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10.6 Administering external assessments

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The following table sets out information about the main responsibilities in administering an external assessment on the day of the session. More detailed information about administrative arrangements for the external assessments is communicated to schools via the QCAA Portal and in the DFA. In this handbook, candidates for the Senior External Examination are referred to as students.

Main responsibilities in administering external assessment on the day of the session
Main responsibilities in administering the external assessment session

Policy and procedures

Directions for students

Schools are responsible for reminding students of the Directions for students: External assessment.

Student entry to assessment room

Students are admitted into the assessment room and seated, allowing sufficient time for supervising staff to communicate the administrative requirements of the assessment. Once inside the room, students are not permitted to speak to anyone other than the external assessment supervisor.

Student equipment

All approved equipment brought into an assessment room by a student must be in a clear container. Unless otherwise stated, the QCAA does not permit students to bring electronic devices, transmitting or receiving devices, or papers into assessment rooms. Students cannot borrow equipment from other students during an external assessment.

Student not on attendance roll

Any student whose name does not appear on the assessment’s attendance roll will not be admitted unless there are extenuating circumstances, and their admittance is authorised by the QCAA.

Student lateness

The EA coordinator must enter the details of late students in the Incident section of the External Assessment application on the day of the assessment or by 9:00 am the following day.

Students who arrive within 40 minutes of the scheduled start time (before 9:40 am for a morning session and before 1:10 pm for an afternoon session) are admitted to the assessment room and given the full amount of working time as prescribed by the assessment conditions if possible. If students arrive after the end of perusal/planning time, do not provide perusal time or planning time.

Students who arrive more than 40 minutes after the scheduled start time must obtain permission from the EA coordinator or the principal to be admitted to the assessment. In general, students should be allowed entry (and accommodated in a separate room if possible). Students will be given the full amount of working time as prescribed by the assessment conditions without perusal time or planning time.

Before these students start the assessment, they must be advised that the QCAA will review the circumstances of their case and may decide to not award a result.

After the assessment, students who were more than 40 minutes late sign a statement which is uploaded to the Incident section of the application. Depending on the circumstances, an Illness and misadventure application may also need to be completed.

Student illness

If a student leaves the room due to illness, the school records record the time they leave and return and adds the lost time to the end of the assessment (if possible). If the student does not return to the room, their assessment materials are collected at the end of the assessment and information included in the Incident record. Schools complete an Illness and misadventure application in either case. For more information, see Section 6: Access arrangements and reasonable adjustments (AARA), including illness and misadventure.

Student absence

For information about student absence for external assessment, see Section 6.5: Illness and misadventure.


QCAA-appointed invigilators are independent observers of external assessment. Generally, the QCAA appoints an invigilator for each external assessment session. The invigilator monitors the session and then submits an External assessment invigilator report to the QCAA.


QCAA-appointed observers provide an independent quality assurance report to the QCAA on a random sample of schools. An observer may attend any school or assessment session. They will arrive (wearing identification) before the start of an assessment session, and will provide a letter of introduction. Schools may also request an external assessment observer.

Managing disruptions and other incidents

The EA coordinator or senior supervisor must manage disruptions and incidents appropriately to ensure the safety of students and maintain the integrity of the assessments.

Incident affecting student performance

If any student claims that their performance was affected by an incident, or if a group of students or the entire cohort is affected by an incident during the assessment, this is reported to the EA coordinator. The EA coordinator follows the procedures in the DFA and should explain the Illness and misadventure application process to the affected students, notify the principal, complete an Incident record and submit an Illness and misadventure application.

Emergency evacuation

If evacuation is required during an external assessment session, the school’s usual workplace health and safety procedures apply. The EA coordinator must contact the QCAA for procedural advice as soon as practicable after the evacuation. The school is required to submit an Illness and misadventure application if they believe a student’s results have been impacted.

Incident of suspected academic misconduct — before entry

A student who does not comply with assessment directions and procedures before entering the assessment venue should be warned of the consequences of academic misconduct and may be required to complete the assessment in a different room at the venue. See Section 8.1.2: Understanding academic misconduct.

Incident of suspected academic misconduct — during assessment

External assessment supervisors manage incidents of suspected academic misconduct. Students are permitted to complete the assessment following these incidents. For the different types of academic misconduct, see Section 8.1.2: Understanding academic misconduct. Also see Section 10.6.1: Alleged academic misconduct by students. Refer to the DFA for further procedural information.

10.6.1 Alleged academic misconduct by students

Academic misconduct may be detected at a venue or through the QCAA’s checking processes. If it is detected at the assessment venue, the EA coordinator is to:

  • permit the student to complete the assessment
  • remove the student from the assessment room if they are distracting or disrupting others
  • tell the student after the assessment that a report about the incident must be completed and submitted to the QCAA and a penalty may be imposed
  • tell the QCAA of the incident of suspected academic misconduct by completing the Incident record in the ‘Incident’ section of the External Assessment application, which may include
    • a written statement from the EA coordinator
    • witness statements (optional)
    • a description of any relevant circumstances leading up to the incident
  • give the student the opportunity to provide a written statement to the QCAA concerning the alleged breach after the assessment and upload the written or confiscated notes provided by the student with the Incident record.

The QCAA investigates cases of alleged academic misconduct, and may refuse to issue the results of one or more students. If the QCAA considers that a student committed some form of misconduct, it issues them with a show cause notice stating the reasons for refusal to issue a result and giving the student an opportunity to make their case. After considering the student’s response, the QCAA will make its decision and advise them accordingly. If the QCAA decides not to issue a result, the student will be able to seek an internal review of the decision. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, they may apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an external review.

For more information, see the DFA section on misconduct.

10.6.2 Non-compliance by school staff

School staff and students must follow the DFA. Non-compliance by school staff will be investigated, and could result in the QCAA refusing to issue the results of one or more students. Examples of non-compliance by school staff may include:

  • rescheduling an external assessment without authorisation from the QCAA
  • failing to keep external assessment materials secure prior to the scheduled assessment time
  • opening external assessment packages before the time appointed by the QCAA
  • accessing external assessment materials or assessment rooms prepared for assessment without authorisation from the school or QCAA
  • providing a student with undue assistance in the production of any work that contributes to their external assessment response
  • leaving students unsupervised, or inadequately supervised, during external assessment
  • allowing additional time for external assessment without authorisation from the QCAA
  • administering unapproved AARA.

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