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School-based Assessments involving fieldwork or outdoor activities – February 2020

VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies

Applied practical learning is integral to this study. The bushfires may have an impact on available resources to undertake practical tasks that focus on an aspect of food and fibre production relevant to the area of study being undertaken.

Strategies for teachers

Contingent on school settings, resources and capabilities, consider the range of practical tasks that can be used in the teaching and assessment of the study, such as:

  • management of plants and/or animals
  • field trips with participatory experiences
  • scientific trials and experiments (field-based or in a laboratory)
  • data collection, analysis and application
  • business or entrepreneurial practices, including value-adding activities
  • investigation of best-practice case studies
  • virtual reality experiences.

Collaborate with other teachers/schools and/or conduct practical task/s in an alternative location (teachers will still need to authenticate student work).

Consider the types of selected practical tasks to ensure availability of resources, such as land, water and time.

Enquiries about VCE Agricultural and Horticultural Studies may be directed to Leanne Compton, Curriculum Manager, Design and Technologies: or 03 9032 1698.

VCE Environmental Science

Assessment tasks related to Outcomes 1 and 2 in Unit 3: How can biodiversity and development be sustained? may involve the generation of data by students in a particular environment. In one task, students are required to evaluate management strategies to reduce the effects of threatening processes on one selected threatened endemic species. The second task involves students analysing and evaluating a selected environmental science case study. In Unit 4: How can the impacts of human energy use be reduced?, students are provided with a choice of assessment tasks, some of which may involve fieldwork.

Strategies for teachers

Teachers who normally conduct fieldwork as part of an assessment task in areas that have been affected by bushfires may choose to:

  • seek alternative environments in which to generate data for any/all these tasks
  • use secondary data for any/all these assessment tasks
  • collaborate with other teachers/schools to explore opportunities for resource sharing and outsourcing activities
  • choose alternative assessment tasks in Unit 4 that do not involve fieldwork.

Enquiries about VCE Environmental Science may be directed to Maria James, Curriculum Manager, Science: or 03 9032 1722.

VCE Geography

VCE Geography has a significant fieldwork component in Units 1–3 that could involve bushfire-affected locations – covering hazards and disasters, tourism and land use change. The data collected in the field provides the basis for processing, representation, analysis and interpretation.

Strategies for teachers

For Unit 1, schools have the capacity to choose the most appropriate hazards and disaster to suit their location, context, community, student and teacher backgrounds. While bushfires are a common type of hazard chosen by schools to investigate, it is an optional choice. Other hydro-meteorological hazards, such as droughts, floods, erosion, storms, and storm surges, are also options.

Teachers who normally conduct fieldwork in areas that have been affected by bushfires may choose to:

  • conduct fieldwork at an alternative site
  • revise your teaching and learning sequence and conduct fieldwork at a later date to allow teachers/schools time to evaluate the status of their current fieldwork site and/or have time to prepare materials for a new site, and (if required), apply for an extension of time (Refer to Notice to Schools 20/2020).

The Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV) is happy to provide teachers with additional information and resources to conduct alternative fieldwork and/or put teachers in touch with colleagues who will support them.  For further information, teachers can contact Jane Belamy, Education Officer, GTAV: or (03) 9824 8355.

Enquiries about VCE Geography may be directed to Leonie Brown, Curriculum Manager, Humanities: or 03 9603 7923.

VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies

VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies requires students to connect practical experiences with the theoretical content studied in each of the four units. The practical work can range from bush walking, cross-country skiing, canoe touring, cycle touring, conservation and restoration activities, marine exploration and participation in community projects.

The assessment of VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies requires students to use information gained during these outdoor experiences in both School-assessed Coursework and the end-of- year examination.

Strategies for teachers

Teachers planning to meet the practical outdoor experiences requirement by taking students on extended excursions, such as camps, should consider the broad scope of  available practical experiences to be selected, such as day excursions or walks to local parks, waterways and cycling tracks.

The Parks Victoria website can help teachers to find an alternative location, as it provides information on the current status of all Victorian state and national parks.

The Department of Education and Training’s Safety Guidelines for Education Outdoors webpage provides information on the student safety and risk management in relation to camps and excursions.

Enquiries about VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies should be directed to Rachael Whittle, Curriculum Manager, Health and Physical Education: or 03 9032 1721.