Monday, December 21, 2009

History of CALL

CALL’s origins and development trace back to the 1960’s (Delcloque 2000). Since the early days CALL has developed into a symbiotic relationship between the development of technology and pedagogy.

Warschauer divided the development of CALL into three phases: Behavioristic CALL, Communicative CALL and Integrative CALL (Multimedia and the Internet)[1]. Bax (2003) perceived the three phases as Restricted, Open and Integrated - and there have been several other attempts to categorize the history of CALL: see the ICT4LT website (Section 3 of Module 1.4)].

Because repeated exposure to material was considered to be beneficial or even essential, computers were considered ideal for this aspect of learning as the machines did not get bored or impatient with learners and the computer could present material to the student as his/her own pace and even adapt the drills to the level of the student. Hence, CALL programs of this era presented a stimulus to which the learner provided a response. At first, both could be done only through text. The computer would analyze errors and give feedback. More sophisticated programs would react to students’ mistakes by branching to help screens and remedial activities. While such programs and their underlying pedagogy still exist today, to a large part behavioristic approaches to language learning have been rejected and the increasing sophistication of computer technology has lead CALL to other possibilities.

Communicative CALL is based on the communicative approach that became prominent in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. In the communicative approach, the focus is on using the language rather than analysis of the language, teaching grammar implicitly. It also allowed for originality and flexibility in student output of language. It also correlates with the arrival of the PC, making computing much widely available resulting in a boom in the development of software for language learning. The first CALL software in this phase still provided skill practice but not in a drill format, for example, paced reading, text reconstruction and language games but computer remained the tutor. In this phase, however, computers provided context for students to use the language, such as asking for directions to a place. It also allowed for programs not designed for language learning, such as Sim City, Sleuth and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? to be used for language learning. However, criticisms of this approach include using the computer in an ad hoc and disconnected manner for more marginal rather than the central aims of language teaching. It usually taught skills such as reading and listening in a compartmentalized way, even if not in a drill fashion.

Integrative/explorative CALL, starting from the 1990’s, tries to address these criticisms by integrating the teaching of language skills into tasks or projects to provide direction and coherence. It also coincides with the development of multimedia technology (providing text, graphics, sound and animation) as well as computer-mediated communication. CALL in this period saw a definitive shift of use of computer for drill and tutorial purposes (computer as a finite authoritative base for a specific task) to a medium for extending education beyond the classroom and reorganizing instruction. Multimedia CALL started with interactive laser videodiscs such as “Montevidisco” (Schneider & Bennion 1984) and “A la rencontre de Philippe” (Fuerstenberg 1993), all of which were simulations of situations where the learner played a key role. These programs later were transferred to CD-ROMs, and new RPGs such as Who is Oscar Lake? made their appearance in a range of different languages.

In multimedia programs, listening is combined with seeing, just like in the real world. Students also control the pace and the path of the interaction. Interaction is in the foreground but many CALL programs also provide links to explanations simultaneously. An example of this is Dustin’s simulation of a foreign student’s arrival in the USA. Programs like this led also to what is called explorative CALL.

More recent research in CALL has favored a learner-centered explorative approach, where students are encouraged to try different possible solutions to a problem, for example the use of concordance programs. This approach is also described as data-driven learning (DDL), a term coined by Tim Johns. See Module 2.4 at the ICT4LT site, Using concordance programs in the Modern Foreign Languages classroom.

Problem and Criticisms of CALL instructions

The impact of CALL in foreign language education has been modest. [7] Several reasons can be attributed to this.
The first is the limitations of the technology, both in its ability and availability. First of all, there is the problem with cost[1] and the simple availability of technological resources such as the Internet (either non-existent as can be the case in many developing countries or lack of bandwidth, as can be the case just about anywhere). [3] However, the limitations that current computer technology has can be problematic as well. While computer technology has improved greatly in the last three decades, demands placed on CALL have grown even more so. One major goal is to have computers with which students can have true, human-like interaction, esp. for speaking practice; however, the technology is far from that point. Not to mention that if the computer cannot evaluate a learner’s speech exactly, it is almost no use at all. [7][1]
However, most of the problems that appear in the literature on CALL have more to do with teacher expectations and apprehensions about what computers can do for the language learner and teacher. Teachers and administrators tend to either think computers are worthless or even harmful, or can do far more than they are really capable of. [6]
Reluctance on part of teachers can come from lack of understanding and even fear of technology. Often CALL is not implemented unless it is required even if training is offered to teachers. [6] One reason for this is that from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, computer technology was limited mostly for the sciences, creating a real and psychological distance for language teaching. [14] Language teachers can be more comfortable with textbooks because it is what they are used do, and there is the idea that the use of computers threatens traditional literacy skills since such are heavily tied to books. [14] [15] These stem in part because there is a significant generation gap between teachers (many of whom did not grow up with computers) and students (who did grow up with them).
Also, teachers may resist because CALL activities can be more difficult to evaluate than more traditional exercises. For example, most Mexican teachers feel strongly that a completed fill-in textbook “proves” learning. [15] While students may be motivated by exercises like branching stories, adventures, puzzles or logic, these activities provide little in the way of systematic evaluation of progress. [3]
Even teachers who may otherwise see benefits to CALL may be put off by the time and effort needed to implement it well. However “seductive” the power of computing systems may be[3], like with the introduction of the audio language lab in the 1960’s, those who simply expect results by purchasing expensive equipment are likely to be disappointed. [1] To begin with, there are the simple matters of sorting through the numerous resources that exist and getting students ready to use computer resources. With Internet sites alone, it can be very difficult to know where to begin, and if students are unfamiliar with the resource to be used, the teacher must take time to teach it. [3] Also, there is a lack of unified theoretical framework for designing and evaluating CALL systems as well as absence of conclusive empirical evidence for the pedagogical benefits of computers in language. [7] Most teachers lack the time or training to create CALL-based assignments, leading to reliance on commercially-published sources, whether such are pedagogically sound or not. [1]
However, the most crucial factor that can lead to the failure of CALL, or the use of any technology in language education is not the failure of the technology, but rather the failure to invest adequately in teacher training and the lack of imagination to take advantage of the technology's flexibility. Graham Davies states that too often, technology is seen as a panacea, especially by administrators, and the human component necessary to make it beneficial is ignored. Under these circumstances, he argues, "it is probably better to dispense with technology altogether".[8]

Rody Klein, Clint Rogers and Zhang Yong (2006), studying the adoption of Learning Technologies in Chinese schools and colleges, have also pointed out that the spread of video games on electronic devices, including computers, dictionaries and mobile phones, is feared in most Chinese institutions. And yet every classroom is very well equipped with a desk imbedded computer, Internet connexion, microphone, video projector and remote controlled screen to be used by the teacher for multimedia presentations. Very often the 'leaders' prefer to ban completely Learning Technologies for students at the dismay of many foreign ESL teachers. Books and exercise books still prevail. In order to enhance CALL for teaching ESL and other languages in developing countries, it would be also crucial to teach students how to learn by themselves and develop the capacity to practice self evaluation and enhance intrinsic motivation. Tests and quizzes should be designed accordingly to encourage and enhance students autonomous practice. Teachers using CALL should be computer literate and trained continuously. Ideally each Foreign Language Department using CALL should hire an experienced Computer Scientist who could assist teachers. That expert should demonstrate dual expertise both in Education and Learning Technologies.
Diposkan oleh muhammad ridho alsri di 02:12 0 komentar
Label: call
Posted by ryan hardy at 11:24 AM 0 comments
Labels: call
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
* Michel Faber
* The Guardian, Saturday 30 July 2005

Dirty Words: The Story of Sex Talk by Mark Morton

Buy Dirty Words: The Story of Sex Talk at the Guardian bookshop

Dirty Words: The Story of Sex Talk
by Mark Morton
368pp, Atlantic Books, £12.99

Seductively billed as "the perfect book for lovers, and language-lovers, alike", Dirty Words attempts to catalogue every English word ever used for sexual purposes. In an orgy of etymological fervour, it ploughs into the roots of love, limerence, glamour, cunnilingus and fartleberries. There are 1,300 terms listed for the male sex organ, many of them amusingly surreal (hairy banana, blue-veined custard chucker, whoopee stick, finger puppet) and many others pitiably desperate (dangling participle, male interfemoral infidel). I doubt that this is the perfect book for lovers, but it's certainly the perfect book for anyone who can imagine themselves enlivening a dull dinner party by saying: "Did you know that the word felch denotes the act of sucking one's own semen out of another person's buttocks?"

The joy of lascivious lingo is diminished, however, by Morton's approach and writing style. Tracing the evolution of words back to their conjectural proto-Indo-European origins is a scholarly business, yet this book seems touched by a nymphomaniac desire to attract all passersby, regardless of their levels of intellect or interest. So hard does Morton strive to service everyone, and so determined is he not to appear offputtingly intellectual, that he often seems to be addressing Homer Simpsons who've never given a thought to language before: "Clearly, Old English doesn't look much like Modern English - you might even say they're different languages. Then again, you probably don't resemble your grandmother, and yet think of how much, at the genetic level, you owe her: if she hadn't existed, you wouldn't be here." (This observation, already twice as long as it needs to be, is elaborated for a further six lines.)

From the outset, Morton promises not to trouble us with "squiggly marks" (ie, lexicographical symbols). He also cautions us against reading too much of his book at once, because "you'll probably get a headache". His day job as a professor at the University of Winnipeg makes him eminently qualified to discuss ribald Shakespearian puns, but perhaps his lifelong devotion to pedagogy blinds him to the fact that not everybody has yet to glean the basics of an education. Some of his gestures are so condescending as to be unintentionally parodic: "Mother-fucker emerged as an insult in the 1920s, though that incest taboo was articulated much earlier, most notably in Oedipus Rex, a Greek tragedy written in the fifth century BC by Sophocles."

Dirty Words is plumped out to 368 pages by a shameful amount of padding. Morton, apart from being a waffly stylist, cannot resist telling us the origins of words that have little or nothing to do with his subject. "Amazingly, the word mouse is closely related to both muscle and mussel," he enthuses, and there are hundreds more of these Reader's Digest tickles of edification. Morton's passion for etymology is commendable, but an editor should have reminded him what book he was supposed to be writing.

Sadly, Morton's labour of love seems to have been unassisted. Several glaring copyediting errors in the introduction (including one in the third sentence) make it obvious that Dirty Words was originally called The Lover's Tongue, before the UK publishers ditched this title - evidently in haste - in favour of a sensationalist surrogate. Real shock value, however, is supplied by Atlantic's slipshod production of the book. There is a chunk of text missing between pages 24 and 25, and a disconnected paragraph on the etymology of bunkum is left stranded on page 220. Morton's heavyhanded humour when he denies imagined accusations of coprophemia, aischrolatreia and lalochezia by saying that "you - dear reader - can decide for yourself after perusing the remaining two hundred pages" is made heavier still by the fact that nobody at Atlantic noticed that this estimate is 100 pages out. Editorial passivity may also be the reason why no one thought to anglicise the confusing American usages of pants and ass, cut out the Canadian in-jokes, or dispense with Morton's step-by-step explanation of how Cockney rhyming slang works. There is no index, so the chances of finding that elusive synonym for gamahuching a second time are slim.

Sometimes, the saving grace of an annoyingly written textbook is that it offers information unavailable elsewhere, or collects material from disparate sources in a uniquely convenient form. Dirty Words aims for the latter distinction; Morton has done an admirable job combing through the available literature on "indecent" words - shelfloads of dictionaries, thesauruses, histories, and specialist studies - and collating the results in a single volume. While there are websites such as that list all the terms in Morton's book and more, there is, to my knowledge, no other book that offers such a compendious and up-to-date trove of erotic etymology. The closest contender is Hugh Rawson's A Dictionary of Invective, which is narrower in scope (though not as narrow as its title suggests) and goes no further than 1989.

For an authority who might influence people's attitudes towards language, Morton is regrettably reluctant to use basic English words himself. Whenever he speaks in his own, "neutral" voice, he resorts to copulate and the deplorable pudendum (a term derived from a Latin verb meaning "to cause shame"). Far from proving that the study of language can cure deep-seated anxieties about "dirty" words, Morton merely confirms the cliché of the donnish lexicographer, goggling at exotic linguistic behaviours he's too prim to adopt.

CALL and Computational Linguistic

CALL and computational linguistics are separate but somewhat interdependent fields of study. The basic goal of computational linguistics is to “teach” computers to generate and comprehend grammatically-acceptable sentences… for purposes of translation and direct communication with computers where the computer understands and generates natural language. Computational linguistics takes the principles of

A very simple example of computers understanding natural language in relation to second language learning is vocabulary drill exercises. The computer prompts the learner with a word on either the L1 or target language and the student responds with the corresponding word.

On a superficial level, the core issue for humans and computers using language is the same; finding the best match between a given speech sound and its corresponding word string, then generating the correct and appropriate response. However, humans and machines process speech in fundamentally different ways. Humans use complex cognitive processes, taking into account variables such as social situations and rules while speech for a computer is simply a series of digital values to generate and parse language.journal=Language Learning and Technology |volume=2 |issue=1 |pages=45–60 |id= |url= |accessdate= 2007-12-02 }} For this reason, those involved in CALL from a computational linguistics perspective tend to be more optimistic about a computer’s ability to do error analysis and other pedagogical tasks than those who come into CALL via language teaching. [2]

The term Human Language Technologies is often used to describe some aspects of computational linguistics, having replaced the former term Language Engineering. There has been an upsurge of work in this area in recent years, especially with regard to machine translation and speech synthesis and speech analysis. The professional associations EUROCALLCALICO (USA) have special interest groups (SIGs), respectively devoted to Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Intelligent CALL (ICALL). See Module 3.5 at the ICT4LT website for further information. (Europe) and

[edit] Theoretical basis for CALL instruction design

Computers have become so widespread in schools and homes and their uses have expanded so dramatically that the majority of language teachers now think about the implications. Technology can bring about changes in the teaching methodologies of foreign language beyond simply automating fill-in-the-gap exercises. [3] The use of the computer in and of itself does not constitute a teaching method, but rather the computer forces pedagogy to develop in new ways that exploit the computer's benefits and that work around its limitations. [1] To exploit the computers’ potential, we need language teaching specialists who can promote a complementary relationship between computer technology and appropriate pedagogic programs. [3]

A number of pedagogical approaches have developed in the computer age, including the communicative and integrative/experimentative approaches outlined above in the History of CALL. Others include constructivism, whole language theory and sociocultural theory although they are not exclusively theories of language learning. With constructivism, students are active participants in a task in which they “construct” new knowledge based on experience in order to incorporate new ideas into their already-established schema of knowledge. Whole language theory postulates that language learning (either native or second language) moves from the whole to the part; rather than building sub-skills like grammar to lead toward higher abilities like reading comprehension, whole language insists the opposite is the way we really learn to use language. Students learn grammar and other sub-skills by making intelligent guesses bases on the input they have experienced. It also promotes that the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) are interrelated. [4] Sociocultural theory states that learning is a process of becoming part of a desired community and learning that communities rules of behavior. [5]

What most of these approaches have in common is taking the central focus away from the teacher as a conveyor of knowledge to giving students learning experiences that are as realistic as possible, and where they play a central role. Also, these approaches tend to emphasize fluency over accuracy to allow students to take risks in using more student-centered activities, and to cooperate, rather than compete. [3] The computer provides opportunity for students to be less dependent on a teacher and have more freedom to experiment on their own with natural language in natural or semi-natural settings.

Primary education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
A primary school in Český Těšín, Czech Republic.
A Pakistani primary student.

Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. It is preceded by pre-school or nursery education and is followed by secondary education. In North America this stage of education is usually known as elementary education.

In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education, though in many jurisdictions it is permissible for parents to provide it. The transition to secondary school or high school is somewhat arbitrary, but it generally occurs at about eleven or twelve years of age. Some educational systems have separate middle schools with the transition to the final stage of education taking place at around the age of fourteen.

The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy amongst all pupils, as well as establishing foundations in science, geography, history, math, and other social sciences. The relative priority of various areas, and the methods used to teach them, are an area of considerable political debate.

Typically, primary education is provided in schools, where the child will stay in steadily advancing classes until they complete it and move on to high school/secondary school. Children are usually placed in classes with one teacher who will be primarily responsible for their education and welfare for that year. This teacher may be assisted to varying degrees by specialist teachers in certain subject areas, often music or physical education. The continuity with a single teacher and the opportunity to build up a close relationship with the class is a notable feature of the primary education system.

Traditionally, various forms of corporal punishment have been an integral part of early education. Recently this practice has come under attack, and in many cases been outlawed, especially in Western countries.



Use of CALL for the four skills

A number of studies have been done concerning how the use of CALL affects the development of language learners’ four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). Most report significant gains in reading and listening and most CALL programs are geared toward these receptive skills because of the current state of computer technology. However, most reading and listening software is based on drills. [3] Gains in writing skills have not been as impressive as computers cannot assess this well. [4]

However, using current CALL technology, even with its current limitations, for the development of speaking abilities has gained much attention. There has been some success in using CALL, in particular computer-mediated communication, to help speaking skills closely linked to “communicative competence” (ability to engage in meaningful conversation in the target language) and provide controlled interactive speaking practice outside the classroom. [7] Using chat has been shown to help students routinize certain often-used expressions to promote the development of automatic structure that help develop speaking skills. This is true even if the chat is purely textual. The use of videoconferencing give not only immediacy when communicating with a real person but also visual cues, such as facial expressions, making such communication more authentic.[4]

However, when it comes to using the computer not as a medium of communication (with other people) but as something to interact with verbally in a direct manner, the current computer technology’s limitations are at their clearest. Right now, there are two fairly successful applications of automatic speech recognition (ASR) (or speech processing technology) where the computer “understands” the spoken words of the learner. The first is pronunciation training. Learners read sentences on the screen and the computer gives feedback as to the accuracy of the utterance, usually in the form of visual sound waves.[7] The second is software where the learner speaks commands for the computer to do. However, speakers in these programs are limited to predetermined texts so that the computer will “understand” them. [3]

CALL It's Scope and Limits

The setting

Frank Berberich stood large over the console of the wonderful CALL lab put together by Kaz Nozawa at Toyohashi Gikadai as he led a curiosity-filled group through his current thinking about CALL software. The setting for the chapter meeting of Toyohashi JALT was well-chosen: the lab is designed for teaching both language and CALL software construction.

Berberich's projected scenarios for CALL

Frank's work at Tsukuba's University of Library and Information Science has led him to some grounded and broad attempts to characterize what is being done and what might optimally be done in CALL in general and in Japan in particular.

First Frank laid out his three imagined scenarios for CALL, the Star Trek scenario, where the target language is instantly integrated into one's mind; the 2001 scenario, where the machine is a fully human conversationalist and tutor; and the Now scenario, the current state of the art (in in the non- ideal sense of the term) scenario, where interaction is via keyboard/screen and audio/visual multimedia are basic.

Berberich's dimensions of CALL

Reaching far beyond other researchers' difficult-to-use qualitative lists of CALL activity types, Frank has created a proposed list of dimensions of CALL, a set of continua which make characterizing individual CALL objects (e.g. software) simple and revealing. A couple of examples of these continua: User Memory Load, the degree to which the user's memory is exercised; Data Access, the extent of the system's database; System Layering, the complexity of the system in terms of how much it is doing with the user data. These terms were demystified as Frank led the audience through a series of demonstrations of the design of a number of pieces of CALL software, both programs and CDROMS, and showed how each would rate on his dimensions.

The current state of CALL software

Some basic views underlying Frank's talk: current CALL software is limited, perhaps disappointing, since most items are either slick programmer productions which miss much of the wisdom that educators have to offer, or are educator produced and lack the stimulating interface that a programmer could provide.

Computer Adaptive Testing

All this suggests a need for "layered systems that can deal with flexible input and output, freely branch within and access a large base of tasks and data, depending onuser inputs, and can collect and process multiple user inputs for ongoing refinement of the system." For a hint of such a system, readers are directed to Frank's article,

Berberich, F. (1995). Computer Adaptive Testing and its extension to a teaching model in CALL. "CAELL Journal" 6 (2), 11-18.

Nozawa home page

So much information, so many sources, all laid out in a brief meeting. And there were distractions: the audience sat at computers linked to the web, and many had a good browse of Kaz Nozawa's home page, an excellent springboard for those seeking some map of what, where and how in CALL. The wise observer would merely note Kaz' URL and browse it later, but warm and generous environment proved irresistible for many of us.

Toyohashi JALT are to be commended for putting together an event worthy of giving up a beautiful sunny Sunday.

The impotance of CALL Accounting Software Continues to Grow

Rito Salomone
There was once a time when there were no telephones, facsimile machines, personal devices, computers or the Internet. Today most people cannot phantom such a primitive existence. Communication is the link that allows our world to function at its torrid pace. Business must continually adopt modern technology to successfully compete in a world that demands instantaneous results. The proper management of communication infrastructure is crucial in the success of any organization.

The entry points into every organization usually include a combination of auto attendant, custom call routing (CCR), voice mail, interactive voice response (IVR), automated call distribution (ACD), wireless and countless other devices. Many organizations are turning to communication servers over conventional PBX systems to deploy VoIP based pipelines that reduce cost and maximize flexibility. Voice and data communication can now co-exist and flow freely through the same bandwidth. Calls can easily be configured to simultaneously ring multiple devices, hunt to wireless or home phones, route to voice mail or forward to another call center.

Communication management is now a multi-pronged approach that combines statistics from various facilities to identify billing irregularities, misuse, bottlenecks, inactivity, productivity or workforce expense.

Billing reconciliation is often overlooked since carriers always bill based on contracted tariff plans, right? According to analysts at Gartner, "Organizations can routinely save more than 10% of their annual telecommunications expenses by systematically checking their carrier bills against equipment and services in use." But it is no longer effective to look exclusively at your traditional telephone invoices and compare them to the call accounting system in the back room.

The old adage rings true today "you cannot manage what you cannot measure". Call accounting is no longer the killer application of current times but it is certainly a necessary component. Leading edge communication management systems now collect system logs, Internet usage reports, router statistics, voice mail logs, CCR, hunt group information and various device-dependent logs as well as traditional call detail records (CDR).

Have you ever called your favorite electronics store to inquire about the latest digital cameras but got trapped in a series of never-ending prompts about store hours, hard drive specials and video games? Many companies are taking advantage of communication management systems (CMS) that study activity from automated attendant and custom call routing trees. These reports help pinpoint whether calls are being prematurely dropped, abandoned or misdirected. It is imperative that customers are quickly and efficiently routed to their desired destination. The customer experience with your communication facilities will dictate whether they return.

Cost allocation to various corporate levels has been a basic functionality of most robust call accounting system for years. The downward trend of long distance expenses due to falling carrier rates, bundled services and VoIP competition has lessened the importance of this feature. This has resulted in the misconception that call accounting is no longer relevant. However many companies forget that there are many hidden costs that can be highlighted through proper use of call accounting or communication management software.

If Jimmy in sales spends half his time talking on the phone, management might be thrilled at his dedication. However if Jimmy is spending half his time talking to his girlfriend, perhaps management should take a second look. Call Accounting can be a key indicator of misuse and employee productivity. Employee productivity recovery is one of the primary reasons to own a system today!

Often fraudulent calls may be routed through corporate facilities without the knowledge of the company. Hackers can find faults in improperly designed networks, infrequently used extensions, voice mail ports and tandem trunks. A call accounting watchdog should always be monitoring activity for irregular patterns. Modern call management systems utilize SMS, pager, email and web interfaces for instantaneous reporting.

Communication management is imperative in providing the proper metrics for migrating to IP. Most companies do not even have a proper migration strategy. Call accounting can help ease the transition by highlighting traffic volumes, peak hours, grade of service, abandoned calls, blocked calls, calls to reception and various other peg counts. These statistics will help determine the bandwidth needs and requirements for auto attendant, wireless, IVR and other services.

Some communication management systems have been established interoperability with major manufacturers such as Nortel, Cisco and Avaya. These systems often provide more tight knit integration through third party call control. These solutions often enhance the hardware by adding such features as: forced and verified account codes, call trace, set locking and real time emergency notification.

Often companies forget about the need for pinpointing the source of a telephone call in case of an emergency. Many call accounting systems have built-in real time alarm triggers that will alert authorized personnel of an emergency call. This feature is crucial when seconds could mean life or death.

Call accounting has definitely evolved and matured into communication management. The need for this software is more important than ever.

Education in Australia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Education in Australia
Flag of Australia.svg
Federal Minister for Education Julia Gillard
National education budget (2006)
Budget: $40.44 Billion (5.8% of GDP)
General Details
Primary Languages: English
System Type: Federal
Compulsory Education
Literacy (2003)
Total: 99[1]
Male: 99[1]
Female: 99[1]
Total: 17% of population
Primary: 1.9 million
Secondary: 0.9 million
Post Secondary: 0.4 million
Secondary diploma <>
Post-secondary diploma 34%

Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of states and territories.

Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE Colleges). The Programme for International Student Assessment for 2006 ranks the Australian education system as 6th on a worldwide scale for Reading, 8th for Science and 13th for Mathematics.[2]

Education is compulsory up to an age specified by legislation; this age varies from state to state but is generally 15-17, that is prior to completing secondary education. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFE) and the higher education sector (university).

The academic year in Australia varies between institutions, but generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities with seasonal holidays and breaks for each educational institute.



[edit] Pre-school

Pre-school in Australia is relatively unregulated, and is not compulsory. The first exposure many Australian children have to learn with others outside of traditional parenting is day care or a parent-run playgroup. This sort of activity is not generally considered schooling. Pre-school education is separate from primary school in all states and territories except Western Australia and Queensland, where pre-school education is taught as part of the primary school system.

Pre-schools are usually run by local councils, community groups or private organizations except in the Northern Territory and Queensland where they are run by the Territory and State Governments respectively. Pre-school is offered to three- to five-year-olds, although attendance numbers vary widely (from 50% in New South Wales to 93% in Victoria). The year before a child is due to attend primary school is the main year for pre-school education. This year is far more commonly attended, and usually takes the form of a few hours of activity five days a week.

[edit] School

Education is compulsory in Australia between the ages of six and fifteen, depending on the state and date of birth, with, in recent years, over three quarters of students staying on until they are seventeen. Government schools educate about two thirds of Australian students, with the other third in private schools, a proportion which is rising in many parts of Australia[citation needed]. Furthermore an increasing proportion[weasel words] of these privately educated children are now being home schooled.

Government schools are generally free, but may incur minor administrative costs, while private schools, both religious and secular, charge larger fees. Regardless of whether a school is government or private, they are required to adhere to the same curriculum frameworks. Most school students, be they in government or private school, usually wear uniforms, although there are varying expectations and some Australian schools do not require uniforms.

[edit] Private schools

The majority of private schools are religious, either catholic or anglican based organisations. Most Catholic schools are either run by their local parish and/or by each state's Catholic Education Department.

Non-Catholic non-government schools (often called "Independent" schools) enroll about 14% of students. These include schools operated by religious groups and secular educational philosophies such as Montessori.

Some independent schools charge high fees. Government funding for independent schools often comes under criticism from the Australian Education Union and the Australian Labor Party.

[edit] Normal Ages

[edit] Primary

  • Pre-school/Kindergarten: 4-5 year olds
  • Preparatory / Reception / Kindergarten (QLD, NSW,VIC and ACT): 5-6 year olds
  • Year 1: 6-7 year olds
  • Year 2: 7-8 year olds
  • Year 3: 8-9 year olds
  • Year 4: 9-10 year olds
  • Year 5: 10-11 year olds
  • Year 6: 11-12 year olds
  • Year 7: 12-13 year olds (part of primary school in WA, SA, QLD only)

[edit] Secondary

  • Year 7: 12-13 year olds (ACT, NSW, TAS, and VIC,) Middle School NT
  • Year 8: 13-14 year olds
  • Year 9: 14-15 year olds
  • Year 10: 15-16 year olds (high school NT)
  • Year 11: 16-17 year olds
  • Year 12: 17-18 year olds

NB: In some states students may be slightly younger, it varies between states. Some private schools also vary in whether grade 7 is secondary or primary as well as the existence of middle school.

[edit] Comparison of ages and grading across States

Year(s) In School 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Australian Capital Territory Primary School High School College
Kindergarten Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
New South Wales Primary School High School
Kindergarten Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
Northern Territory Primary School Middle School High School
Transition Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
Queensland Primary School High School
Preparatory Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
South Australia Primary School Secondary School/High School
Reception Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
Tasmania Primary School High School College
Preparatory Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
Victoria Primary School Secondary School VCE
Preparatory Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12
Western Australia Primary School High School
Pre-Primary Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11 Year 12

In the Northern Territory, primary schools often include a pre-school. In Western Australia, primary schools often include two pre-school years. Beginning in 2007, the Northern Territory introduced middle schools for Years 7-9 and High School for Years 10-12. Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have a "Year 13" for students wishing to take extra time to develop their skills before tertiary education.

State or




Age in the year

before Year 1

Compulsory age Nomenclature year

before school

Nomenclature year

before Year 1

ACT 4.8 Age 5 on 30 April Year in which

child turns 6

Pre-school Kindergarten
NT 4.6 Age 5 on 30 June Year in which

child turns 6

Pre-school Transition
NSW 4.5 Age 5 on 31 July Year in which

child turns 6

Pre-school Kindergarten
QLD 4.6 Age 5 on 30 June Year in which

child turns 6.64

Kindergarten /


SA[3] 5.0 In the term

after 5th birthday

6 years of age Preschool Reception
TAS 5.0 Age 5 on 1 January Year after

turning 5

Kindergarten Preparatory
VIC 4.8 Age 5 on 30 April Year in which

child turns 6

Kindergarten Preparatory
WA 4.6 Age 5 on 30 June Year in which

child turns 6.6

Kindergarten Pre-Primary

For a Cost/Benefit Analysis relating to the implementation of a common school starting age and associated nomenclature by 1 January 2010 see report by John Manefield and John Moore of March 2006. [1]

[edit] Tertiary

[edit] Public and private education

Search Australian Private and Government Education

[edit] Federal department

Education in Australia has been the responsibility of the following departments:

[edit] See also

[edit] Overview

[edit] Qualifications

[edit] Agencies

[edit] Lists of schools