VCE Handbook 2018
VCE Handbook 2018

 

Contents

What is the VCE?

Key VCE staff

Year 11 subjects

Year 11 course structure

Year 12 subjects

Year 12 course structure

Attendance

Subject changes

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VCE requirements

Statistical moderation and scaling

School Assessed Coursework (SAC)

Examinations

Special Provisions

Where can I learn more about the VCE?

Glossary of VCE terminology

 

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What is the VCE?

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the final high school certificate that most students in Victoria receive when they complete their secondary education. Achieving the VCE opens up a wide range of pathways to further study and employment, both in Australia and internationally.

The VCE is administered by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), which is responsible for curriculum, assessment and reports.

The VCE at Brighton Grammar School is extremely broad, with more than 30 studies (or subjects) available to choose from in Year 11 and 12. Students are also supported to undertake subjects through Vocational Education and Training (VET) and University Extension subjects. Brighton Grammar School offers students a wide range of ways through which to find an interesting, challenging and rewarding pathway through their VCE studies.

There is opportunity for approved students to complete their VCE program over three years, however, the major component of the VCE is undertaken over two years, when students are in Years 11 and 12.

To gain a Victorian Certificate of Education, a student must receive a Satisfactory (S) result in at least 16 units of study. Three of these units must be from the English group (either English, Literature or English Language) and must contain satisfactory completion of Units 3 and 4 in this sequence. All VCE studies have at least three graded assessments for each Unit 3 and 4 sequence. Each study also includes at least one examination. Most studies have School Assessed Coursework (SACs) and some have School Assessed Tasks (SATs).

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Key Staff for VCE

Deputy Headmaster and Head of Secondary School: Rachel Horton
Deputy Headmaster & Head of Crowther: Ray Swann
Director of Studies: Dan Belluz
Head of VCE Programs: Amy Atchison
Head of Year 11 & 12: David Liddle
Careers Counsellor: Sophie Keele
Head of Learning Strategies: Bik Swann
PA to the Director of Studies & VCE Admin Coordinator: Angela Waldron

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Humanities: Louise Carroll   
English: Kristen Molloy
Mathematics: Bryn Humberstone
Science: Patrick Sanders
Creative Arts: Martin Green
Languages: Karine Coste      
Physical Education: Peter Whitehead

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Armstrong: Kylie Rose
Crowther: Mark Sainsbery
Dixon: Ben White
Hancock: Meg Adem
Rofe: Graeme Harris
School: Anthony Keane

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Year 11 subjects

All students will be enrolled into the Unit 1 and Unit 2 sequence of their selected subjects. Unit 1 is taught in Semester 1 and Unit 2 is taught in Semester 2.

Each student undertakes 6 x Unit 1 and 2 subjects in Year 11.

Subject Duration Compulsory/Elective
English Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Compulsory
(for students who do not undertake EAL)
English as an Additional Language Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Compulsory
(for eligible students who do not undertake mainstream English)
Accounting Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Art Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Australian and Global Politics Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Biology Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Business Management Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Chemistry Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Chinese as a First Language Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Chinese as a Second Language Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Chinese as a Second Language (Advanced) Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Computing Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Drama Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Economics Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
English Language Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
French Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Geography Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
History (20th Century) Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Japanese Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Latin Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Legal Studies Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Literature Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Mathematical Methods Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
General Mathematics Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Specialist Mathematics Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Music Performance Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Physical Education Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Physics Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Product Design & Technology Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Psychology Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Text and Traditions Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective
Visual Communication & Design Units 1 & 2 (One Year) Elective

Victorian School of Languages (VSL) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) options are offered externally and available to approved students.

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Compulsory subjects:

English/EAL

Other subjects:

Students are required to choose five of the following subjects:

  • Faculty: ENGLISH

    English

    English as an Additional Language

    English Language (approved students can use this subject to replace English)

    Literature (approved students can use this subject to replace English)

    Text and Traditions

  • Faculty: MATHS

    Computing

    Mathematical Methods

    General Mathematics

    Specialist Mathematics

  • Faculty: LANGUAGES

    Chinese as a First Language

    Chinese as a Second Language

    Chinese as a Second Language (Advanced)

    French

    Japanese

    Latin

  • Faculty: HUMANITIES

    Accounting

    Australian & Global Politics

    Business Management

    Economics

    Geography 

    History (20th Century)

    Legal Studies

  • Faculty: ARTS

    Art

    Drama

    Music Performance

    Product Design & Technology

    Visual Communication Design

  • Faculty: SCIENCE

    Biology

    Chemistry

    Physics

    Psychology

  • Faculty: PHYSICAL EDUCATION

    Physical Education

Students are encouraged to select studies that they enjoy, as this will provide the best opportunity for individual success and fulfillment. Students should also be mindful of pre-requisite subjects for preferred future tertiary studies.

Some Unit 3 and 4 students may be tempted to choose subjects that are ‘scaled up’ in the hope that this will increase their ATAR score (the scoring process by which universities select students). Scaling is simply a mechanism for striking equity between subjects when calculating ATAR scores. Scaling adjusts study scores based on the overall VCE performance of all students taking that study in that year, taking into account the different levels of competition in different studies. Therefore, scaling up is not really a bonus and may even work against students. It is better for students to choose subjects they are genuinely interested in and good at.

It must be noted that subject selection cannot be guaranteed due to the unknown nature of timetable building. It may be that, due to timetable clashes, a student is unable to undertake one of their subjects of choice. It is therefore important that students also choose reserve subjects that they are genuinely interested in.

VCE Unit 3 and 4 in Year 11

The opportunity to undertake a VCE Unit 3 and 4 subject in Year 11 is also available to approved students, particularly those who undertook the Unit 1 and 2 in Year 10.

Students wishing to undertake an accelerated VCE subject in Year 10 or Year 11 must meet the selection criteria in order to be eligible. Students should speak with the relevant Head of Faculty to identify the selection criteria.

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Year 12 subjects

All students will be enrolled into the Unit 3 and Unit 4 sequence of their selected subjects. Unit 3 is taught in Semester 1 and Unit 4 is taught in Semester 2.

Subject

Duration

Compulsory/Elective

English

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Compulsory

(for students who do not undertake EAL or Literature or English Language)

English as an Additional Language

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Compulsory

(for eligible students who do not undertake mainstream English)

Accounting

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Art

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Biology

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Business Management

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Chemistry

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Chinese First Language

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Chinese as a Second Language

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Chinese Second Language (Advanced)

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Computing: Software Development

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Drama

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Economics

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

English Language

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

French

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Geography

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Global Politics

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

History (Revolutions)

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Japanese

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Latin

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Legal Studies

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Literature

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Mathematical Methods

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Further Mathematics

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Specialist Mathematics

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Music Performance

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Physical Education

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Physics

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Product Design & Technology

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Psychology

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

Visual Communication & Design

Units 3 & 4 (One Year)

Elective

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Compulsory subjects:

English/EAL/Literature/English Language

Other subjects:

Students will be required to choose four of the following:

  • Faculty: ENGLISH

    English

    English as an Additional Language

    English Language

    Literature

  • Faculty: MATHS

    Computing: Software Development

    Mathematical Methods

    Further Mathematics

    Specialist Mathematics

  • Faculty: LANGUAGES

    Chinese as a First Language

    Chinese as a Second Language

    Chinese as a Second Language (Advanced)

    French

    Japanese

    Latin

  • Faculty: HUMANITIES

    Accounting

    Business Management

    Economics

    Legal Studies

    Global Politics

    Geography

    History (Revolutions)

  • Faculty: ARTS

    Art

    Drama

    Music Performance

    Product Design & Technology

    Visual Communication Design

  • Faculty: SCIENCE

    Biology

    Chemistry

    Physics

    Psychology

  • Faculty: PHYSICAL EDUCATION
    Physical Education
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Attendance

Attendance is compulsory for all classes, at all year levels, as this is where the most effective learning takes place.

Full attendance at all classes is expected. Absence will only be accepted for illness, or approved school excursions and activities. VCE students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in each study (this includes unexplained absences). Absences due to illness or injury must be reported to the Head of House and must be accompanied by a medical certificate to ensure attendance is not affected. Unexplained absences will jeopardise a student’s ability to achieve an S for a VCE subject. Students who fail to meet the 80% attendance requirement in any given subject risk being awarded an N for that study. Teachers will alert the relevant Head of House of any pattern of absence. Rolls will be monitored regularly by the School Marshal and appropriate action will be taken.

When a student is absent from school for prolonged periods, or has been unable to complete all assessment tasks because of illness or other special circumstances, the School may, on application from the student, grant Special Provision for school-based assessments. If this is the case, the student would not be penalised for lack of attendance.

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Subject changes

Is it possible to change VCE subjects?

If a student wishes to change subject selections, they must do so before the conclusion of Week 1 at the beginning of each semester. Students need to request an application form from their Head of House. This form then needs to be filled out by the student and relevant signatures must be obtained. The application must be signed by the students’ parent/s or guardians, the relevant Head of Faculty, Head of House, Careers Counsellor and the Head of VCE Programs (in this order). Once complete, the application is submitted to the Director of Studies for final approval.

An assessment of each application will be made on the basis of subject selections, timetable constraints and vacancies in prospective classes.

Students must keep in mind the number of units needed to satisfactorily complete each subject in order to receive the VCE qualification.

In 2018, the final deadline to withdraw from a Unit 3 and 4 subject is Friday 20 April 2018. Students must seek approval from their Head of House.

Unit 1 and 2 withdrawals are assessed on a case-by-case basis and approval is at the discretion of staff members, including Head of House, the Director of Studies, Head of VCE Programs, Head of Learning Strategies and the Careers Counsellor.

Students in Year 11 are required to undertake six subjects. Students in Year 12 are required to undertake five subjects.

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Can I repeat a subject?

There is no penalty for repeating a VCE unit. If a student receives an N (Not Satisfactory) result for a unit then repeats the unit and receives an S (Satisfactory) result, the result of the second attempt is the one that is counted. However, students must repeat the whole unit, including all of the assessment tasks and coursework.

Although there is no penalty applied to the scaled score of any repeat attempt of a Unit 3 or 4 sequence, some tertiary courses may re-rank students who have repeated a unit.

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Can I accelerate a subject?

Most students undertake Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12. However, the Brighton Grammar School timetable allows students to accelerate in some cases, dependent on meeting certain academic and study requirements.

A Year 10 student may advance to study one sequence of Units 1 and 2, and a Year 11 student may undertake one sequence of Units 3 and 4. This means that, by the end of Year 12, some Brighton Grammar School students may have undertaken six Unit 3 and 4 sequences, and/or a University Extension subject (the maximum permitted in the calculation of an ATAR score).

Students who wish to accelerate a VCE subject will be required to put in an application. These are usually due in August, around the start of Semester 2. Decisions about students’ applications to accelerate are based on whether they have performed at a consistently high level, in all subjects. The specific pre-requisites for entry into an accelerated subject are different for each subject. The Head of Faculty for each subject will be able to provide students with this pre-requisite information.

Are there any school requirements for Mathematics and English courses?

Mathematics

Any student wishing to undertake Specialist Mathematics Units 1 and 2 must also undertake Mathematical Methods Units 1 and 2, and must have satisfactorily completed Year 10 Mathematics Methods Stream.

Any student wishing to undertake Specialist Mathematics Units 3 and 4 must also undertake Mathematical Methods Units 3 and 4, and must have satisfactorily completed Specialist Mathematics Units 1 and 2 and Mathematical Methods Units 1 and 2.

English

All students will study English unless they have approval from the Head of Faculty to study Literature or English Language. Students may study more than one English, Literature or English Language in Year 11.

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Are there any exceptions to the number of VCE subject studies each year?

There may be exceptions on the grounds of hardship, significant illness causing prolonged absence, documented learning difficulties, or elite external sporting or cultural commitments. Approval to study fewer than the required number of subjects must be granted by relevant staff. Depending on the circumstances, these could be the Head of House, Head of VCE Programs, Careers Counsellor, Head of Learning Strategies, Director of Studies and/or Head of Secondary School.

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Who can study English as an Additional Language (EAL)?

English as an Additional Language (EAL) is an English study designed for students who come from a background where English is not their first language. Students who wish to study EAL in Units 3 and 4 are required to apply for official EAL status.

Students are eligible for EAL status if they meet all of the following VCAA requirements at the time of commencement of their Unit 3 and 4 study:

  • The student has been a resident in Australia or New Zealand or other predominantly English-speaking country for no more than seven years. The period of seven years is calculated cumulatively over the whole life of the student.
  • English has been the student’s major language of instruction for a total period of no more than seven years over the period of the student’s education.

If a student believes he is eligible for EAL status, Brighton Grammar School can help with the application. Students wishing to apply for EAL status must speak with the Head of VCE Programs.

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Can I study a subject that is not offered at BGS?

Students who wish to study a unit not offered at Brighton Grammar School, such as Greek or Indonesian, can only do so if appropriate arrangements can be made, and with the School’s prior approval.

Extra units are usually undertaken outside Brighton Grammar School at a language school or private provider, such as the Victorian School of Languages (VSL). As ‘off campus’ study comes with its own unique challenges, before the study of these units can be approved Brighton Grammar must consider the student’s overall program and be satisfied that the arrangements will meet all of the VCAA requirements.

The student is responsible for the cost of undertaking a VCE unit delivered by an outside provider.

If students undertake study outside Brighton Grammar School, the Head of VCE Programs must be informed. This ensures that the full details of a student’s program can be entered on official VCAA computer records and appropriate credit is received.

Occasionally, students may be able to undertake subjects at Firbank Grammar School. However, this will depend upon the subjects Firbank offers and whether these subjects align with Brighton Grammar’s timetable.

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Can I study a University Extension subject?

University Extension study is designed to cater for those students who have already completed the VCE level equivalent in their chosen subject area and are looking to further their learning beyond the Unit 3 and 4 level.

University Extension study is an attractive option for some students because it may give credit toward a university degree and can contribute up to 5.5 points toward a student’s aggregate when calculating an ATAR. Classes are usually delivered after school one afternoon a week. Each course is taught either by university staff or secondary school teachers who have been approved by the university to teach that subject.

A range of universities in Melbourne offer University Extension subjects, including Monash University, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, La Trobe University and RMIT University.

Applications for this program must be endorsed by the school. More information on the University Extension program can be found on the VCAA website.

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Vocational Education and Training (VET)

What is VET Delivered to Secondary Students?

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Delivered to Secondary Students is delivery of nationally recognised qualifications to school students, providing them with the skills and knowledge required for employment in specific industries.

Vocational Education and Training qualifications are usually undertaken in Years 11 and 12, and contribute to the VCE. A VET program can be considered on a case-by-case basis for Year 10 students.

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Why do some students undertake VET programs as part of their VCE?

Vocational Education and Training programs have an emphasis on hands-on-learning. This means that VET programs are not purely theory based – they are more focused on practicing what is learnt in training, in a simulated workplace, or training environment, and preparing students to a standard expected from employers and industry. Generally, the focus of the learning is on developing a product or service for consumers. For example, as part of VET Hospitality, students work in a kitchen and learn ‘behind-the-scenes’ secrets in a training restaurant. They also learn the skills required for front-of-house service. The theory side of the learning helps give students knowledge and understanding of the relevant industry and the practical components of the role.

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Contribution to the ATAR

Depending on the VET program undertaken, students are usually eligible for up to four VCE VET units on their VCE statement of results: two units at a Unit 1 and 2 level and two at the Unit 3 and 4 level.

The contribution to the ATAR can vary from program to program, depending on whether there is a scored assessment available in the VET program. Students enrolled in VET programs with a scored assessment receive a study score for the program, which contributes to the ATAR in the same way as any traditional Unit 3 and 4 studies (as long as students have completed the scored 3 and 4 sequence). Students enrolled in a VET program without a scored assessment are usually eligible for an increment contribution to their ATAR, with the program contributing as a fifth or sixth study area. The contribution is usually calculated as 10% of the average of the primary four scaled studies.

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Delivery format

The VET programs are delivered through a fee-for-service arrangement. The parent/student pays for 50% of the qualification with an external Registered Training Organisation (RTO), and Brighton Grammar School pays the remaining 50%. As an external provider is engaged to deliver the VET program, students must travel to and from the provider site. Usually students engage in VET programs delivered on a Wednesday afternoon/evening. If a student misses other classes, it is their responsibility to catch up. Travel to and from the provider site is typically the responsibility of the student/parent, but in some cases, the School may assist with transport to the provider site to ensure students both arrive on time for their course and experience as little disruption as possible to regular VCE classes. Transport home from the VET provider site is always a student/parent responsibility.

VET programs are delivered in an adult learning environment and require students to be responsible for meeting deadlines, attending classes and submitting work on time. VET providers place particular emphasis on attendance. Non-attendance may result in not satisfying the requirements of the program (hence missing any possible ATAR contribution). 

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What if I decide I no longer want to do the VET course?

Unlike other VCE units, students can choose to cease studying VET only at the conclusion of Unit 2. If under extenuating circumstances students withdraw from VET part way through the year, no refund is available for fees paid. Students are still liable to pay the VET fees for the full year.

For further information regarding VET programs, contact the Head of VCE Programs or Careers Counsellor.

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VCE requirements to achieve the VCE Certificate

How long can I take to complete my VCE?
Typically, it takes two years to complete the VCE – Years 11 and 12. However, many students will complete their VCE over three years, by beginning their VCE in Year 10 and completing Unit 1 and 2 across Years 10 and 11, and completing Units 3 and 4 across Years 11 and 12.

Other reasons for completing the VCE over three years include serious health problems or overwhelming commitments outside the School, such as participation and training in an elite sports program. In these cases, students may take an additional year beyond Year 12 to complete their sequence of study. Students considering either course of action should discuss this with their Head of House, the Head of VCE Programs or the Head of Senior School.

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How many subjects will I study each year?
There are many ways to put together a VCE program. At Brighton Grammar School, students generally complete the program over two years.

Some students may be approved to accelerate their study and will therefore start their VCE in Year 10 and complete it over a period of three years.

Some students, for a variety of reasons, may choose to extend their VCE over a period of four years.

The minimum requirement to gain the award of the VCE is the satisfactory completion of at least 16 units, including:

  • at least three units of English/EAL/English Language/Literature, and
  • at least three sequences of Units 3 and 4 of studies other than English/EAL/Literature/English Language.

Please note: to receive an ATAR, students must have satisfactorily completed both Units 3 and 4 of one of the English group.

Students will normally undertake Units 1 and 2 in Year 11, and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

In Year 11, this will include:

  • two units of one of English, EAL, English Language or Literature, and
  • 10 other units (which may include a VET sequence or other subjects from the English group).

In Year 12, this will include:

  • Units 3 and 4 of one of English, EAL, English Language or Literature, and
  • four other sequences of any Units 3 and 4 studies (which may include a VET sequence or other subjects from the English group).

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What is VCE Baccalaureate?
A Baccalaureate is additional recognition for students who undertake the demands of studying both a high-level and a Language Other Than English (LOTE) in the VCE. The VCE program of study must include:

  • a Units 3 and 4 sequence in English or Literature or English Language with a study score of 30 or above; or a Units 3 and 4 sequence in EAL with a study score of 33 or above
  • a Units 3 and 4 sequence in either Mathematics Methods (CAS) or Specialist Mathematics
  • a Units 3 and 4 sequence in a VCE Language
  • at least two other Units 3 and 4 sequences.

Students who complete the eligibility requirements for the VCE Baccalaureate will have this acknowledged on their VCE certificate upon completion of their VCE.

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Statistical moderation and scaling

What is statistical moderation?

Statistical moderation is a process that adjusts schools’ assessments to the same standard, while maintaining the rank order given by the school, in order to ensure internal marks awarded by different schools are comparable throughout the state. See the example below:

Student No.

A

B

C

D

Coursework

23

29

54

71

 

 

 

 

 

External exam

47

41

62

53

 

 

 

 

 

Student No.

A

B

C

D

Coursework

23

29

54

71

External exam

47

41

62

53

Moderated coursework

41

45

57

62

 

Comparison of coursework, external and moderated scores

Points to remember:

  • Statistical moderation is required so that school assessments can be used as part of the VCE assessment.
  • It adjusts schools’ assessments in accordance with students’ examination scores, based on the group as a whole.
  • The process does not change the rank order of students’ internal assessment component.

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How are study scores calculated?

The study score is calculated by combining the moderated coursework scores (SACs and SATs) with the examination scores. It is important to note that the VCAA will adjust internal School Assessed Coursework (SAC) scores in each class in keeping with the class’s examination performance.

This means that students should work consistently throughout the year to achieve the best grade possible in SACs; but should also prepare and revise well in order to perform at their very best in the examination at the end of the year. The SACs and examination are both important: the SACs will determine a student’s rank-order in the class and will help students consolidate and understand the work; the examination strongly influences a student’s final study score. In most subjects, the examination accounts for at least half the study score.

Examples of study scores

Study score

Top % in state

30

50

35

23.8

40

7.7

45

2.0

50

0.25

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What is meant by ‘scaling’?
As part of the Statement of Results from the VCAA, a study score between 0 and 50 is issued for each study completed (where both work requirements and assessment tasks have been completed). A study score provides an indication of a student’s performance in each particular study, but does not provide an indication of overall performance compared with all students across all studies.

To assist tertiary institutions and provide an overall measure of the performance of all students across all studies, VTAC scales the study scores (to produce ATAR subject scores) and calculates the Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR). Scaling adjusts study scores based on the overall VCE performance of all students taking that study in that year. The use of the ATAR guarantees that all studies are treated equally and provides a common rank for tertiary selection across Australia.

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Why are VCE results scaled?
VCE results are scaled because individual study scores are not an absolute measurement of overall performance. On behalf of tertiary institutions, VTAC combines study scores to form an aggregate (total), which is then converted into a rank (the ATAR). Before study scores can be fairly added together, they have to be compared and adjusted. This is because students take different combinations of VCE studies and VTAC can only legitimately add study scores together if the strength of competition in each study is approximately the same. Without scaling, the ATAR scoring system would be unfair – it would be like comparing the best and fairest player from a local football team with the best and fairest player in the national competition. Scaling ensures that each study contributes equally to the ATAR (that is, a scaled study score of 25 in Psychology is equivalent a scaled study score of 25 in Chemistry, for example).

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What is the General Achievement Test (GAT)?
All students enrolled in one or more sequences of Unit 3 and 4 must sit the GAT. Students will sit the GAT on the morning of Wednesday 13 June 2018.

A confidential statement of GAT results is sent to each student. It is not required for most selection processes; however, it is used by Monash University as part of its middle band selection process. Numerical scores out of 50 are reported for each of these three components:

  1. Written communication
  2. Mathematics/Science/Technology
  3. Humanities/Arts/Social Science.

The GAT may become important as it is also considered when calculating Derived Examination Scores (DES). A DES may be required if, for example, a student is sick when undertaking the Unit 3 and 4 exam, or there is a situation during a Unit 3 and 4 exam that effects a student’s ability to perform. The VCAA will use a student’s GAT mark, along with other academic measures such as SAC scores, to determine whether examination papers should be remarked.

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What is the ATAR?

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR) is the principal selection criterion for Year 12 applicants in the Victorian tertiary selection system. The ATAR is an effective measure of overall VCE performance and enables universities to rank and select large numbers of applications fairly and objectively within the short time between release of VCE results in December and the start of the academic year in March.

The ATAR is not the sole selection criterion used, nor is it used for all VCE applicants. A number of tertiary courses use a range of criteria, including interviews, assessment of folios and additional tests.

The ATAR is calculated by adding scores in VCE English (or English Language or Literature) and the next best three studies, referred to as the primary four, plus 10% of the next best two studies if available, called increments. Scored Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies can be counted in either the primary four or as increments, unscored VET studies can only be included as increments. The scaling process [link to What is meant by scaling?] adjusts VCE study scores to ensure all studies count equally. These scores are then taken and used in the calculation of the ATAR score. An example of ATAR calculation is below:

ATAR

Minimum aggregate

Count with this ATAR

Count with at least this ATAR

99.95

211.3

33

33

99.90

208.4

32

65

99.85

206.5

34

99

99.8

205.3

31

130

99.75

203.7

35

165

99.70

202.6

38

203

99.65

201.5

33

236

99.60

200.8

29

265

99.55

200.1

37

302

99.50

199.4

31

333

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School Assessed Coursework (SAC)

School Assessed Coursework (SACs) form the basis of the internal assessment completed in each subject area. These are written and assessed by the subject teachers. The scope and sequence of SACs undertaken in each subject are dictated by the VCAA, however, the tasks undertaken may differ from school to school.

The purpose of SACs is to rank all students undertaking that subject at Brighton Grammar School from highest to lowest. The results achieved from SACs will then be moderated against the final examination(s) for each subject.

How will I know what is expected of me in SACs?
Teachers will set out clear instructions regarding these assessment tasks. A clear due date will be set and students will be given clear instructions regarding the expectations of the task, as well as any assessment criteria. This information will be posted on The Hub.

It is important to remember that, according to the rules of the VCAA, all VCE assessments tasks are a reliable reflection of the ability of each individual student.

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How will I know when assessment tasks and SACs are due?
The date of all Unit 3 and 4 SACs will be scheduled on the VCE SAC Calendar. The VCE SAC Calendar will be published on The Hub and available to all students and parents. Students will not be excused from a SAC task to attend excursions or activities that are not calendared. The assessment task will take priority.

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Assessment of VCE subjects
Unit 1 and 2 assessment is graded for learning purposes and provides students with an indication of their learning progress and their level of achievement. However, a student’s achievement at the Unit 1 and 2 level has no bearing on the calculation of their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), which is calculated at the end of Year 12 based on their achievement in Unit 3 and 4 subjects only.

Assessment in Units 3 and 4 are made up of internal and external assessments. Internal assessments are the combined total of all SACs and SATs completed for each subject. External assessments are the end-of-year examinations completed in November. These examinations are completed at school but are written and assessed by a panel appointed by the VCAA.

Each subject will have a particular percentage contribution for internal assessments and external assessments. See the relevant Head of Faculty for more information on the exact contributions for each subject.

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What happens if a teacher has concerns over the authenticity of work submitted for assessment?
Any breaches of rules or possible authentication issues with assessment tasks will be reported to the VCAA. In line with VCAA rules, the Headmaster and/or his delegate will be informed of the breach immediately.

Possible causes for concerns over breach of authenticity of work submitted for assessment may arise from:

  • work submitted was in breach of the rules and requirements of the task/test
  • work contains unacknowledged material
  • work is the result of unacceptable forms of assistance (e.g. copying another’s work without acknowledgement or includes corrections dictated by another person)
  • work is not typical of other work produced by the student
  • work is inconsistent with the teacher’s knowledge of the student’s ability
  • work has not been sighted and monitored by the teacher during its development
  • work has already been submitted by the student for assessment in another study or more than once within the same study.

An investigation will be conducted to determine whether or not a breach of VCAA rules has occurred and, if so, the extent to which this has compromised the authenticity of the work submitted for assessment. The investigation will consist of a panel interview of the student involved. This panel will consist of the Head of VCE Programs, Head of Faculty and the subject teacher.

Students found in breach of the rules of an assessment task will receive a penalty and will be notified of this in writing. The penalty may range from a reprimand to receiving an N for the task (in which case, the student will fail the Unit of study). Students have a right of appeal to the VCAA.

The process will involve the following:

  1. Subject teacher will notify the Head of VCE Programs and Head of Faculty of the suspected breach, along with their rationale or evidence that indicates that a breach may have occurred.
  2. The Head of VCE Programs will undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if there is any substance to the allegation.
  3. If the preliminary investigation determines that there is substance to the allegation, the student will be informed in writing of the nature of the allegation and invited to attend a formal interview to respond to the allegation. The Head of VCE Programs, the Head of Faculty and/or the subject teacher will attend this meeting. The student will have the right to bring a support person to this interview. Parents or guardians may be advised on the nature of the allegations.
  4. The Head of VCE programs will decide if the allegations are proven or not, and if any penalty will be imposed.
  5. After the formal interview the student will be provided with a written document confirming the findings in relation to the allegation, reasons for the decision and any penalty (or not) imposed.
  6. Students may appeal the decision to the VCAA within 14 days after receipt of the written document.

Other points to note:

  • An allegation may be made by a teacher, a student, a parent, or any other person with information that suggests rules have been breached.
  • If an allegation is received, the work in question will not be accepted for assessment until an investigation has been conducted.

At the formal interview, the student will be asked questions and will be given the opportunity to address the allegations.

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What if I am unwell for a SAC or cannot submit work for assessment on time?
An assessment task or SAC is missed, students must request a VCE Assessment Reschedule Application form from the Head of House. The submission of this form must be accompanied by a medical certificate.

For an extension to be granted, it must be signed initially by the subject teacher, the Head of VCE Programs and, finally, the Head of House. If any of these signatories object to the request, the application – at the discretion of the Head of Secondary School – may not be granted.

The School’s response to an application will vary according to circumstances. The most likely scenario where an Assessment Reschedule Application would be sought would be when a student has experienced illness/absence during a period of tuition/preparation for a given task and/or the task itself that was outside their control. Attendance at appointments, sporting events or other school or non-school activities is not reasonable grounds to seek an Assessment Reschedule Application.

The VCE Assessment Reschedule Application form must be fully completed and signed before the assessment task can be undertaken. A copy of the completed Application will be kept on the students file.

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What is meant by Satisfactory (S) and Not Satisfactory (N)?
All VCE subjects require specified learning outcomes to be achieved. If a student completes work set by their teachers that demonstrates that the learning outcomes have been achieved, they will be deemed to have satisfactorily completed the unit. This decision is made by the school and reported to the VCAA as S (Satisfactory) or N (Not Satisfactory). Students receive an S or an N for all VCE Units 1 to 4 of study.

It should be noted that the awarding of an S or N for a given unit is entirely discreet from a student’s level of achievement.

A student will receive an S for a unit when all outcomes are achieved satisfactorily. To achieve an outcome, the student must:

  • produce work that meets the required standard in the professional judgement of the classroom teacher
  • submit work by the final submission date
  • submit work that is clearly the student’s own
  • observe the VCAA and Brighton Grammar School rules
  • ensure 80% attendance for the unit (click here [link to Attendance] for further clarification).

If, in the judgment of the subject teacher, work submitted by a student for the assessment of an outcome does not meet the required standard for satisfactorily completion, the teacher may consider work previously submitted by the student provided it meets the requirements.

A student may only submit further work or resubmit a SAC task for reconsideration to redeem an S for the outcome.

The teacher may not allow a student to resubmit work or re-sit a task to improve a score of an assessment for a SAC.

Students complete work for a unit during the semester in which the unit is undertaken. The School may decide to delay the decision about satisfactory completion to allow a student to complete or submit further work.

A student may receive N for a unit when one or more of the outcomes are not achieved because:

  • the work is not of the required standard
  • the student failed to submit all tasks by the final submission date
  • the work cannot be authenticated
  • there has been a breach of school rules, including school attendance rules
  • in the judgement of the teacher; the work submitted for the assessment of an outcome does not meet the required standard for satisfactory completion.

Satisfactory completion should be determined at the time in which the assessment task or SAC is undertaken, and students will be given every opportunity to redeem the situation in the event of an N. This should be done as close as possible to the date in which the assessment task or SAC was initially attempted. Any N that is redeemed will not alter the initial achievement grade.

If the level of progress is below expectations, the subject teachers will contact the student and their parent/s or guardian. This will be in the form of a letter, a copy of which will be given to the appropriate Head of House and Head of Faculty.

If a student is required to repeat a task, the parent/s or guardian will be advised in writing. The relevant Head of House and Head of Faculty will also be notified.

The award of S or N is not based on the examination. The exam grade, however, does play an important part of the global assessment and achievement grade and in Units 1 and 2, may be used to determine future subject selections.

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What happens if I am at risk of not achieving a Satisfactory (S) result for a VCE unit?

If a teacher believes that a student is at risk of failing a VCE unit, they will raise their concerns with the student, the relevant Head of House, and also in writing to parents or guardians. The subject teacher will document what work/tasks they still need to see in order to demonstrate the student has the required level of understanding. A due date will be established and the student is expected to complete the work in the timeframes provided.

In order to achieve an S for any VCE unit:

  • For Units 1 and 3 subjects, satisfactory understanding of the subject must be demonstrated by 22 June 2018.
  • For Units 2 and 4 subjects, satisfactory understanding of the subject must be demonstrated by 9 November 2018.

If a student does not demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of the subject by these dates, a Not Satisfactory (N) result will be received.

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Examinations

What is the importance of examinations?
In Years 10 and 11, examinations are conducted at the conclusion of each semester. In broad terms, the purpose of examinations is two-fold: a student’s performance in the examination will influence the achievement and global grades in the end-of-semester report; and the experience of sitting examinations in Years 10 and 11 will help students prepare for Year 12, where there is considerable emphasis on this form of assessment.

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How will my examination performance affect the achievement grade?
Examination scores are used to determine a student’s achievement grade. In Units 1 and 2, this will usually appear under a separate category in a student’s report. The percentage contribution of the examination grade towards Unit 1 and 2 results will vary between subjects. In Year 12, this is determined by the VCAA.

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Can my examination performance be used in my report to determine S or N?
Examination performance does not determine an S or N grade (this will have been determined throughout the semester through a student’s performance in assessment tasks and SACs and SATs). Examination grades may only be used in relation to S or N grades in exceptional circumstances: that is, if a student has been given the opportunity to redeem an N throughout the semester but has failed in subsequent attempts to demonstrate a sufficient understanding (at the discretion of the teacher). In this situation, the examination may be used as a final opportunity to demonstrate sufficient understanding and redeem an N into an S. This must only be used after redemption opportunities earlier in the semester have been attempted.

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What if my Unit 3 and 4 exam clashes with my Unit 1 and 2 exam?
Students are required to make an application to reschedule the exam that is on the same day as a Unit 3 and 4 exam. If students have an exam in session 3 the day before their Unit 3 and 4 exam, they may make application to reschedule that exam. However, if a student has an exam in session 1 or 2 the day before their Unit 3 and 4, they will not be permitted to reschedule unless there are exceptional circumstances, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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Will my performance in the examination influence future subject selections?
If a poor examination grade is received in Unit 1 or 2, a student may be required to undertake further learning to ensure they are capable to proceed with studies in that particular discipline in the following year. In some cases, students may be advised to undertake a different subject area.

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Special Provisions

Applications for Special Provisions must be made through Brighton Grammar School’s Head of VCE Programs and Head of Learning Strategies. Special Provisions are only available in very specific situations.

Students who have EAL (English as an Additional Language) status are not eligible for special examination arrangements on this basis alone.

Am I eligible for Special Provisions?
Special Provisions provides all students with the maximum opportunity to participate in and complete their senior secondary studies. Individual students may need special provisions in curriculum to achieve the learning outcomes and in assessment to demonstrate their learning and achievements. The VCAA’s Special Provisions policy is based on the following principles:

  • the provision should provide equivalent, alternative arrangements for students
  • the provision should not confer an advantage to any student over other students.

Special Provisions in the VCE can take a number of forms:

  • curriculum delivery and student programs
  • school-based assessment
  • special examination arrangements
  • calculation of a Derived Examination Score.

In each case, specific eligibility requirements apply. The School will not grant any provisions if such provision is unlikely to be granted by the VCAA in Year 12. This means that careful consideration is given to all applications in lower year levels.

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Can Special Provisions be used for assessment tasks completed at school?
The policy enables schools to apply Special Provisions and arrangements for school-based assessments. Students are eligible for Special Provisions for school-based assessments if their ability to demonstrate achievement is affected by:

  • acute and chronic illness
  • long-term impairment
  • personal circumstances.

There are a number of ways in which schools can make alternative arrangements to enable students to be fairly assessed, including:

  • allowing students to undertake the task at a later date
  • allowing the student extra time to complete the task
  • allowing a student rest breaks
  • use of technology such as a laptop to undertake assessment tasks
  • deriving a score from other assessments or work complete by the student (in circumstances where the above provisions are not feasible or reasonable).

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What are Special Examination Arrangements?
Students are eligible for Special Exam Arrangements if it can be demonstrated that their ability to access the examination is impaired due to:

  • severe health impairment
  • significant physical disability
  • hearing impairment
  • vision impairment
  • learning disability
  • severe language disorder.

Applications for Special Examination Arrangements must be accompanied by recent supporting medical or other specialist documentation. Special Examination Arrangements may take the form of:

  • extra reading time
  • extra writing time
  • rest breaks
  • permission to use a laptop computer
  • other arrangements necessary to accommodate a student’s specific needs.

In order to apply for Special Examination Arrangements, students must approach the Head of VCE Programs or the Head of Learning Strategies. In VCE Unit 3 and 4 subjects, the School must make a formal application to the VCAA on behalf of the student. This provision is available to students undertaking VCE Units 1 to 4.

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What is a Derived Examination Score?
This form of Special Provision applies only to those students studying VCE Units 3 and 4. The Derived Examination Score (DES) is calculated by the VCAA and may be used as the student’s examination result where the student has met the eligibility requirement for the provision.

The purpose of a DES is to ensure that a student’s final result on an examination reflects, as accurately as possible, the level of achievement that would be expected based on the learning and achievement the student has demonstrated in their study over the year/semester.

The DES is not intended to compensate for learning or achievement that has not been possible because of long-term illness or other ongoing conditions that have been present over the year.

Students are eligible for DES if, within two weeks prior to the examination, the student has been significantly and adversely affected by some circumstance outside their control. The circumstances that will deemed acceptable are:

  • Illness (both physical and psychiatric), physical injury or a disability that affects the student’s performance on the examination (e.g. influenza, asthma attack, broken arm).
  • Factors relating to their personal circumstance i.e. any event that affects the student’s performance on the examination (e.g. death/serious illness/accident of a family member or close friend, family break up).

The claim must be substantiated in writing by the attending professional (e.g. doctor, social worker). Students who wish to make a claim should contact the Head of VCE Programs who is responsible for making the initial decision on eligibility and recommending approval to the VCAA. Applications for a DES must be lodged with VCAA within seven days of the student’s final examination. Completion of this application form is the student’s responsibility but must be endorsed by the Headmaster. Final approval rests with the VCAA. For further information on the VCAA’s Special Provision policy, visit the VCAA website.

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Am I eligible for Compassionate Late Withdrawal?
If  students experience severe hardship, such as serious illness, they may be given approval by VCAA for late withdrawal from Units 3 and 4. Documentation of the exceptional circumstances must be included. This provision is not available if students are simply not coping with the demands of VCE studies. Compassionate Late Withdrawal from a study cannot be approved if a student already has a final, reported grade for an examination, SAC or SAT.

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Am I able to complete a unit of study over two years if something unforeseen occurs?
Interrupted Studies status enables students to complete Units 3 and 4 and have a study score calculated over two calendar years. Students enrolled in Units 3 and 4 who go on a recognised overseas exchange program, or who experience serious illness or other major adverse personal circumstances during the course of the year, may apply for Interrupted Studies status and withdraw from Unit 4 of a sequence. Students may apply for Interrupted Studies status for their whole program of studies or only part of their program – for instance, interrupting two studies of an enrolment of five studies.

Interrupted Studies is not granted to students who wish to enroll in an alternative course of study or participate in activities of personal interest. Students who take up full employment or a full-time apprenticeship, but who maintain their commitment to the VCE by continuing enrolment in at least two sequences of Units 3 and 4, may be considered eligible. This application is made by the Head of VCE Programs on behalf of the student.

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Where can I learn more about the VCE?

General information

Brighton Grammar School’s VCE Curriculum
www.pathways.Brighton Grammar School.com.au or email SSCurriculum@Brighton Grammar School.com.au

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (general information about the VCE)
www.vcaa.vic.edu.au

Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre (VTAC)
www.vtac.edu.au

VTAC Media Blog (for regular updates and key dates from VTAC)
www.vtacmedia.wordpress.com


Specific aspects of the VCE

ATAR calculations
www.vtac.edu.au/results-offers/atar-explained

Students with overseas qualifications
www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/vcerecognition/credit/overseas.aspx

The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)
www.vtac.edu.au/who/seas

Study score scaling
www.vtac.edu.au/pdf/publications/abcofscaling.pdf

University Extension
www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/studies/studiesextension.aspx

VET
www.imvc.com.au

 

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Glossary of VCE terminology

ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank)
The ATAR is a student’s overall ranking on a scale of 0-99.95, in intervals of 0.05, that compares a student to all other students who complete VCE in the same year. In many cases, the ATAR is the primary mechanism that tertiary institutions use to select students for courses.

The ATAR is calculated by ranking students according to:

  • their best study score in one of either English, English Language, Literature or English as an Additional Language (EAL)
  • the scores of their next best three studies, and
  • 10% of the scores for any fifth and sixth study.

Students can also gain extra credit for completing a University Extension subject.

GAT (General Achievement Test)
The GAT is a compulsory test that is completed by all students undertaking a VCE Unit 3 and 4 sequence. It is used by the VCAA to check that schools are marking to the same standards and as part of the statistical moderation of SACs. The GAT is also considered when calculating Derived Examination Scores and to determine whether examination papers should be remarked.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes describe the knowledge and skills students should have by the time they have completed a VCE unit.

School Assessed Coursework (SAC)
SACs are tasks set by teachers and marked within VCAA guidelines, to assess students’ achievement of Unit 3 and 4 outcomes. Most tasks are completed in class time. The scores relating to these assessments are reported to the VCAA. Students receive feedback and a grade (A+ to E), but these are conditional as the VCAA moderates students’ total scores for all coursework, not the scores for individual tasks.

SACs must always reflect the individual student’s own undertaking.

School Assessed Task (SAT)
SATs are Unit 3 and 4 school-based assessments that are part of Graded Assessment in Art, Design and Technology, Media, Studio Arts, Software Development and Visual Communication & Design. SATs are extended pieces of work undertaken in and out of class. They are set by the VCAA and assessed by teachers using VCAA criteria. Task grades are subject to review by a panel appointed by VCAA.

Raw study score
Unit 3 and 4 VCE raw study scores show how students performed in a subject, or study, relative to all other students doing that same subject.

The maximum raw study score is 50. Each year, and for every study, the statewide average raw study score is set at 30. A score of between 23 and 37 means that a student is in the middle range; a score of 38 or more indicates that a student is in the top 15% of students; and a score over 45 is given to the top 2% of students in the state.

Study score scaling
Study scores are adjusted or ‘scaled’ to provide an overall measure of the performance of all students across all studies. Essentially this determines the ‘degree of difficulty’ of subjects and results in the study scores of some subjects being increased or decreased. Scaled study scores are used to calculate an ATAR.

Subject selections should not be made based on an individual’s study score scaling. Students should always chose subjects that they enjoy studying, are good at and, where relevant, meet the necessary pre-requisites for future tertiary study.

Unit
There are usually four units in a study, numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. Each unit is the equivalent of a semester of study.

Units 1 and 2 are typically studied in Year 11. Units 3 and 4 and typically studied in Year 12.

VCAA
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is an independent statutory body, responsible to the Victorian Minister for Education, that overseas government and non-government schools in Victoria.

VTAC
The Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre (VTAC) administers the application process for tertiary courses, scholarships and special entry access schemes at university, TAFE and independent tertiary colleges in Victoria. VTAC receives and forwards application information and supporting documentation to the relevant authorities and institutions. VTAC does not decide who receives offers for courses.

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