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How should students choose their subjects to get a good OP?

The QCAA recommends that students choose the subjects they enjoy and are good at. Remaining focused and performing to the best of their ability will ensure students achieve to their full potential and receive the best possible OP.

If a student does their best and remembers that they need to be placed as far as they can be ahead of their competition, then they will achieve the OP they have earned.

Which subjects are used to calculate a student's OP?

A student's 'best 20' semesters are used to calculate the OP. These are determined after the Subject Achievement Indicators (SAIs) have been scaled, so they might not be the subjects you or your child expects.

Are some subjects worth more than others?

No. All QCAA subjects are treated equally in OP calculations. A student can achieve a good OP with any combination of Authority subjects. What matters in OP calculations is not the subject your child studies but how well they do in relation to other students studying that subject. A student can achieve an OP 1 or an OP 25 studying any combination of subjects.

Is there a bias in favour of certain schools?

No. Students, not schools, are awarded OPs. The procedures followed to calculate OPs are exactly the same for students in every school. The quality, application and performance of students are unevenly distributed across all schools so different performances at different schools are to be expected.

Does the QCAA allocate the number of OP 1s for each school in advance?

No. The QCAA does not set a quota of OP 1s (or any other OP rank) for a school. OPs and FPs compare students (not schools) across the state, providing a statewide rank order of students for that year.

The number of OP 1s achieved by students at a particular school can vary from year to year depending on the level of student achievement and how students rank compared with others across the state that year.

If there is a large number of OP 1s in your child's school in a particular year, it's simply because a large number of high-achieving students attended that school.

Are high achievers disadvantaged in a lower achieving subject-group?

No. High achievers are not disadvantaged provided they demonstrate considerably better achievement compared to the other students in that subject.

A student who wants a good OP must consistently demonstrate outstanding achievement in all subjects. In a low-achieving subject-group, this would be reflected in a large gap between one student's SAI and the SAIs of other students.

OP calculations take into consideration both the average and the spread of the subject-group's QCS Test performance. Low achievers may reduce the average but having a much higher achiever in the group increases the spread, therefore ensuring no disadvantage.

Are students in a small group or small school disadvantaged?

No. The QCAA has special procedures in place for small groups and small schools to ensure students are not disadvantaged. SAIs are assigned differently and the scaling processes are adjusted to make sure that OPs reflect student performances fairly.

Do students with five or more VHAs in Authority subjects and an 'A' on the QCS Test automatically get an OP 1?

No. Not all students awarded VHAs are at the same standard. Some students may be ranked at the top of the VHA range, while others may be doing just well enough to get a VHA. There are more students with five VHAs than there are OP 1s.

There are a lot of Visa students in my child's subject. Will their OP calculations be disadvantaged as a result?

No. Visa students are not included in OP rankings. Instead, they are given an 'Equivalent OP'. Visa students live temporarily in Australia under a short-term visa or a similar authority issued by the Australian Government. The QCAA has special procedures in place to ensure that domestic students are not disadvantaged in subject-groups and school-groups with a high number of Visa students. These procedures also ensure that there is comparability between Equivalent OPs and OPs.

Will taking a VET subject affect my child's OP?

No. Vocational education and training (VET) qualifications do not contribute to the calculation of a student's OP. If your child is OP -eligible and completes a Certificate IV, it will not be combined with their OP or 'boost' their OP. They will receive an OP from their Authority subjects and a QTAC Tertiary Selection Rank for their additional qualification. This rank can be considered in addition to their OP but it does not affect their OP.

Will my child receive the highest OP at their school because they are the school Dux?

No, not necessarily. While being named school Dux is a significant achievement, it does not indicate your child's position in the statewide rank order. Rather, it is an indication of how your school sees your child's achievements compared to other students at their school. The selection of Dux at a school does not include QCS Test data used in the calculation of OPs. It is not unusual for the Dux of a school not to receive the highest OPs

If my child is sick during Year 12, can they have their OP reviewed and lifted?

No. When a student is experiencing difficulty completing their assessment because of illness or particularly difficult circumstances, they can apply for special provision. If this is granted, your child's school will be required to make special arrangements to ensure your child has equal opportunity to achieve.

The QCAA, however, does not adjust an OP on the basis that if a student had studied under different circumstances they would have achieved more highly. In fairness to all students, the Queensland Certificate of Education and the Tertiary Entrance Statement must show demonstrated achievement, not achievement that might have been demonstrated in other circumstances.

Another form of special consideration may be offered by QTAC in relation to tertiary entrance. It is best for your child to contact QTAC to inform them of their circumstances and request consideration.

Last reviewed: 1 July 2015

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