STEM Partnerships Forum
12 February 2018

Optimising STEM Industry-School Partnerships

In its submission to the Forum’s consultation on STEM industry-school partnerships, AHISA expressed its concern that deficit-model thinking about schools had informed the consultation issues paper. AHISA argued that a more nuanced understanding of the performance of Australian schools and the academic achievement of Australian students would provide a better platform for successful industry-school partnerships.

In relation to the issue of tertiary STEM course prerequisites, AHISA noted that students’ career aspirations can be distorted by a lack of prerequisites for entry to university STEM degree courses and anomalies in the scaling of marks for the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) score. While AHISA supports the reinstatement of prerequisites for university courses, it also recommended that the federal Minister for Education directs the Higher Education Standards Panel or a specially convened advisory panel to review the impact of university admission processes on students’ senior secondary subject choices.

AHISA also argued that school educators’ views must be accounted for in government policy making on national initiatives that have a direct impact on teaching and learning in schools, and supported establishment of a STEM Education Leadership Taskforce.

In relation to the Forum’s proposal that a Unique Student Identifier (USI) be introduced, AHISA noted that the public’s concerns over data privacy and surveillance are becoming increasingly prevalent as digital technologies evolve. AHISA recommended that that any proposal to introduce a school USI should be case tested against a review of the existing VET USI scheme.

In regard to teachers maintaining knowledge of industry developments in their subject area, AHISA noted the important role that teachers’ subject associations play in discipline-specific professional development. AHISA also noted that, to give the broadest reach into the teaching profession and schools, consideration could be given to tasking the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to issue relevant updates with advice on how new research and industry developments might be related to the various stages of the Curriculum.

  Submission on Optimising STEM Industry-School Partnerships - full version