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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 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?

Question 1 has changed since the 2019 Compliance Certificate collection. Why is this?

The reason the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (the department) has amended this question is to avoid schools mistakenly reporting they were non-compliant with regards to Question 1 due to the fact they were implementing an approved alternative curriculum (e.g. IB, Steiner etc.). The clarification provided in the question will enable schools that are delivering approved alternatives to the Australian curriculum to declare compliance with this requirement on that basis.

Where will I find a copy of the Australian Curriculum?

The current Australian Curriculum can be found at

What curriculum or learning content should our school/s be implementing?

The Australian Curriculum for Foundation to Year 10 has been steadily introduced across all states and territories since 2011.

All government and non-government schools must implement content consistent with the learning areas of the Australian Curriculum including English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Arts, Technologies, and Health and Physical Education. How the content is delivered, including the timing of implementation, is decided by the relevant state or territory education authority.

For a further breakdown of the structure of the Australian Curriculum, see the Australian Curriculum F-10 Overview and Structure on the Australian Curriculum website.

Our school/s delivers an alternative curriculum - is that okay?

Yes. Alternative curriculum frameworks intended for implementation, or currently being implemented by schools must be recognised and approved by the ACARA and must be included in the Recognition Register on the ACARA website (section 42 of the Regulation).

The ACARA assesses well-established curriculum frameworks as alternative means of delivering the Australian Curriculum.

Further information about the Recognition Register and implementation timelines for states and territories can be found at Alternative Curriculum Recognition Register.

Why do I need to report against Achievement Standards? Our school/s already provides readily understandable reports to parents/carers.

Each learning content area in the Australian Curriculum is accompanied by an Achievement Standard. The Achievement Standard refers to the quality of learning (the depth of understanding, extent of knowledge and sophistication of skill) demonstrated by students within a given subject.

The Achievement Standards are important as they provide a nationally consistent point of reference for all teachers when assessing and reporting student outcomes and progress. Achievement Standards are accompanied by a national common set of annotated student work samples compiled by ACARA. These work samples assist teachers to make judgments about student progress toward the Achievement Standard.

Further background about the use of Achievement Standards

Teachers may use Achievement Standards:

  • at the beginning of a learning period to find out what skills and knowledge individual students bring to a new topic, to select the most appropriate content to teach
  • at the end of the learning period to assess student learning and development
  • at the end of a reporting period to determine what each student has learnt in relation to the Australian

The Australian Curriculum can be used flexibly by schools, according to jurisdictional and system policies and schedules, to develop programs that meet the educational needs of their students and that extend and challenge students. Schools implement the Australian Curriculum in ways that value teachers professional knowledge, reflect local contexts and take into account individual students family, cultural and community backgrounds.

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.

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?

What are the requirements for providing the student reports to parents?

The requirements for student reporting are set out in section 59 of the Regulation.

School accountability is the responsibility of the state and territories and individual schools. However, under section 59 of the Regulation, an approved authority for a school must provide a report on achievement for a student who is any of years 1 to 10. The student’s achievement must be reported as A, B, C, D or E (or on an equivalent 5 point scale) for each subject studied, clearly defined against specific learning standards or contain information that the Minister determines equivalent, in providing an accurate and objective assessment of the student's progress and achievement.

What about students with disabilities?

Parents/carers/guardians of children with disability should continue to receive a report of their child’s progress against their individual learning program (or equivalent). These reports are not required to include A to E achievement levels.

If you have provided individual learning program reports to parents of students with disability, and the required student reports in all other cases, then you can answer ‘yes’ to this question.

Do reports have to be exclusively labelled as A, B, C, D, and E?

There is no requirement to assign A to E grades in a particular way, such as on a normal distribution (for example, a ‘bell curve’). For example, all students in a cohort could be given the same grade if they all meet the same requirements for the appropriate learning standard. Reports can be labelled using an equivalent five point scale or approved variation. For example, a scale of ‘Outstanding’, ‘High’, ‘Sound’, ‘Basic’, ‘Limited’ meets the requirements but must include a description of what is expected at each level.

Individual schools/systems may determine how grades are both defined and allocated. Schools also have the additional flexibility to use interim categories (e.g. ‘B+’ etc.), or more than five categories (for example, International Baccalaureate schools use a seven-point scale), however a five-point scale is the minimum requirement.

A student report can also include any additional information that a school may wish to provide.

Is a student report template available?

The department does not provide student report templates. However, common school report card templates are used in state and territory government school systems, some Catholic school systems and in some independent school systems.