaborations

The draft Standards elaborations (SEs) are a resource developed to assist teachers to use the Australian Curriculum achievement standards to make consistent, comparable and defensible A to E judgments about the evidence of achievement in a folio of student work.

The 2013 draft SEs validation process collected data from teachers using the draft SEs across the four learning areas (English, Mathematics, Science and History). Participants were from all year levels P–10 in Government, Catholic and Independent schools in regional and metropolitan areas. Both primary and secondary teachers at the focus groups who were using the SEs agreed that the SEs:

  • identify the valued features of the curriculum
  • provide an elaboration of the Australian Curriculum content descriptions and achievement standards
  • support teachers to make consistent judgments about the evidence in a folio of student work using the Australian Curriculum achievement standards
  • support teachers to plan and develop assessment programs and tasks
  • assist teachers to develop task-specific standards.

It has also been agreed that to strengthen a national approach to assessment and standards, the Australian Curriculum achievement standard will be pitched at the “C” standard. The standard elaborations are being refined to reflect this.

The refined SEs will be published soon.

Assessment resources

Assessment categories, techniques and conditions

Principles of assessment

Assessment for learning

For fact sheets about assessment for learning see:

Developing assessments

For fact sheets about developing assessment see:

Making judgments

Task-specific standards can be prepared as a matrix or continua. The standard elaborations are a resource that can be used to inform the development of task-specific standards.

Using feedback

Assessment alone will not contribute to improved learning. It is what teachers and students do with assessment and other available information that makes a difference.

For factsheets about feedback see:


The achievement standards guide teacher judgment about how well students have achieved. The most effective way to build consistent and comparable on-balance teacher judgment is through planned activities when teachers — in partnership or team situation — engage in focused professional dialogue to discuss and analyse the quality of student's work, compare their judgments about student's achievement and determine the match between the evidence in student's work and standards. This process is known as moderation.

See the following fact sheets for more information:

Sample assessments

  • Comparing G20 countries
    Students interpret graphical data to compare Australia with other G20 countries in the Asian region. They present findings, and reflect on which country they would most like to live in.


Reporting student achievement

This paper provides advice on reporting to inform the ongoing development of resources by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), schooling sectors and schools.



For definitions of terms used by ACARA in the development of the Australian Curriculum: Geography please see:


The Australian Curriculum sets out what all young people should be taught through the specification of curriculum content and achievement standards.
Curriculum content has three components: disciplinary learning, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities.


A developmental sequence of knowledge, understanding and skills that has its own distinctive body of knowledge and pedagogical traditions. The two strands in Geography and Geographical Knowledge and Understanding and Geographical Inquiry and Skills.


Each strand is organised by sub-strands to illustrate the clarity and sequence of development of concepts through and across the year levels. They support the ability to see the connections across strands and the sequential development of concepts from Foundation to Year 10.

Content elaboration

An example provided to illustrate and exemplify content. Elaborations are not a requirement for the teaching of the Australian Curriculum.


The purposeful and systematic collection of evidence about students' achievements.
Assessment task
A tool or instrument to gather evidence of students' achievement.

Geography standards elaborations

Absolute location
Location measured by the coordinates of latitude and longitude
Fitting, suitable to the context
Cartographic conventions
The elements on a map that are represented by symbols agreed upon by convention such as scale, north point, legend, and compass direction
Characteristics of places
The geographical characteristics of places include people, climate, production, landforms, built elements of the environment, soils, vegetation, communities, water resources, cultures, mineral resources and landscape.
Clarity; Clear
Without ambiguity; explicit
Consideration; Considered
Thought about deliberately with a purpose
Information that is directly recorded; it can be quantitative or qualitative
Description; Descriptive; Describe
Give an account of characteristics or features
Development; Develop
To elaborate on or expand on in detail; to create or construct
Capably meets the described requirements
Explanation; Explanatory; Explain
Provide additional information that demonstrates understanding of reasoning and/or application
A summary of information gathered through a series of investigations
Disjointed, incomplete or isolated.
Frame; Framing
A structure that underlies geographical inquiry
Identification, Identify
Establish or indicate who or what someone or something is
Inference; Infer
A conclusion reached on the basis of evidence or reasoning
The way that people and/or geographical phenomena are connected to each other through environmental processes and human activity
Limited in range
Attempted; incomplete evidence provided
A regularity in data portrayed in graphs or maps, for example, the decline in population density or rainfall in Australia with increasing distance from the coast
Place refers to parts of the Earth's surface and can be described by location, shape, boundaries, features and environmental and human characteristics
A plan or solution in response to a situation
Covers the scope of relevant situations or elements
Reflections; Reflect
To carefully consider ideas based on new learning
Relative location
Location relative to other places, for example, the distance of a town from other towns.
Applicable or pertinent
Representing geographical information in a visual form, for example, a graph, map, image, field-sketch or a multilayered map
Scale refers to the different spatial levels used to investigate phenomena or represent phenomena visually
Involving few elements, components or steps; obvious data or outcomes
In a Geography context, sources can include written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate geographical phenomena or activities such as photographs, plans, satellite images, story books and films
Spatial distribution
The arrangement of particular phenomena or activities across the surface of the Earth
A sentence or assertion

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