The Bandscales for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learners project was developed in response to the Review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in Queensland State Schools 1999. It recommended developing processes which enable the tracking of literacy achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The Bandscales for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learners are adapted from the ESL Bandscales (McKay P., Hudson C. and Sapuppo M. (1994) in NLLIA ESL Development: Language and Literacy in Schools (National Language and Literacy Institute of Australia: Canberra), which monitor the reading, writing, listening and speaking developments of students. In 1997, a working party in Cairns adapted the Listening and Speaking Bandscales for Junior Primary Students and the latter were published in Torres Strait as the Oral Language Bandscales in 1998.
In 1999, the Bandscales for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Learners (Reading and Writing) were developed for Junior Primary students. The Oral Language (Speaking) Bandscales were added to the website in 2001. During 2000-2002, the Middle Primary/ Middle Schooling Bandscales were developed for Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. These Bandscales combine the developmental progression of Middle Primary (Year 4-5) and Middle Schooling students (Years 5-10).
The adapted Listening Bandscales (Junior Primary) were redrafted and included to complete the Junior Primary package. In response to the high incidence of otitis media amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners, hearing impairment strategies have been included to all of the Bandscales to support hearing impaired students.