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10 External assessment

External assessment is the final assessment in General and General (Extension) subjects, and the only assessment in General (Senior External Examination) subjects.

It is:

  • common to all schools
  • administered by schools under the same conditions at the same time and on the same day
  • summative, and contributes to the overall subject result
  • developed and marked by the QCAA according to a commonly applied marking scheme except for General (Senior External Examination) subjects with syllabuses borrowed from another jurisdiction, which have external assessment set and marked by that jurisdiction
  • not used in Applied subjects.

The subject matter and conditions for external assessment are determined by the QCAA using the relevant syllabus. Syllabuses detail the contribution of external assessment to the subject result. Syllabuses are accessible via the QCAA Portal and website.

Students’ results for General and General (Extension) subjects are based on their achievement in three internal assessments and one external assessment. External assessment is not privileged over summative internal assessment. It is a mechanism for adding evidence that is different, yet equally valuable, to determine a student’s overall achievement.

Schools are required to follow the processes for external assessment outlined in this handbook and in the annual Directions for administration: External assessment (DFA) (see Section 10.1: External assessment roles and responsibilities).

Syllabuses identify the specifications for each external assessment, and can be accessed via the QCAA Portal. Schools and teachers use syllabuses to plan teaching and learning that provides students with opportunities to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to respond to external assessment instruments. Students use syllabuses to ensure they understand the required subject matter for an external assessment.

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