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Data Collections Compliance Certificate

The Compliance Certificate collection helps to provide a level of assurance that school sectors are applying Australian education policies.

Approved Authorities answer questions to confirm that a school has met its obligations under the Australia Education Act 2013. For example, 'Did your school implement the Australian Curriculum as required in your state or territory?'

Answers to Compliance Certificate questions help to shape future education policy.

Section 77 of the Australian Education Act 2013 (the Act) sets out the ongoing policy requirements for all approved authorities to comply with in order to receive Australian Government funding.

The specific requirements are detailed in sections 42 to 60 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013(the Regulation). These conditions are that an approved authority for a school must:

  • implement the Australian Curriculum
  • participate in the national assessment program (NAPLAN and sample based national and international assessments)
  • provide information - e.g. for the school's census, national reporting and My School
  • provide readily understandable student reports to the parents or carers of each child, and
  • make information publicly available about the school within six months of the end of a school year.

The compliance certificate declaration must be completed and declared by an approved authority representative by no later than 5:00pm on Friday, 25 September 2020.

This year's certificate is about confirming compliance with requirements during the 2019 school year only. It does not apply to the current 2020 school year, or 2018, or any earlier year.

You are required to answer the three following questions for the 2019 school year:

  1. Did your school/s implement the Australian Curriculum (teach, assess and report on student achievement using the content and standards in the curriculum) or another curriculum recognised as comparable by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (included in ACARA’s Recognition Register), as required in your state or territory?
  2. Did your school/s collect and report information on the sex of the student, Indigenous status of the student, socioeconomic background (parental education and occupation) and language background of all students?
  3. Did your school/s provide parents and carers of students in years 1 to 10 with reports on student achievement for each subject using A to E or an equivalent scale?

Did your schools collect and report information on the sex, Indigenous status, socioeconomic background (parental education and occupation) and language background of all students enrolled in the 2019 school year?

Why is information on student background characteristics collected?

Accurate and comparable student information assists teachers, principals, parents and governments in understanding different patterns of disadvantage, sharing best practice and innovation in teaching and learning, and directing additional resources to where they are most needed.

The availability of information that allows reporting of student performance data by student background characteristics, particularly by Indigenous status and socioeconomic background, is essential to ensuring that schooling promotes the social inclusion of all students and reduces the effect of factors associated with educational disadvantage.

Nationally consistent and comparable data are also essential to improving the quality and accuracy of monitoring and reporting of progress towards the achievement of national goals and targets.

All Australian governments (state and territory governments and the Australian Government) have given a commitment to raising the educational attainment of all Australian students, and reducing the effect on their performance of sources of disadvantage, such as socioeconomic background, Indigenous status, language background, refugee or humanitarian status, and geographic location. In particular, Indigenous students and students from low socioeconomic backgrounds are under-represented among high achievers and over-represented among low achievers.

If you do not cater for students before foundation select ‘Not Applicable.

What information do we need to collect and report?

For each student, you need to collect information on:

  • the sex of the student
  • the Indigenous status of the student
  • the main language other than English spoken at home of the student
  • the main language other than English spoken at home of both parents
  • the student's country of birth
  • the highest level of schooling completed by each parent
  • the highest educational qualification completed by each parent
  • the occupation group of both parents.

Full details, procedures and forms are set out in the ACARA Data Standards Manual: Data Standards Manual: Student Background Characteristics.

Should we read the ACARA data standards manual?

Yes. To ensure a nationally consistent collection of data on schools and education outcomes, specific performance measures relating to the information outlined in Sections 53 to 58A of the Regulation must be provided.

Why is information collected on parents’ education and occupation?

The Australian Government, and state and territory education ministers, on the advice of measurement experts, decided that, in reporting student outcomes across Australia, the best indicator of the influence of a student’s socio-educational background is their parents’ educational background and occupation. The only way this information can be gathered in a systematic, comprehensive way is by the school when a student enrols by parental consent.

Do we collect this information for all students?

Yes. Reporting of student outcomes data, disaggregated by the agreed student background characteristics, is a standard component of national performance reporting requirements and applies to all schools.

Does student background information have to be collected and/or provided to testing agents for students who are exempted from testing?

Yes. Information about the percentage of ‘assessed students’ is publicly reported. ‘Assessed students’ comprise students who sat the tests and students who were exempted. As the percentages of ‘assessed students’ are reported by the identified student background characteristics (sex, Indigenous status, socioeconomic background and language background), information about the background characteristics of exempt students is needed to compile the test results.

How do schools collect this information?

The student background characteristics information can be collected by schools from students’ parents/guardians on enrolment forms. Pro forma examples for the collection of student background data on enrolment forms are included in the ACARA Data Standards Manual.

Any schools or school systems that have not integrated the data collection requirements in their enrolment process will need to undertake special collections of student background information from students’ parents using the question modules specified in the Data Standards Manual.

Once information has been obtained from parents using the method set out in the Data Standards Manual, it does not require updating unless schools require so for their own purposes, or there is a requirement under privacy legislation applicable to the state/territory or sector that it be updated.

Your school needs to ensure that the collected data is as complete and accurate as possible, is coded correctly, is entered on the school’s administrative computer system, and can be accessed or retrieved for linking to student performance data. Processes need to be in place for providing the student background information in the format required by the test administration authority (for Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 literacy and numeracy tests) or an assessment contractor (for Year 4, 6, 8 and Year 10 students participating in sample-based national or international assessments).

Your school should provide the background information collected on each student to the test administration authority that is delivering the sample-based assessment at your school. They will then link this information to the student’s test paper.

Where can we get more help?

The ACARA Data Standards Manual provides full details, including the names and contact details of people who can help in your school sector.