Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Changes a Boon for Tutors; Private Firms Gear Up for ATAR

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Changes a Boon for Tutors; Private Firms Gear Up for ATAR

Article excerpt

Byline: Lauren Martyn-Jones

PRIVATE tuition firms are gearing up for an increase in business as Queensland students prepare to sit external exams for the first time since 1972.

The reintroduction of external exams - worth between 25 and 50 per cent of students' final Year 12 subject grades - will be the biggest single change in the new Queensland Certificate of Education.

The move will see all Year 12 students who are seeking an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank sit five or six subject exams, which will be held during the term four exam block, with the tests administered at the same time under the same conditions across all schools.

The push to restore external examinations to the Queensland senior assessment system was a key recommendation of the 2013 parliamentary inquiry into senior maths and science assessment and the 2014 Australian Council of Education Research's review of Queensland's senior secondary system.

The reviews were told external exams would increase the reliability of subject grades and prevent schools gaming the system by teachers simply "teaching to the test".

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said after an initial debate around whether external exams would place too much stress on students, schools were getting on with it.

"We (in Queensland) are not placing external assessment above school-based assessment, there will be a lot of flexibility at a school-based level, but we have that external element to make sure there is rigour and confidence," he said.

Mr Robertson said he hoped by having students complete three school-based assessments and one external exam, often worth just 25 per cent, Queensland would avoid the culture of stress NSW and Victoria had with Year 12 exams.

P&Cs Queensland president Gayle Walters said she did not believe parents were especially anxious about the transition to external testing, as children were accustomed to NAPLAN. …

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