The Year 12 cohort of 2020 will still be able to receive the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank this year, the ACT Government has confirmed. Narrabundah College.
School’s out for COVID. The Year 12 cohort of 2020 will still be able to receive the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank this year, the ACT Government has confirmed. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

Earlier this week, the ACT Government confirmed that the Year 12 cohort of 2020 will be able to receive the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) this year.

The ACT’s education system for flexibility in assessment types and scheduling due to there being no end-of-year exams held here, unlike the rest of the country.

The ACT Senior Secondary Certificate uses results from school-based assessment across both years of college which can be a mix of exams and projects throughout the years.

The ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies will work with Colleges over the next few months to finalise arrangements for the calculation of the Year 12 certificates and the production of ATARs.

A Catholic Education Archdiocese of Canberra & Goulburn (CEACG) spokesperson told Canberra Weekly that colleges are modifying assessments to ensure students are still able to be assessed in a remote online environment, while fulfilling the requirements of courses and course frameworks.

This means Year 11 and 12 students won’t be required to perform practical work in courses that would have otherwise required it.

“They can report on practical experiences from elsewhere – they can write a report in place of actually performing the practical task,” the CEACG spokesperson said.

Like public schools, CEACG schools will move to a single digital platform to support remote learning and to maximise opportunities for online interaction with students.

“This platform is integrated with other programs commonly used by schools e.g. the Google for Education suite.

“All teachers across the archdiocese are being trained to deliver courses remotely to students. This involves a mix of curriculum delivery, assessment and feedback to students.”

Every ACT public college student has access to a Chromebook (laptop) provided by the ACT Government, while the government is also working to ensure every student has internet access at home.

CEACG said their remote learning will be flexible and adaptable on a case-by-case basis with a variety of approaches being explored.

“Schools are monitoring the degree to which students are able to interact with the new learning environment,” the spokesperson said.

An ACT Government spokesperson said ACT public school students undertaking the International Baccalaureate (IB) program will still be able to receive their diploma or certificate.

IB exams that were scheduled for May have been cancelled; however, students will be assessed on coursework submitted to the program. At this stage, the November 2020 IB exams will still proceed.

Universities working to ‘ensure clear path’ for students

The ANU today announced they will admit domestic undergraduate students for 2021 based on their Year 11 results, giving thousands of school-leavers greater certainty in uncertain times.

Students can apply to ANU undergraduate programs based on their Year 11 results from now until 25 May, with offers to be made in August.

As part of the new entry requirements for 2021, offers made on Year 11 results in August will be honoured for study if students complete Year 12. The ANU expects to accept about 2,500 students from across Australia for entry in 2021.

The ANU is urging interested students to apply during the April school holidays.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the sector was working with state governments, schools and its own Tertiary Admissions Centres to ensure Year 12 students have a clear path to university in 2021.

“It’s not in anyone’s interest – neither the students, their parents, the schools nor universities – to stop students from moving on,” Ms Jackson said.

She acknowledged the admissions process will look different to previous years, but the commitment to fairness, consistency and transparency would remain.

“We do not underestimate the challenge, but we are well placed to adapt – by expanding and extending the tried and tested admissions processes we use every year.”

The ACT Government spokesperson said that the ACT Education Directorate is working with universities to ensure “no student is disadvantaged as a result of this pandemic”.

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