The End of QCS – What does the new system mean for senior school in QLD?

Change is often met with a range of different emotions. With the new senior system coming into play this year, a change is set to be made; fortunately, or unfortunately depending on student’s relationship with change. It’s out with the old – QCS, and in with the new – internal and external assessments for our grade 12’s.

For 2020 graduates, what this new system entails is 3 internal assessments and 1 external assessment. It is then from their individual results only that an ATAR (Australian Admissions Tertiary Ranking) will be awarded at the end of their senior studies. For General Maths and all Science subjects, the external exam will count for 50% of the student’s overall grade. However, for all other general subjects, only 25% of the final grade will be from the external exam.

Despite the difference in systems being quite significant, teachers and schools are implementing strategies and techniques to ensure the students are well equipped for the change. For the external assessment, sample papers have been devised to assist with the new process and conditions of an external exam. In completing these papers, students will be able to determine what to expect on the upcoming exams whilst also revising content.

Like that of the systems practised interstate (NSW, VIC, etc), Queensland, with the new system has adopted an easier process to ensure results are inclusive and fair across the board. Additionally, in following the suit of the other states, the results achieved by QLD students will now be more applicable and easier to compare with these states and universities.

So how will it work?

The external exams will be conducted in Term 4 of the schooling year. QCAA (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority) has stated that the schedule for exams will be distributed in Term 1. The external exam for each subject will be equivalent to that of each QLD student partaking in the exam. In keeping with consistency, each exam will be held at the same time on the same day at all schools. Furthermore, QCAA has promised that each external exam will be developed and marked all in accordance with the same marking criteria.

For internal exams however, the school develops the exams themselves, using guidelines set out within the curriculum. Each school will design the assessment in terms of the type, how it will be distributed and how it will be marked. For general subjects, these 3 varied assessments will contribute to 75% of the student’s overall grade.

Regardless of the change, the assessment and senior process is just another step in a student’s learning journey. It’s exciting and daunting but try to remember to always help students stay motivated – choose an end goal or visualise the future.