Queensland senior assessment reforms postponed

The Palaszczuk Government’s major reforms to senior assessment and tertiary entrance will now begin with year 11 students in 2019. Education minister Kate Jones made a Wednesday October 19 announcement that current year eight students would be the first to experience the new system.

Ms Jones said she had received advice from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) that they would require an extra 12 months to deliver the most significant changes to senior schooling in more than 40 years.

“Following the advice from QCAA I consulted with all major education stakeholders across sectors, principals’ associations and parents. All stakeholders supported the QCAA advice,” she said.

“When we roll out the new system in 2019, I want to get it right and ensure it remains strong for many years to come.

“I want what is best for Queensland students so I will take the advice of our key education stakeholders and won’t risk rushing this reform process.

“We will deliver a world class curriculum and learning and assessment system for teachers, students, parents and the wider community.”

Ms Jones said the new system would bring Queensland into line with the rest of Australia.

“Today I can also confirm the Queensland ATAR will recognise a broader range of learning than the OP system,” she said.

“It will be calculated from a student’s best five subject results which may include one Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification or Subject Area Syllabus (SAS) subject.

“Already more than 20,000 students and hundreds of schools have trialled external assessments and we have received 3000 submissions from educators providing feedback on early drafts of redeveloped syllabuses.

“The Senior Secondary Assessment Taskforce has laid the ground work for change and further contributions by teachers, students and academics will help to shape the finer details of the system.

“The taskforce unanimously recommended to government the new system begin in 2019.”

QCAA chief executive officer Chris Rider said more time was required to prepare for the new system.

“Although there has been significant progress, some transition activities will require more time to complete than originally planned,” Mr Rider said.

“In particular, this means the redevelopment of the full suite of senior subject syllabuses and delivery nearly 700 professional development workshops to about 17,000 teachers.

“It will also allow QCAA to analyse the findings of assessment trials and consult further with our education partners.”

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director, Leanne Perry said it was important not to rush the new syllabus development.

“We are working towards a generational change in senior assessment and it’s vital for students and teachers that we ensure they’ve got the best possible system to work with,” Ms Perry said.

“We’ve had significant feedback from teachers on the development of new syllabuses and we will now have time to respond to that feedback more fully so we get the best outcome.”

Independent Schools Queensland executive director, David Robertson said independent schools supported the QCAA timeline.

“While independent schools were fully engaged and already well advanced in preparing for the senior schooling reforms, the additional year will ensure they have more time to plan and prepare staff and students for the changes,” he said.

Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association representative Mark Breckenridge said principals were supportive of a 2019 start.

“There is much to do to prepare for the change and we cannot afford to rush the process,” Mr Breckenridge said.

Queensland Independent Schools’ Parent’s Network executive officer Sue Kloeden said: “Parents, particularly those with children currently in year eight – who will be the first to experience the new system – will have more time to talk with their schools about the changes and what they mean for the future subject selections and career choices of their sons and daughters.”

Parents and Friends executive officer Carmel Nash said parents of students in Catholic schools were very supportive of the changes for senior secondary.

“We believe that, with children’s futures involved, we should have everything ready to deliver the best outcome possible,” Ms Nash said.

Ms Jones said the current year nines would be the last to receive an OP.

“Parents, teachers and students should continue to have confidence in the current system which has served Queensland well for more than 20 years,” she said.

Senior Secondary Assessment Taskforce

Minister Kate Jones               Education Minister

Brian Short                            Chair Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Chris Rider                            CEO Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Dr Lee-Anne Perry                 Queensland Catholic Education Commission

David Robertson                   Independent Schools Queensland

Dr John Griffiths                   Queensland Tertiary

Sam Pidgeon                         Queensland Teachers Union

Paul Giles                              Queensland Independent Education Union

Kevan Goodworth                  P&C’s Qld

Carmel Nash                          P&F Qld

Kim Hughes                           Isolated Children’s Parent’s Association

Sue Kloeden                          Independent Parents’ Association

Andrew Pierpoint                  Queensland Association of Secondary Schools Principals

Ann Rebgetz                          QCSPA Queensland Catholic Principal’s Association

Chris Ivey                              Independent Schools Principals’ Association

Geoff Latta                            P10-12 SAA

Prof Joanne Wright               University of Queensland

Shard Lorenzo                       Queensland University of Technology

Prof Adam Shoemaker          Griffith University

Dr Jim Watterston                 Department of Education and Training

Key decisions to date

  • Year 12 students will receive an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR), replacing the OP and bringing Queensland into line with other states and territories
  • Senior subject results will be based on a student’s achievement in four pieces of assessment (three school-based and one external assessment)
  • For most senior subjects, external assessment will contribute 25 percent towards a student’s final result
  • Mathematics and science subjects will contribute 50 percent
  • 80 senior syllabuses will be reviewed in preparation for external assessment
  • An English subject will be compulsory for students to receive their ATAR
  • An ATAR will be based on five authority subjects or four authority subjects and one Vocational Education and Training subject or Subject Area Syllabus subject 

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