VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2016 Summary of Changes
The complete Summary of Changes can also be downloaded as a pdf file.
VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2016 – Summary of Changes (pdf - 395.93kb)
Victorian Certificate of Education
Each VCE unit involves 50 hours of scheduled classroom instruction over the duration of a semester. In addition, it is expected that students will undertake up to 50 hours of self-directed learning for each unit.
There is one examination period each year. The performance and oral examinations occur in October and the written examinations are held in October and November. The General Achievement Test (GAT) is conducted in June. Selected VCE studies are available on an alternative academic year running from September to July.
3.2 English requirement
No more than two units at Unit 1 and 2 level selected from the English group may count towards the English requirement. The English group at this level comprises English Units 1 and 2, Bridging English as an Additional Language Units 1 and 2, English Language Units 1 and 2, Foundation English Units 1 and 2, and Literature Units 1 and 2. English Units 3 and 4 and EAL Units 3 and 4 are equivalent sequences and a student may not count both towards the award of the VCE.
3.2 English requirement
Possible unit combinations from the English group
|English group Units 1 and 2 satisfactorily completed
||English group Units 3 and 4 satisfactorily completed
||Is the English requirement met?
||Sequences other than English
||Units contributing to minimum 16-unit count
|Bridging EAL Units 1 and 2 English Units 1 and 2
||EAL Units 3 and 4
||Only two units from Units 1–2 level count towards the English requirement.
3.3 Equivalent studies
The VCE Computing study design (accredited 2016–2019) replaced all previous study designs for Information Technology. Students who have completed any Information Technology units prior to 2016 and who subsequently enrol in Computing cannot count Units 1 to 4 of Computing towards satisfactory completion of the VCE.
3.4 New VCE studies in 2016
Bridging English as an Additional Language
Bridging EAL is a Unit 1 and 2 study, focusing on language skills and language variation for specific contexts needed by students for whom English is an additional language. Students develop knowledge and skills in reading, viewing, listening, speaking, writing and thinking and progress from informal use of language to more formal, academic and technical language proficiency.
Chin Hakha Units 1-4
Chin Hakha is a language of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Units 3 and 4 are available for enrolment in 2016. Units 1 and 2 were implemented in 2015.
Karen Units 1 and 2
Karen is a language of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Units 1 and 2 are available for enrolment in 2016, Units 3 and 4 will be available for enrolment in 2017.
Vietnamese First Language Units 1 and 2
Vietnamese First Language, like all the VCE First Language suite of languages, is designed for students with a background in the language. Units 1 and 2 are available for enrolment in 2016; Units 3 and 4 will be available for enrolment in 2017.
VCE Ancient History Units 1–4 have been added to the suite of history studies and are available for enrolment in 2016.
Global Empires is a Unit 1 and 2 study. The study investigates the making of empires between 1400–1775 and includes themes such as the reasons and motivations for exploration, methods used to establish colonies, and the effectiveness of global empires in dealing with colonial challenges.
Specialist Mathematics Units 1 and 2
A new Specialist Mathematics Units 1 and 2, using the same structure as General Mathematics Units 1 and 2, but with a combination of prescribed and selected topics, has been introduced into the new VCE Mathematics study design accredited from January 1 2016 to 31 December 2018.
4.5 Exchange students
Overseas exchange students
Overseas exchange students may enrol in Unit 3, Units 3 and 4, or Unit 4 only. The final date for enrolling in Unit 4 is ENROLMENT 3. These students may complete some or all graded assessments and have their grades reported, but a study score is calculated only if Units 3 and 4 are completed in the same academic year.
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Recognition of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Further Education (FE) within the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) ensures that students who complete all or part of a nationally recognised VET or FE qualification may receive credit towards satisfactory completion of the VCE or VCAL. Students would typically undertake training at the Certificate II or III level.
4.2 Recognition of VET FE within the VCE
The rules for the award of credit in the VCE are as follows:
- Attainment of units of competency/modules at AQF Level II provides credit at Unit 1 and 2 level, subject to completion of a minimum of 90 nominal hours for each VCE unit.
- Attainment of units of competency/modules at AQF Level III and above provides credit at Unit 3 and 4 level, subject to completion of a minimum of 90 nominal hours for each VCE unit.
- From 2017 the credit accruing towards the VCE will be capped at two Unit 3 and 4 sequences from any qualification at Certificate IV or Diploma level.
- A Unit 3 and 4 sequence will be awarded on satisfactory completion of a minimum of 180 nominal hours, according to the rules outlined in the previous points.
- From 2016 schools seeking to enrol students into Certificate IV or Diploma qualifications will need to seek prior approval from the VCAA VET Unit. An approval form will be available from the VET page of the VCAA website. This approval process is designed to ensure that students are undertaking qualifications aligned to their future pathway and are appropriate to their needs and capabilities.
5 Contribution of VET to VCAL
Credit towards VCAL
For all certificate types (VES, NAP and VFE), a credit towards VCAL is awarded on successful completion of 90 nominal hours of accredited curriculum or nationally recognised training. From 2017, the credit accruing towards the VCAL will be capped at four credits from any qualification at Certificate IV or Diploma level.
6. VCE VET documentation
VET Quick Guide for VASS Administrators is available on the VCAA website. VCE VET program booklets are published by the VCAA for all VCE VET programs.
The following organisations have useful information:
- Training.gov.au is the database on Vocational Education and Training in Australia.
- The Department of Education and Training’s Higher Education and Skills Group (www.education.vic.gov.au) has information on access to further education and training opportunities for Victorians and links to Training Package Purchasing Guides and state-government-accredited curriculum documents and Curriculum Maintenance Managers (CMMs).
- Department of Industry (www.industry.gov.au) is responsible for developments and policy changes in national VET.
7. Industry Pathways
Industry Pathways provides recognition for students who choose to complete VCE or VCAL program of study in a specific vocational area. They combine VET, certificates with English/Literacy, Maths/Numeracy, workplace learning and selected studies that complement the relevant industry. The two-year programs commenced in 2015 with the first VCE or VCAL with an Industry Pathway appellation to be awarded in 2016.
Further information regarding Industry Pathways is available on the VCAA website.
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Administrative Information: Schools and providers
3.4 Data security and VASS
VASS has a three-layer security system. From 2016, all users must have a username, password and a passcode to access the authentication grid. Valid authentication devices (USBs) will no longer be required to access VASS.
Schools must contact VASS Operations to have new VASS administrators created or to modify existing VASS administrators, however VASS administrators can set up other VASS users. All users should change their own password on a regular basis. Other VASS user groups include Clerical (CL) and School Statistics and Results Group (SSRG).
If VASS administrators experience problems, including password and login issues, they should contact VASS Operations.
3.6 Accuracy of students' personal and enrolment data
Reporting the death of a student
Schools must communicate the death of a student or former student to the VCAA by sending a letter signed by the principal to the Manager, Student Records and Results. The student’s record will be amended on the VCAA database accordingly. If the VCAA is not informed of the death of a student, the student’s data will be included in the annual VCAA senior secondary data collections, which may result in the student’s family experiencing further distress.
3.8 Data amendments and late fees
Procedure for amending enrolments after the ENROLMENT date
Applications for amendments must be submitted on the appropriate form, available on VASS.
1. These are the enrolment amendment forms for VCE and VCAL:
- for the current academic year – Application for late VCE and VCAL enrolment amendments 2016
- for the previous academic year – Application for late notification of amendments to 2015 VCE and VCAL units
- for academic years prior to 2015 – Application for late notification of amendments to VCE and VCAL units prior to 2015.
All requests for changes to VCE VET and VET/FE units of competency/modules should be made on the Application for late VET enrolment amendments 2016 form, available on VASS. If the SIAR date has also passed, the result for the new enrolment must be included on the form.
Procedure for amending enrolments for School-based Assessment or Externally-assessed Tasks after the due date
1. Applications for results amendments must be submitted on the appropriate form, available on VASS. Unit results for VCE and VCAL:
- for the current academic year – Unit Result Amendment Sheet generated through VASS
- for the previous academic year – Application for late notification of amendments to 2015 VCE and VCAL units form
- for academic years prior to 2015 – Notification of late amendments to VCE and VCAL units prior to 2015 or Notification of late amendments to units of competency/modules prior to 2015 form.
All requests for scores for the VCE should be made on the Score Amendment Sheet (SAS) generated through VASS. All requests for VCE VET and VET/FE units of competency/modules should be made on the Application for late notification of amendments to 2015 units of competency/modules form.
4.2 Accuracy of students' personal and enrolment data
Student personal details
Students must submit a Student Personal Details form that includes their intended program for the year. The information on this form should be entered on VASS.
Each student’s personal details (particularly their birth date), consent permissions, subject enrolment details and eligibility for the VCE and VCAL, must be periodically checked and signed by them and their teachers, using the Student Full Details report from VASS. Students should be provided with a new Student Full Details report to sign at the end of each enrolment cycle to ensure any requested changes have been made. Students should also be advised that the address on their Student Full Details report is the one their Year 12 results will be mailed to at the end of the year. Students must be enrolled on VASS using their legally registered name as per Births, Deaths & Marriages.
4.5 Integrity of School-based Assessments
To ensure the integrity of School-based Assessment in all VCE units, schools should:
- develop a process document that clearly states the schools expectations in relation to the development and delivery of School-based Assessment and the steps teachers must take to ensure the security of the content
- keep assessment tasks, including tasks in development, out of the reach, view or access of students until they are delivered
- where possible, avoid storing assessment tasks on open school networks and unsecured media such as USB sticks, or sending them by unsecured means such as emails
- when delivering the same School-based Assessment across several different discrete classes, minimise the time lag between classes
- avoid recycling of tasks from one academic year to the next or between academic cycles to ensure that students are unable to use other student work from the previous year or academic cycle.
5 When schools fail to meet their obligations to students
The VCAA will not enter into a dispute between a student and their school as to whether an error occurred. The process applies only to cases in which the principal believes an error may have been made, which may have disadvantaged students in terms of their VCE or VCAL results.
The application must be lodged at the VCAA by the last day of in the academic year in which the teacher error is believed to have occurred. There is no provision for late applications.
Schools that have classes with fewer than five enrolments in any VCE Unit 3–4 study (note that English and EAL are separate studies) are required to form a partnership with another school or with a community-based organisation to enhance the curriculum provision or assessment arrangements for students. Normally these are formal arrangements:
- VCE Small-group Partnerships – for statistical moderation of School-based Assessment
- VCAL partnerships – for the extension of learning programs and resources.
7 Maintenance of school records
It is expected that schools will advise students of the need to retain work completed for assessment until the end of the academic year in which the work was undertaken. Schools may wish to supervise the storage of student work for this purpose, but it is not required.
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Administrative information: Students
Students must complete and submit the relevant Student Personal Details form (on VASS) to their home school for each year in which they enrol. The accuracy of student details should be audited against information provided on a student’s form, and schools should check the following details. Students must use their legally registered names when enrolling in a senior secondary qualification.
2 VCE enrolment
There are no restrictions on the VCE studies in which a student may enrol except for English as an Additional Language (EAL) and VCE Second Languages. The following VCE studies consist of more than four units:
- Computing (formerly Information Technology)
- Australian and Global Politics
- VCE Languages
Except for units that are deemed to be equivalent, there are no restrictions within a study on the number or combinations of units that students may undertake or for which credit may be gained towards satisfactory completion of the VCE.
For example, students may obtain credit in VCE Computing for Units 3 and 4 of both Informatics and Software Development. However, to get credit for a sequence, students must satisfactorily complete both Units 3 and 4 from the one study. See Qualifications: Victorian Certificate of Education for full details.
2.1 Students seeking EAL status
Students seeking EAL status on the grounds of hearing impairment must:
- produce evidence of a hearing test administered by the Australian Government Hearing Services Program or an equivalent body, not more than two calendar years prior to the year of enrolment in a Unit 3 and 4 sequence. The audiogram and accompanying report submitted must show that the student has a hearing loss of 60 decibels or greater in their better ear. Other aspects of hearing loss (such as issues relating to sound frequencies) should be noted in the report. The report should be written in an accessible language, with the implications of the audiogram results clearly explained.
4 VET enrolment
There may be restrictions on the VET training students can undertake because of industrial arrangements, the nature of the industry from, which training is derived and/or regulatory requirements. From 2016 the VCAA will require all schools wishing to enrol students into Certificate IV or Diploma qualifications to complete an application for higher level qualifications form which is to be available on the VET page of the VCAA website. The decision about the content of the training program will be made by the school in consultation with the RTO.
7.5 Interrupted Studies students
Interrupted Studies status enables students to complete VCE Units 3 and 4 and have a study score calculated over two academic years. The principal or principal’s delegate, on behalf of the student, applies to the VCAA once the Interrupted Studies Status Application form (on VASS) has been completed.
8.2 Total withdrawal from the VCE or VCAL
Students wishing to withdraw from the VCE or VCAL must first complete a Student Exit form (on VASS). It is not possible for schools or individuals other than the student to withdraw a student’s enrolment without the student’s written permission. The Student Exit form should be incorporated into the school’s exit procedures and documentation, and should be stored at the school; the withdrawal must be entered on VASS. Withdrawal from VCE or VCAL can be completed by the school provided the ENROLMENT date for that unit/units has not passed.
10.1 VCE attendance
All VCE units involve at least 50 hours of scheduled classroom instruction over the duration of a semester.
In the situation where the student is allowed to work from home, the school must have in place additional measures to be able to authenticate the student’s work as their own. Advice about authentication measures is provided in the following section.
11.2 Investigation of breaches of School-based Assessment rules
Teachers who believe that a breach of rules (defined in the Act as a ‘contravention’, and including authentication rules) has occurred in a School-based Assessment should report the incident in accordance with the school’s policy and procedures. The school principal, or an authorised member of the principal class, must be notified of the allegations immediately.
Scored Assessment: School-based Assessment
1.3 Strategies for avoiding authentication problems
To reduce the possibility of authentication problems occurring in VCE Units 1–4, or being difficult to resolve, the following strategies are useful:
- Teachers should ensure that tasks are kept secure prior to administration, to avoid unauthorised release to students and compromising the assessment. They should not be sent by mail or electronically without due care.
- A significant amount of classroom time should be spent on the task so that the teacher is familiar with each student’s work in progress and can regularly monitor and discuss aspects of the work with each student.
- Students should document the specific stages of the development of work, starting with an early part of the task, such as the topic choice, list of resources and/or preliminary research.
- Copies of each student’s written work should be filed at given stages in their development.
- Assessment tasks should not be recycled from one academic year to the next or between academic cycles to ensure that students are unable to use other student work from the previous year or academic cycle.
4.1 Preparation of work for School-assessed Coursework
Advice for Teachers and an assessment handbook is published for each accredited VCE study. VCE assessment handbooks contain assessment information about Units 3 and 4 School-assessed Coursework and administrative details of examinations for individual studies. Advice is provided on how to construct and incorporate assessment tasks and how to grade these tasks using performance descriptors. VCE assessment handbooks are not published annually. When a VCE study enters a new accreditation period, a new assessment handbook is published.
Assessment handbooks are available from the VCE study pages on the VCAA website. Notification of any changes to assessment advice during the course of study will be made available to teachers via the VCAA Bulletin and VCAA website.
For each new or revised VCE studies from 2015, information formerly contained in the Assessment Handbook will be incorporated into a single Advice for Teachers publication
5 VCE School-assessed Tasks
This section applies to the School-assessed Tasks for the following studies:
- Algorithmics (AL03)
- Art (AR03)
- Informatics (IT02)
- Software development (IT03)
- Food and Technology (FY03)
- Media (ME03)
- Product Design and Technology (DT03)
- Studio Arts (SA03)
- Systems Engineering (SE03)
- Visual Communication Design (VC03).
School-assessed Tasks are used to measure, in accordance with published criteria, a student’s level of achievement in completing a task.
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Scored assessment: External assessment
1 VCE examinations
Throughout this section the term ‘VCE examination’ refers to any VCE examination, the General Achievement Test (GAT) and the Extended Investigation Critical Thinking Test. The home school is the school responsible for the administration of all student data and course enrolments through VASS, and responsible for ensuring that all their students have been allocated to an examination centre/room. A student can have only one home school at a time.
1.1 Integrity of VCE written examinations and VCE examination administration
VCE providers with students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence must meet the VCAA requirements for the conduct and administration of the GAT and VCE examinations as outlined in the 2016 VCE External Assessment Agreement form.
Principals must certify that they will comply with these requirements as outlined in the agreement, which will be sent to schools in early 2016 as a Notice to Schools. Principals are required to complete and sign-off on this agreement as part of the requirements of this notice.
2 Eligibility to undertake VCE examinations
Students living outside Victoria who wish to sit VCE examinations must attend a school or institution that is recognised by the VCAA as a VCE provider (the Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas is available on VASS).
2.1 Eligibility to sit VCE external assessments outside Victoria
A student is eligible to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas if:
- they are on an exchange program overseas
- they are a student on exchange in Australia and are returning home immediately before or during the examination period*
- they are representing Australia for an official duty, e.g., a sporting, academic, military or cultural event*
- they or their parent/guardian has been asked to work interstate or overseas.
* Events such as family holidays, birthdays and weddings are not considered valid grounds for an application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas.
4.1 Indicative grades and the anomalous grades check
Indicative grades for all VCE external assessments, apart from the Music Style and Composition Externally-assessed Tasks are to be submitted prior to the relevant examination period. The primary purpose of these indicative grades is in the quality assurance procedures for marking the external assessments. They assist in identifying possible anomalous marking of individual scripts. Indicative grades will also be used in the calculation of the DES.
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Scored assessment: VCE and VET Assessment Summary
1 VCE studies and assessments in 2016
The table ‘VCE studies and assessments in 2016’ has been reworked to reflect assessment changes:
|| Graded assessment
|| Type of assessment
|| Contribution to study score (%)
– IT02 Informatics
– IT03 Software Development
||Units 3 and 4 School-assessed Coursework
|Ancient History HI17
||Unit 3 School-assessed Coursework
||Unit 4 School-assessed Coursework
|VCE Languages (CCAFL)
– Chin Hakha LO53
||Unit 3 School-assessed Coursework
||Unit 4 School-assessed Coursework
||Examination: oral component (15 minutes)
|Examination: written component (2 hours and 40 minutes)
2 VCE VET programs with scored assessment in 2016
VET study and certificate code changes only
Business – (BU23) BSB30115
Information and Communications Technology – (IN60) ICT30115
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Scored Assessment: General Achievement Test
1.4 Exemption from the GAT
It is important for all students with an enrolment in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences to attempt the GAT. The VCAA may use a student’s GAT scores to:
- contribute to the statistical moderation of School-based Assessments
- calculate a DES
- check the accuracy of external assessment marking.
Eligibility for exemption from the GAT
A student may be deemed eligible for an exemption from the GAT if they meet one or more of the following criteria:
- They have a vision or other impairment for which arrangements cannot reasonably be made, given the format of the GAT (Special Examination Arrangements for the GAT can be provided for students with a hearing impairment).
- They are prevented from sitting the GAT by injury, illness, personal trauma or a serious intervening event.
- They are employed and cannot be absent from work (evidence from the employer is required).
A personal trauma may include, but is not limited to, the death or serious illness of, or an accident involving, a family member.
A serious intervening event may include, but is not limited to:
- an accident before or on the day of the GAT
- attendance at a funeral of a family member or other person of close relationship
- the required attendance at a legal proceeding.
Applications on the basis of an injury, an illness, a personal trauma or a serious intervening event require an appropriate independent professional to complete Section B or C of the application form.
Note: An application for an exemption from the GAT cannot be submitted solely on the basis of:
- a student requiring Special Examination Arrangements
- a student not completing any graded assessment
- Interrupted Studies status or Compassionate Late Withdrawal
- a student being interstate or overseas at the time of the GAT.
Special Examination Arrangements
A request for an exemption from the GAT on the grounds of requiring Special Examination Arrangements will be refused unless the necessary arrangements exceed those that would normally be offered for the GAT.
Students who experience the onset of an illness, the exacerbation of an existing condition or the occurrence of an injury or personal trauma in the period before the GAT should discuss, with their VCE coordinator, a school application for Emergency Special Examination Arrangements, which may assist them to sit the GAT.
Students not completing any graded assessment
Students not completing any graded assessments associated with VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences will not be granted an exemption on those grounds.
Interrupted Studies status and Compassionate Late Withdrawal
It is important for a student who has been granted Interrupted Studies status to attempt the GAT in both years, but particularly in the year they return to complete the study.
If a student has been withdrawn from all VCE or scored VCE VET units at Unit 3–4 level before the GAT, there is no need to apply for an exemption from the GAT. A student who has been withdrawn after the GAT is not eligible to apply for an exemption from the GAT.
Interstate and overseas arrangements
Students may be eligible to sit the GAT interstate or overseas if:
- they are on an exchange program overseas
- they are representing Australia for an official duty (for example a sporting, academic, military or cultural event)
- they or their parent or guardian have been asked to work interstate or overseas.
Events such as family holidays, birthdays and weddings are not considered valid grounds for an application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas.
The Application to sit VCE external assessments interstate or overseas form is available on VASS.
How to apply for exemption from the GAT
If a student’s circumstances are deemed to meet the eligibility requirements for an exemption from the GAT, their school may apply to the VCAA using the Application for Authorised Absence from the General Achievement Test (GAT) form, which is available on VASS.
Applications on the grounds of accident, illness or injury must be substantiated with evidence from an independent health professional, who will need to complete Section B of the application form.
Applications on the grounds of a personal trauma or serious intervening event must be substantiated with evidence from an appropriate independent professional. This independent professional will need to complete Section C of the application form.
1.5 VCE and/or VCE VET and the GAT GAT
Students who are enrolled in a VCAL certificate in 2016, but are not enrolled in any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences, are not required to sit the GAT.
Students who are enrolled in a VCAL certificate in 2016 that includes any VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequences are required to sit the GAT.
2 GAT results
A statement of GAT results is mailed to each student with all other VCE and VCAL results. This statement indicates each student’s raw score and their relative score calculated in the same way as a study score, with descriptive comments about their performance on each component.
Reporting results: Score aggregation
1 Study Scores
A study score indicates how a student performed in relation to all other students who took the study. It is calculated using the student’s final scores for School-assessed Coursework, School-assessed Tasks, the Externally-assessed Tasks, and examinations for each study.
To receive a study score, students must achieve two or more graded assessments in the study and receive S for both Units 3 and 4 in the same academic year, unless they have Interrupted Studies status and have met these requirements over two academic years. The following table demonstrates how these requirements are met.
1.3 Study Score calculation for students with Interrupted Studies status
Students who have been granted Interrupted Studies status will have their study scores calculated using graded assessments across two distinct years, provided they have achieved two or more graded assessments in the study and received S for both Units 3 and 4. The best results for each graded assessment across the two years of study are used when the study score is calculated. Contact Student Records and Results for clarification of these calculations. The following table demonstrates how these requirements are applied.
Final results: Reporting to students
1.3 VCE completion of units
There are two symbols for reporting completion of units on a VCE Statement of Results:
- S (satisfied), which means all outcomes as specified in the study design have been achieved
- N (not satisfied), which means that not all outcomes have been achieved or there was a significant breach of VCAA or school rules.
This section has now been reintroduced to the VCE and VCAL Administrative Handbook 2016, following exclusion from the 2015 edition due to a review of the VCAA Special Provision policies and procedures.
Please note the information in this section is also available in the Special Provision section of the VCAA website.
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