Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS)
The Victorian Essential Learning Standards recognise the differing learning needs of students at three stages of learning. Curriculum expectations for student achievement are set at six levels over the 11 years of compulsory schooling. The six levels are broadly associated with Years Prep to 10 and are consistent with the levels for student achievement introduced in the Curriculum and Standards Framework (CSF) in 1995. General expectations of when students will achieve the various standards are:
By clearly specifying the standards appropriate at each of the six levels, the Standards provide a clear picture of the sequence of development a student should progress through at school in terms of the essential physical, personal and social, discipline-based and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. The Standards enable teachers, parents and students not only to determine the knowledge and skills a student currently demonstrates, but also what that student needs to know and be able to do to progress to the next level through to the end of Year 10.
Since standards describe what students know and can do, they focus on the knowledge and skills components of the three strands. This is not to suggest that the behavioural components of the strands are unimportant, but rather to acknowledge they are less amenable to the development of clear standards, and do not necessarily develop in broadly sequential ways. Behaviours included in the Standards will however be the focus of teacher observation which in turn will be referenced in student reports.
Standards in the Victorian Essential Learning Standards are set at a challenging level, not minimum competence, in age and developmentally appropriate ways. This helps to ensure that students are stretched to learn, rather than doing work they find easy which potentially leaves them bored.
Each standard describes what students are expected to know and be able to do at that level, and how well they should know and be able to do it. Standards in the English and Mathematics domains are aligned to agreed national benchmarks.
Standards are not set for all domains of the Victorian Essential Learning Standards at all levels. The Standards contain learning focus statements for all domains to assist schools to develop programs appropriate to their own local circumstances. However, formal standards against which student achievement is assessed and reported on, apply where research suggests it is developmentally appropriate, and central to future learning and success in the relevant domain.