The New Basics Trial in Queensland (2000 –04) was about improving educational outcomes. At its heart was the idea that, to do this, there must be an orchestration of the message systems of curriculum, teaching and assessment – and that these changes must be in practices, not merely in statements of intention or expectation. This paper spans the trial period (2000 –04) and the immediate post-trial period (2005), showing how research evidence informed policy-making. The New Basics approach (which introduced three suites of Rich Tasks covering three 3-year spans from Year 1 to Year 9) to curriculum, teaching, assessment, reporting, and school organisation was developed and trialled because of a widespread recognition and acceptance in 1999 –2000 that major changes in education were absolutely essential, particularly in the compulsory years of schooling. Ultimately, there were three objects of learning from the New Basics trial: the New Basics per se (which was the aim of the exercise), the management of intervention, and the education system itself. In this paper, the author focuses on two of them: one, the strengths and weaknesses of the New Basics idea in practice; and two, the critical issues that have been identified as applying across the State beyond New Basics and beyond state schools. This paper spans the trial period (2000 –04) and the immediate post-trial period (2005), showing how research evidence informed policy-making.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gabrielle_matters/9/