Senior Schooling Reforms

More Time to Get Senior Schooling Changes Right

The Queensland Government’s announcement that it will push out the commencement of historic reforms to the state’s senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems by 12 months will give schools, students and parents more time to prepare for the changes.

Current Year 8 students will now be the first to experience the new system as Year 11s in 2019 and the first to graduate as Year 12s in 2020.
Changing the way senior students are assessed and their achievements ranked for tertiary entrance involves a range of complex policy considerations which Independent Schools Queensland and the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network have been providing extensive feedback on. The complexity of major reform to well entrenched and understood policies, procedures and practices cannot be understated.

Many Queensland independent schools with senior secondary provision are already well advanced in preparing their schools, staff, students and parents for the new senior schooling system. They have proactively engaged in trials and consultations and many have devoted considerable resources and effort to careful planning for the new system. The work of independent schools in this area is acknowledged and schools can be assured that their efforts remain relevant to the new system from 2019.

Moving the commencement timeframe should give all schools sufficient time to further refine their school-based approaches to implementing the reforms and communicating these important changes with their parents and local communities.

Listed below are the key changes approved by the Queensland Government to date:

  • The Overall Position (OP) score is being replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) which is a finer-grained system already used in other states and territories
  • ATARs will be calculated from a student’s best five subjects which can be all Authority subjects, or four Authority subjects plus one Vocational Education and Training qualification or Subject Area Syllabus (SAS) subject
  • Senior subject results will be based on four assessments – one external assessment and three school-based assessments
  • External assessment will contribute 25 percent of a student’s final subject result in most cases, except in maths and science subjects where it will contribute 50 percent
  • An English subject will be compulsory for all senior students, with those studying for an ATAR required to achieve at least a satisfactory or sound achievement.

Queensland parents, students, schools and the wider community have confidence in our current senior schooling system, which has produced scores of graduates who have gone on to achieve success in their chosen vocations.

Extensive work is underway to prepare for and build community confidence in the new senior schooling and tertiary entrance system. More than 20,000 senior students from hundreds of schools, including independent schools, have already trialled external assessments in a range of subjects. Drafting of the new senior syllabuses is also progressing.

Independent Schools Queensland will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government and other key stakeholders to ensure the unique needs of independent schools are represented as we continue to fine-tune the new system and prepare for its commencement.         

By Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson

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A parent fact sheet on senior schooling reforms is available at the Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network website.