In 2012, the department conducted a trial of the EAL/D learning progression, which was developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to support the implementation of the Australian curriculum.
The trial shows very encouraging results. Teachers report the new instrument as easy to use for making reliable judgements of English language proficiency, and it can be used in place of the current NSW English as a second language (ESL) three phase tool. This improved method of assessing English language ability will enable better targeting of support and funding to assist the development of students' English language proficiency.
Existing measures to identify aptitude of students learning English as an additional language or dialect vary significantly among the states and territories. A nationally consistent measure will be important for future national school funding arrangements.
The NSW trial suggests that the EAL/D learning progression is suitable for use in NSW government schools for the purpose of allocating ESL funding to schools.