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Queensland to review new QCE system after feedback from schools, teachers

August 24, 2021

Original Article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-25/queensland-to-review-new-qce-system/13192204

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) said it was delivering on a promise made to schools late last year to start a short post-cycle review of the new Year 11 and 12 system.

The review will occur during Term 1 of this year, and will enable QCAA to make some "necessary and immediate changes before the new system is formally evaluated".

Chief executive Chris Rider said the authority wanted to hear from principals, teachers, students and families about what worked and what could be done better.

Queensland Teachers Union Cresta Richardson said following feedback from school leaders and teachers, the union wrote to the QCAA requesting a review last year.

"There's a review of senior syllabuses to occur this year and that's been in the program the whole time."

More training, 'sharper' communication needed

The review comes after some schools were last year unable to access information from the QCAA to correct a question in the Mathematical Methods exam before the assessment began.

Additionally, teachers who registered to mark English exams outside-of-hours, were relieved from normal classroom duties for a week in November to mark the tests during school hours amid concern results would not be finalised on time.

Ms Richardson said the issues raised included requests from teachers who wanted more regular training for the delivery of the QCE and having enough markers for subjects, such as English, which was mandatory for every student to sit.

"In some subjects and some cohorts, schools and students received [moderated] results really close to the exam period," she said.

"[It] would have placed stress on teachers and kids. They would have wanted more time to communicate.

The consultation period of the review, which will include focus groups with school personnel, school feedback and teacher surveys which can be completed anonymously, will begin in the next two weeks.

Mr Rider said the authority was confident that improvements could be made quickly in some areas.

"But we need to engage with our stakeholders to identify what went well and where change is needed," he said.

New system, expect 'minor changes'

The new QCE, completed in Year 12, involves three internal assessments and external exams for subjects worth up to 50 per cent, with the first cohort completing the new system last year.

The Queensland Government spent about $90 million on delivering the system for Year 11 and 12 students between 2015 and 2020, and has committed a further $40 million until 2023.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Lee-Anne Perry said the Catholic sector looked forward to participating in the tightly focused review, which the sector recognised would not include syllabuses.

"Overall, Catholic schools have been very satisfied with the process of the new QCE system," she said.

"We would expect any changes coming out of the review would be small refinements rather than major changes."

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said the QCAA should be commended for leading the successful rollout of the new system and the extensive support it provided, particularly during a year of disruption and heightened anxiety.

"As with any new system, there are administrative aspects that can be streamlined and strengthened to ensure the best outcomes for students," he said.

Schools, teachers urged to give feedback

Ms Richardson said the union called for school leaders and teachers to submit feedback as part of the consultation process.

"For the massive year that it was, it was an amazing success," she said.

"But there's always things to improve on and we definitely regularly liaise and consult and provide feedback to the QCAA about processes."

Mr Rider said the findings of the review would be made public by mid-year.

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