Senior schooling in Queensland is changing to help give students the skills for success in work and life in the future.
Across senior subjects, students will acquire 21st century skills to support them as lifelong learners. The Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) is the state’s senior school qualification, which schools usually award to students at the end of Year 12. Under the new QCE system, students can still choose from lots of subjects and courses that suit their work and study goals. But assessment will change in Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) subjects. There will also be a new way to rank students who wish to apply for university. In education we call this rank the Overall Position (OP). From 2020, it will be the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES?
The QCE system will:
- Include a new system of assessment for some subjects that combines school-based assessment with external assessment
- Replace the OP tertiary entrance rank with the ATAR. Other Australian States and territories use this
- Include a new curriculum including new subjects
- Conclude the Queensland Core Skills Test
WHEN WILL THE CHANGES TAKE PLACE?
Year 11 students in 2019 are the first to study under the new QCE system and from 2020 the ATAR will replace OP as the standard path to tertiary education.
WHAT SUBJECTS ARE AVAILABLE?
In the new QCE system, a wide variety of subjects are available for study:
- QCAA General subjects — currently known as Authority subjects
- QCAA Applied subjects — currently known as Authority-registered subjects
- Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses
- School-based apprenticeships and traineeships
- University subjects completed while at school
- Workplace learning
- Certificates and awards such as those issued by the Australian Music Examinations Board
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES TO SENIOR ASSESSMENT?
Assessment will be different in General and Applied subjects in the new QCE system. Four assessments will count towards the final grade in each subject. This is fewer assessments than students currently complete.
- General subject results will be based on student achievement in three internal assessments (developed by their school and endorsed by QCAA), and one external assessment that is set and marked by the QCAA. In most General subjects, internal assessment results will count for 75 per cent of the overall subject result. In maths and science subjects, internal assessment results will generally count for 50 per cent of the overall result. All schools across the state will hold the External assessment for each General subject on the same day. For most General subjects, the external assessment will count for 25 per cent of the subject result and for maths and science General subjects, the external assessment will count for 50 per cent of the final result. Students’ final subject result will be made up of their external assessment result, plus three internal assessment results.
- Applied subject results will be based on student achievement in four internal assessments.
- Internal assessment might include in-class tests, assignments, essays or some other form. Student work will be marked at the school level, and the QCAA will then review samples of student work for every subject in every school to ensure the quality and rigour of assessment and results. The Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test will not be part of the new system. The last group to sit the test will be in Year 12 in 2019.
HOW IS TERTIARY ENTRANCE CHANGING?
From 2020, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) will replace the Overall Position (OP) as the standard pathway to tertiary study for Year 12 students in Queensland. The ATAR is the primary mechanism used Australia wide for tertiary admissions and indicates a student’s position relative to other students. The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) will calculate ATARs for Year 12 students.
The ATAR is made up of results you achieve at Unit 3 and 4 level in:
- Five General subjects, or
- Four General subjects + one Applied subject or completed VET qualification at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate III level or above.
To be eligible for an ATAR, you must successfully complete an English subject. Although, English does not have to contribute to the ATAR calculation.
OTHER TERTIARY ENTRANCE PATHWAYS
If students are not eligible for an ATAR but wish to gain entry to a tertiary course, they may be able to gain entry via completion of an AQF Certificate III or higher-level VET qualification, or a completed performing arts qualification. Students should seek guidance officer support to help them understand the different tertiary entrance pathways and the best options available for them.
HOW DO STUDENTS PLAN FOR SENIOR STUDY?
All schools do Senior Education Training (SET) planning with every Year 10 student so they feel confident and supported throughout the senior subject selection process. Students should discuss what jobs or careers they are interested in with their family. Then they can choose the subjects and courses that will enable them to achieve a QCE and work towards their goals. For further support, QCAA has created the myQCE website which provides students with vital information on the QCE system, planning their pathway, staying happy and healthy, jobs and careers. Students can also track their QCE progress through myQCE. For students wanting to attend university straight after Year 12, My Path, an innovative online SET planning tool, will assist students with planning their senior subjects, checking their ATAR eligibility and satisfying prerequisites.
For more information, go to: www.qtac.edu.au/atar-my-path/my-path
WHAT ABOUT STUDENTS WHO WILL FINISH YEAR 12 UNDER EXISTING ARRANGEMENTS?
Families with students who will be completing school under the current system can be assured that their subject results and OP ranks are fair and reliable. The changes occurring from 2019 will not affect the existing systems.
WILL THE QUEENSLAND CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION (QCE) CONTINUE?
The QCE will remain as Queensland’s senior school qualification. There are certain requirements that students must meet to be awarded a QCE. These include completing a significant amount of learning, at a set standard and in a set pattern, and fulfilling literacy and numeracy requirements. Most students will achieve a QCE by the end of Year 12. Others will be able to add to their learning account for up to seven years after school.
You can read a parent’s information guide on QCE here.
To find out more, speak to your child’s school or go to the sites below: