Staff, students and the Somerville House community have been hard at work preparing for the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) system in the Senior School which will come into play for Year 11 students in 2019, and Year 12 from 2020.

Newly-revised academic programs at Year 10 level are already implemented to equip students with the skills required to transition into the new syllabuses and assessment processes, while still ensuring current requirements for the Australian Curriculum are met. 

Set in place by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), the review and refinement of the Senior syllabuses have been a collaborative effort involving teachers and stakeholders across the state, including Somerville House Academic staff.

“One of the many strengths of our School is that we have very highly experienced teachers,” Dean of Teaching, Learning and Innovation Ms Laura Duffield said. 

“Somerville House teachers have always worked very closely with the QCAA. Our teaching teams are not only very familiar with the current syllabuses and requirements, but have also been actively engaged with QCAA preparing for the new processes: providing feedback, serving on panels and advisory committees. They are equipped to support our students in the new system successfully, with excellent insight into what’s required.” 

The incoming system focusses on revised syllabuses and new processes to strengthen the comparability of skills taught and assessment requirements. Changes will include the implementation of one external assessment in combination with school-based assessment, numerical grades instead of A to E standards for individual assessment, and the introduction of an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This ranking, a 2000-point numerical scale from 99.95 (highest) down to 0, in increments of 0.05, will be used for tertiary entrance in place of the Overall Position (OP).

“The current system was designed decades ago, in an era when fewer Queensland students were completing Year 12 and seeking entry to university, and so was due for review,” Ms Duffield said.

She said some requirements of the new system means greater attention to teacher planning and time spent working with students.  

“There will be less assessment overall, which means teachers will be able to focus more class and planning time on the content and skills students need to learn.”

Ms Duffield said that while some aspects will change in the way that Senior students and teachers will work, there will be many that remain the same.

“Yes, assessment requirements and processes will be different, the mechanism for applying to university will be different, but what will stay the same at Somerville House is the high quality of teaching in Senior classrooms," Ms Duffield said. 

“Our teachers will remain committed to working very closely with QCAA and strongly committed to their students, as they always have done.”