Some form of exams still the best solution for our year 12s

By | April 16, 2020

, Whereas the school-based duties are usually set and marked through lecturers at the college stage the finish of year examinations are state-wide, externally set and marked and all scholars sit down the examinations beneath the similar stipulations.

School-based evaluate duties are thought to be much less dependable and rigorous in comparison to exterior examinations given the difficulties thinking about verifying scholars’ paintings and making sure comparison of grades and evaluate throughout other faculties. The fact is that some faculties and lecturers may well be simple markers and inflate scholars’ grades whilst different faculties put in force stricter requirements.

To cope with the factor Victoria guarantees scholars sit down the General Achievement Test (GAT) – a three-hour check involving normal wisdom and abilities this is used to lend a hand in figuring out whether or not school-based exams are credible similar to the effects accomplished in the exterior examinations.

Much of the debate surrounding how best to take care of year 12 and tertiary access centres round those 3 parts: exterior examinations as opposed to school-based evaluate as opposed to a normal fulfillment check like the GAT.

One method is to scrap exterior examinations and depend on school-based exams performed over year 11 and 12 to make a decision tertiary access. Both the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University have signalled they are going to base access on year 11 school-based exams.

As steered, the weak point is that it’s not possible to make sure the grade a pupil receives in a single college is similar to the grade given in any other. Verifying scholars’ paintings finished out of doors the study room could also be an issue.


A 2d method it to interchange examinations and school-based exams with a normal intelligence check like American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The SAT is a standardised check comparing studying, writing and mathematical talents in contrast to an exam the place scholars are examined on the wisdom related to a selected area like literature, historical past, physics or chemistry.

The drawback with basing tertiary front on a normal intelligence check is that the center of attention is on competencies and abilities as a substitute of the crucial wisdom and figuring out related to explicit topics.

If the center of attention in year 12 is on effectively finishing an intelligence check the threat is much less effort, power and time shall be spent educating scholars the subject-based wisdom and figuring out crucial for enterprise first year tertiary research like physics, chemistry, literature and historical past.

What’s to be achieved? On the assumption that scholars are again in school early to mid-May the best solution is to place formal examinations again to overdue November/early December. Relying on school-based exams or a normal intelligence like the SAT isn’t the solution.


The center of attention will have to be on finish of year examinations to make sure rigour and fairness. Given the truncated year examinations may well be reduce so a three-hour English exam, for instance, is lowered to 2 hours. Reducing the quantity of year 12 topics a pupil must adopt with the intention to effectively whole year 12 could also be an choice.

Given the 2020 cohort of scholars may not be as smartly ready for tertiary research it is also important that universities and schools put money into bridging lessons to make sure scholars, particularly deprived ones, have the best likelihood of dealing with first-year tertiary research.

While there’s no simple solution to the year 12 imbroglio – finish of year exterior examinations must be the first precedence.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a senior analysis fellow at the Australian Catholic University, and a previous member of the Victorian Board of Studies and the Year 12 English Panel of Examiners.

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,, The Sydney Morning Herald

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