Somerville House implementing new strategies for the final Queensland Core Skills Test

With the 2019 Year 12 cohort among the last students in Queensland to undertake the Queensland Core Skills Test (QCS), Somerville House has implemented new initiatives and ongoing strategies to optimise student outcomes in preparation for the final test. 

Dean of Teaching and Learning, Ms Laura Duffield, spoke of how the formal 2019 QCS Test preparation program which will include a wider range of activities and strategies to support students’ readiness for the Test, complementing the significant preparation done in all subject work. 

“It’s important to note that the most substantial preparation for the QCS Test is the academic work that students do across all of their subjects in every lesson and assessment task,” Ms Duffield said. 

“However, as this is the final year, we have done a very specific overhaul; with the aim of optimising students’ readiness,” she said. 

This year, in addition to full QCS Test practices, at the end of Terms 1 and 2, students will have the opportunity to attend an extra full day QCS practice in August. Additionally, the Year 12 cohort will have the opportunity to participate in workshops facilitated by external presenters from Mighty Minds, as well as receive access to online preparation and practice materials through their individual Mighty Minds portal. 

“Mighty Minds gives both teachers and students substantial, individualised feedback on practice tests and tasks,” Ms Duffield said.

“There are tailored practice items individualised to students so they can hone in on specific areas and skills requiring more consolidation,” she said.  

“We will also be running a series of workshops with teachers who have had substantial experience with the QCS Test and who have operated as QCS Test markers for QCAA.” 

Previously sharing feedback and marks directly with students, Ms Duffield confirmed that this year the School is taking a more inclusive approach, providing parents with their daughter’s progress throughout her QCS journey.

“This year we are sharing student results and feedback with parents,” Ms Duffield said.

“This is to give parents a sense of how their daughter is travelling throughout the year, keeping students focussed and motivated, allowing parents to provide further encouragement at home,” she said. 

Not only will parents receive individualised feedback and results for their daughter, but Ms Duffield indicated parents will also be provided with regular updates on the cohort’s preparation as a whole. 

“Parents will also receive information on various workshops and activities, to provide an awareness of the format and nature of the Test, and the requisite skills,” Ms Duffield said. 

“We plan to continue to track student progress with each practice test. This will provide teachers with an indication of specific skills and techniques students need to improve and further their confidence,” she said. 

With 39.3% of the Class of 2018 achieving OP scores of 1 to 5, Principal, Mrs Kim Kiepe, commented on the School’s history of strong QCS results, noting that she approves of the new strategies implemented to optimise student outcomes in the final QCS Test. 

“Traditionally, Somerville House does perform strongly on the QCS test, with scores always well above State averages,” Mrs Kiepe said.

“Just last year, 30.8% of the cohort received an A in their QCS test, that’s quite an achievement compared with the Queensland State average of 15.8%,” she said. 

“With all the strategies we have implemented, we have taken all of the necessary steps to build student confidence and optimise their QCS results come November.”