Queensland’s system of senior assessment is set to change, commencing with Year 11 students in 2019. There will be:

  • new processes to strengthen the quality and comparability of school-based assessment
  • an external assessment introduced in most subjects
  • a move away from the Overall Position (OP) rank to an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

These changes will improve the validity and reliability of subject assessments and increase confidence in the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).

The curriculum development and assessment processes described here are primarily for senior subjects that include an external assessment component. Subjects developed from Subject Area Syllabuses will remain a feature of senior schooling from 2019. These subjects will have an alternative assessment program and are likely to contribute differently towards tertiary entrance.

Key changes

When the changes are in place, students will complete a total of four assessments that count towards their final grade in each subject.

Three school-based assessment instruments will be endorsed by QCAA before they are used in schools. Students’ results in these assessments will be externally confirmed by independent teacher assessors trained and accredited by the QCAA.

These results will be combined with one external assessment developed and marked by QCAA. The external assessment results will contribute 25% towards a student’s result in most subjects. In mathematics and science subjects, it will generally contribute 50%.

The school-based assessments will not be scaled by the results of the external assessment when calculating a student’s subject result. The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) will calculate tertiary entrance ranks by comparing student results through a process of inter-subject scaling.

In making the transition to more rigorous quality assurance processes, we will be keeping some important features of our current system:

  • QCAA will continue its close partnership with schools and education stakeholders
  • teachers will continue to play an important role in developing assessments, making judgments about student achievement, and independently reviewing the work of their colleagues
  • students will be assessed using a variety of assessment techniques.

QCAA syllabuses

Sixty-two (62) General and Applied syllabuses are now on the QCAA website as PDF files. The syllabuses will support students, their families and other stakeholders interested in the development of the new Queensland Certificate of Education system.

A further six syllabuses were recently approved by the QCAA Board and will be published by the beginning of Term 4.

These are:

  • Design
  • Digital Solutions
  • English and Literature Extension
  • Essential English (Applied)
  • Essential Mathematics (Applied)
  • Geography.


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