The 'literacy' idea

Other title(s): The 'literacy' idea

Author(s): Turner, Ross

Organisation(s): Australian Council for Educational Research

Date: 2014

Pages: 5 p.


A central reason why researchers and practitioners refer to domain literacy is to draw attention to the kinds of things students learn in the domain. In a traditional learning domain the focus might be on the acquisition of discrete facts, skills and procedures that have little obvious connection or utility. In a learning domain with a literacy orientation, the focus is on applying the domain’s facts, skills and procedures to support creativity and inventiveness, to solve novel problems and to deal with the kinds of challenges that life presents outside the classroom. In the case of mathematics, for example, a literacy orientation enables students to forge the connections between the facts and procedures that constitute the basis of mathematical knowledge and the real-life situations in which mathematical knowledge can be used. Much of ACER’s assessment work aims to measure levels of student literacy in the various knowledge domains of interest, rather than narrowly defined curriculum-based achievement. This document explains ACER’s approach.

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