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In 2014 the Queensland Government commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to review senior assessment and tertiary processes in Queensland.

ACER found that while existing arrangements had served Queensland students well and remained fair and reliable, they would not be sustainable over the longer term. ACER recommended changes to achieve greater rigour and simplicity.

Preparing for change

Following the release of ACER’s report, the QCAA resolved to build on the work of the review so that the senior system could better support young people in the transition to further education, training or work. It immediately engaged schools and education experts in a range of consultation activities and technical work to inform future decision-making about the systems of senior assessment and tertiary entrance.

Senior curriculum and assessment working groups

To coordinate its approach, the QCAA Board established a cross-sector steering committee which subsequently commissioned 22 subject working groups to provide expert advice on specific technical issues relating to the review recommendations on types of assessment, including internal and external assessment, and the relative impact on senior syllabuses. These working groups included representatives of the three schooling sectors, unions, tertiary institutions and subject associations.

The working groups addressed all Authority and Authority-registered subjects, with some groups focusing on a number of related subjects:

  • English
  • Specialist Mathematics
  • Foundation Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Sciences
  • History
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Geography
  • Business
  • Economics and Legal Studies
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts
  • Music
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Scripted Languages
  • Non-scripted Languages
  • Information Technology
  • Industrial Technology
  • Home Economics
  • Humanities.

The working groups met four times during Semester 1 2015. To inform their work, they conducted a survey on assessment processes and the proposed role of school-based and external assessment in Queensland senior schooling.

Responses to the survey, the working groups’ final report, and information obtained through other consultation and trial initiatives informed QCAA’s advice to the Minister for Education about the ACER review recommendations and improvements to Queensland’s system of senior assessment.

Senior Secondary Assessment Taskforce

The Minister for Education established a Senior Secondary Assessment Taskforce to guide the development and implementation of these new systems. Chaired by the Minister, the taskforce included representatives from the schooling sectors, parents, teachers, principals, unions, the tertiary sector, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority and the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre.

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