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Calculating results in General subjects

Students complete two types of summative assessment when undertaking General subjects:

  • internal assessment — developed by schools according to the requirements specified in each syllabus and endorsed by the QCAA
  • external assessment — developed and marked by the QCAA.

For most General subjects, internal assessment contributes 75% to the final subject result, except in mathematics and science subjects, where it contributes 50%.

Calculating overall assessment results

A student’s overall assessment result is calculated by adding their internal and external assessment results. The total is on a scale from 0 to 100.

The marks for internal assessment in a subject are not affected by the marks on the external assessment. They are simply added together to give a result out of 100.

This guideline provides information about how the QCAA will calculate General subject results for Year 12 students.

Comparing overall assessment results to reporting standards

In addition to a mark out of 100, student performance is also reported using an A to E standard.

QCAA subject experts look at the internal and external assessment to determine cut-offs for each reporting standard (A to E) on the overall assessment scale (0 to 100).

These reporting standards are described in the subject’s syllabus. For example, in a particular subject, the cut-off for an A might be 78, and so all students with an overall assessment result at or above this cut-off will receive an A.

For each General subject, students receive notification of their overall assessment result (out of 100) and reporting standard (A–E) in their learning account and on their Senior Statement.

Checking results

Once they have completed a subject, students can request verification that the result they received was correct.

Students may also apply to the QCAA to have their external assessment or Senior External Examination scripts reassessed if they believe there has been a marking error.

Further information can be found on the Checking results and other information page.

Developing and marking assessments

Developing internal assessment

Schools develop three internal assessments (IAs) for General subjects (known as IA1, IA2 and IA3) according to the requirements in each syllabus. These include the type of assessment, the conditions under which it should be administered, and a common marking scheme. Before schools can use these assessments with students, they must submit the assessments to the QCAA for endorsement.

The endorsement process involves QCAA Assessors checking that all internal assessment instruments across all Queensland schools provide sufficient opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning. Assessment instruments must align with the three attributes of quality assessment (validity, accessibility, and reliability). Schools may only administer approved or endorsed assessment.

Marking internal assessment

Teachers mark students’ responses to internal assessments using an instrument-specific marking guide (ISMG) provided in the syllabus. Schools also internally moderate judgments within subject cohorts to ensure results are consistent across their classes. The schools then submit students’ results to the QCAA.

The QCAA achieves comparability of student results across the state through a process called confirmation in which schools are required to submit a sample of individual student assessment responses the QCAA identifies and requests. Trained QCAA Assessors review student responses to ensure appropriate alignment between schools’ judgments and the ISMGs.

Confirmation occurs twice a year to ensure that most students are aware of their confirmed internal assessment results before they undertake their external assessments.

Developing external assessment

The QCAA develops external assessment instruments, in the form of examinations, in partnership with external subject matter experts that include teachers and academics.

New examinations are developed for each subject every year and students sit for them in October–November.

Marking external assessment

QCAA Assessors mark student external assessment responses in a marking operation that runs in parallel with the examination period and for a number of days afterwards.

Ensuring comparability of external assessments over time

Examinations differ from year to year. They can be slightly more or less difficult, or have different questions out of different numbers of marks. The differences in the external assessment examinations each year mean that students’ responses and their results will also vary.

To ensure that each year’s results are comparable to other years, the QCAA translates the raw results from external assessment to a comparable scale with a result out of 25 or 50, depending on the subject.

This process ensures that each result each year is of the same difficulty to achieve as that of other years. For example, a student in 2021 will require the same effort to achieve 18/25 as a student in 2020 did to achieve 18/25.

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