The end of an era

Last week our Year 12 students and those from all over Queensland sat the last ever QCS exams since they were first introduced in 1992 – more than 27 years ago!

Some schools celebrated the end of QCS with glitter cannons, some with war cries and still others with a giant countdown and choreographed crowd formation on the oval.

At GCC, we didn’t want to distract the students from the test at hand so honoured the same traditions we have in past years. The Year 12 students put on a hearty breakfast and lunch and invited the staff to join them. It was a low-key event that emphasised relationships and provided good opportunities to catch up with the students in small groups and enjoy a delicious meal together.

If you want to see our Year 12 students excited about the end of the QCS exam, then you can have a sneak peek of them throwing their hats in the air.

If you have students in Year 11 or below and are wondering about what the end of the QCS means, here is a brief overview of the change.

The 2019 seniors are the last ones to receive an OP (Overall Positioning) and from 2020 eligible students will receive an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) instead of an OP. Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace MP said, “ATAR will ensure results are as inclusive and fair for students as possible. Rankings will be generated directly from senior subject results.”

The new system will finally bring Queensland in line with other states and territories in Australia. This will especially benefit any of our students moving interstate as the outcomes will be more easily compared to those in the rest of Australia. For the first time, it will be like comparing oranges with oranges rather than with mandarins.

An article by Study Gold Coast explains that the old system relied on teachers comparing assessments with other teachers to moderate and adjust scores but the new system will use assessments that have already been verified. Professor Bahr said the new system, “…will now combine school-based assessment with external exams – a new era for Queensland.”

The article went on to state the difference between OP and ATAR:

“OP ranks are based on the results of five senior Authority subjects and rank students between one and 25 (with one being the highest score).

“ATAR is a more inclusive ranking, which can also include a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification or Subject Area Syllabus (SAS) subject. Currently the OP system doesn’t include VET or SAS. ATAR rankings also place students between 0 and 99.95 (with 99.95 being the highest).

“Overall, an OP is a broad ranking, while an ATAR is a “fine-grained” score. For example, a student who achieves an ATAR of 94.35, would equate to either an OP1 or OP2 currently, depending upon the overall cohort.”

These changes were further explained during our Year 10 Information Evening that happened on Tuesday night. It is important that all parents and students approaching senior study are well apprised of these changes and we will do all we can to ensure this happens. 

One impact these external exams will have will be different finishing dates for our Year 12 students next year, depending upon the subjects they take. The Department of Education set the exam dates which means if some students’ last exam is early November and others are mid-November then some students will be finishing later than others. We won’t know the subject exam dates until much closer to the end of next year but will be planning our end of year events to fit in accordingly.  

In my opinion, these inconveniences will be outweighed by the benefits of the new system.

Mike Curtis, Principal

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