What it is

Understanding occurs when new information and ideas are incorporated into a student’s existing knowledge framework. Students link new ideas and information to prior knowledge and apply these in specific circumstances, appreciating underlying principles.  Understanding is developed within particular contexts and allows students to elaborate on, make connections and ask questions about their new knowledge.  Students are gradually able to generalise upon this knowledge and transfer it to new contexts.

Why it is important

Understanding is prerequisite for learning.  Its flexibility allows students to engage critically and creatively with knowledge by making connections, explaining, inferring, predicting, speculating and problem solving.  When a student understands, information is retained longer and can be built upon to acquire further understanding.  Understanding also includes the realisation of what needs to be learned and allows students to be active in constructing their own course of learning.

Stage 6

Students have knowledge of and insight into the textual concepts that underpin the discipline of English, particularly the nature of textuality for their responding and composing. They analyse the relationship between composer, text, responder and context to identify how this affects meaning.

Stage 5

Students use a range of strategies to discriminate nuanced meaning. In their responding and composing they transfer their knowledge of texts to new contexts.

Stage 4

Students analyse texts and in their responding and composing explain information and ideas for particular audiences and purposes. They use their knowledge of texts to make generalisations about how texts work.

Stage 3

In responding and composing students draw from a range of strategies to interpret information and ideas in texts. They recognise and explain how language and structures communicate ideas.

Stage 2

In responding and composing students use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meanings to expand content knowledge, integrating and linking ideas.

Stage 1

Through responding and composing students identify and interpret ideas and patterns in texts and make predictions about content and structure.


Through their responding and composing students identify and interpret ideas and information in texts.