Depending on how old your child is, you may or may not be aware that senior schooling in Queensland has undergone some changes.

The changes started with Year 11s this year.

If you’re not a parent of one of these current 11,000 Year 11 students, don’t worry; you’ve got time to get up to speed.

The key changes include:

  • a modernised suite of senior subjects
  • introduction of common external assessment worth up to 50 percent in General subjects
  • replacing the Overall Position (OP) with the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
  • new requirements to obtain a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and ATAR.

OPs will be issued for the last time to Year 12s graduating at the end of 2019.

A wide range of excellent resources, fact sheets and general information on Queensland’s new QCE system are available from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) – which is responsible for developing and overseeing the new QCE system – and the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) – which is responsible for calculating student ATARs for tertiary entrance.

Preparation and planning

The QCAA has worked with its education partners over the past four years to ensure schools were ready to implement the new QCE system from the start of 2019. They also continue to hold regular statewide forums for school leaders to discuss the roll out.

Significant collaboration and consultation also went into the new syllabuses.

QCAA says the new senior maths syllabuses, for example, were based on nationally agreed content and standards and were developed by working groups of teachers, academics and other experts, ensuring “continuity with what students learnt in maths in primary and junior secondary – not just in Queensland but across the country”.

New subjects on offer

QCAA CEO Chris Rider said Year 11 subject enrolments showed many students had taken advantage of the new subjects introduced for the first time in 2019.

“For example, more than 4,000 students are enrolled in Design and more than a quarter of schools are offering Psychology,” he said.

Mr Rider said five of the 10 most popular subjects in Year 11 were STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

Vocational education and training (VET) continues to be an important part of senior schooling.

“About 60 percent of senior students will study VET qualifications that count towards their QCE and lead to TAFE, further training and skilled work,” Mr Rider said.

The Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network has pulled together key information for parents and students in one location to make getting across the changes and navigating the new QCE system easier.

Online Tool to Support Year 10 Subject Selection

An updated version of the online tool My Path is now available to support Year 10 students navigate their employment, vocational education or university pathways.

Launched by QTAC in 2018, My Path helps students choose their senior subjects, determine their ATAR eligibility, check whether the subjects they’ve selected meet the prerequisites for any tertiary courses they may want to study after Year 12.  New to My Path in 2019, this program will also assist with the post-secondary planning for those students who are not tertiary bound | READ MORE

The resource links below provide a detailed general overview of the new QCE system. Parents with specific questions should talk with their schools about their senior education programs.

Transitioning from Year 11 to Year 12 can be challenging

The QCAA reminds parents that the step up from Year 10 to Year 11 can often be challenging for students and that a student’s results early in Year 11 don’t count towards their final grade in a subject or ATAR calculations.

If you have any concerns about your child’s progress, please speak to your school.

Resources for Parents

  • the new QCE System: A guide for parents of students completing Year 12 from 2020 | READ MORE
  • external assessment | READ MORE
  • frequently asked questions about the new QCE | READ MORE
  • further information on the new QCE for schools and communities | READ MORE
  • find out about the ATAR | READ MORE
  • My Path Year 10 subject selection tool | READ MORE
  • VET options and pathways | READ MORE
  • TAFE at school | READ MORE

Resources for Students

  • myQCE website provides Years 10 and 11 students with everything they need to know about the new QCE, planning their senior pathway, career options and choosing subjects | READ MORE
  • The QCAA has developed an online academic integrity course to help students produce their best original work. It takes students through drafting practices and how to appropriately attribute and reference the ideas and content of other authors | READ MORE
  • Students can follow myQCE on Instagram to get the latest on the new QCE, subject options, study texts and other resources | READ MORE
  • QTAC’s updated online tool My Path supports Year 10 students on their employment, vocational education or university pathways | READ MORE