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Senior secondary

Queensland’s senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems are changing from 2019.

Following a comprehensive review and extensive consultation with key groups, including Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ), the Queensland Government has approved a range of reforms that will modernise what students learn in Years 11 and 12 and streamline and strengthen how they are assessed and awarded a score for tertiary entry.

What’s changing

From 2019:

  • the Overall Position (OP) score will be replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) - 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 (VET) 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.

Students in Year 11 in 2019 will be the first to experience the curriculum and assessment changes and when these students graduate in 2020 eligible students will be the first to receive the nationally recognised ATAR.

The Queensland Curriculum Assessment Authority (QCAA) is overseeing the implementation of the reforms and has produced a range of resources and fact sheets that explain the changes and the substantial program of work occurring between now and when the new senior schooling and tertiary entrance systems commence in 2019.

Queensland Independent Schools

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.

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. Representatives from Queensland independent schools have also been involved in drafting the new senior syllabuses.

ISQ will continue to work closely with the Queensland Government and other key stakeholders to ensure the unique needs of independent schools are represented as the new system is fine-tuned in preparation for its commencement.

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