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Structure of The Arts domain

The Arts domain uses an eleven level structure to both reflect the design of the Australian Curriculum and to provide a consistent structure across all the AusVELS domains (for more details, please see Overview). Each level includes a learning focus statement and a set of standards. A glossary is included which provides definitions of or information about underlined terms.

Learning focus

Learning focus statements are written for each level. These outline the learning that students need to focus on if they are to progress in the domain and achieve the standards at the levels where they apply. They suggest appropriate learning experiences from which teachers can draw to develop relevant teaching and learning activities. Advice regarding the range of arts disciplines that students should experience is included as an introduction to each learning focus statement.


Standards define what students should know and be able to do at different levels and are written for each dimension. In the Arts, standards for assessing and reporting on student achievement apply from Foundation Level.


Standards in the Arts domain are organised in two dimensions:

  • Creating and making
  • Exploring and responding.

Standards for the Exploring and responding dimension are introduced from Level 4.

The frames of reference – interpreting, responding, performing, presenting, ideas, skills, techniques, processes, context, aesthetics and criticism – are integral to both dimensions as Exploring and responding draws on students’ experiences as creators, makers, performers and/or audience.

Creating and making

The Creating and making dimension focuses on ideas, skills, techniques, processes, performances and presentations. It includes engagement in concepts that emerge from a range of starting points and stimuli. Students explore experiences, ideas, feelings and understandings through making, interpreting, performing, creating and presenting. Creating and making arts works involves imagination and experimentation; planning; the application of arts elements, principles and/or conventions; skills, techniques and processes; media, materials, equipment and technologies; reflection; and refinement. Individually and collaboratively, students explore their own works and works by other artists working in different historic and cultural contexts.

Exploring and responding

The Exploring and responding dimension focuses on context, interpreting and responding, criticism and aesthetics. It involves students analysing and developing understanding about their own and other people’s work and expressing personal and informed judgments of arts works. Involvement in evaluating meaning, ideas and/or content in finished products is integral to engagement in the Arts.

Exploration of, and response to, expressive qualities of arts works is informed by critical analysis of the use of elements, content and techniques and discussion about the nature, content, and formal, aesthetic and/or kinaesthetic qualities of arts works. Exploring the qualities of arts works involves use of arts language and also draws on research into the purposes and functions for which the works are created and audiences to whom they are presented. This involves students developing an understanding of social, cultural, political, economic and historic contexts and constructs, and developing a consideration of ways that arts works reflect, construct, reinforce and challenge personal, societal and cultural values and beliefs.

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