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Moving from OP to ATAR on track for all Brisbane Catholic Education schools

ATAR-ready: Brisbane Catholic Education staff and students will be well prepared for the switch from OP to ATAR in 2019.

A NEW pathway to tertiary study for Queensland’s senior students is coming and Brisbane Catholic Education schools are prepared for the changeover.

From 2019, a student who starts Year 11 in Queensland will graduate Year 12 with an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR), replacing the Overall Position (OP).

An ATAR is a number ranging between 99.95 (highest) to zero (lowest) which reports a student’s rank position relative to all other Year 12 students.

The system will bring Queensland into line with other states and territories around Australia, but it’s a new era for the next generation of senior students, their parents and teachers.

To make the move as smooth as possible BCE appointed Wayne Chapman as senior project officer for senior schooling to plan and implement a transition program that ensured BCE teachers were at the cutting edge of innovation and substantially prepared for this major transition.

Mr Chapman said preparation processes across BCE’s 34 secondary colleges had been strategic and thorough.

“We have been preparing for the transition since the Queensland Government commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to conduct a major independent review of Queensland senior assessment and tertiary entrance processes in 2013,” he said.

“Our students will enter into this new phase of learning, well placed to journey through their final two years of Catholic education, to become the best they can be, young people who can make a difference in our world, in their life post-school.”

Mr Chapman said BCE began extensive consultation processes in 2014, working with school leaders and the Queensland Catholic Education Commission to provide input into the ACER review.

He said in late 2016, a number of BCE teachers were invited to be part of Syllabus Writing Groups and Learning Area Reference Groups established by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

BCE also ran more than 25 individual subject consultations to provide feedback into the new syllabuses.

The syllabus consultations provided an early opportunity for classroom teachers to engage and become familiar with the changes.

In 2017, BCE held the first senior schooling forums designed to support and help school leaders understand and prepare for the significant change.

More than 170 school leaders collaborated at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre to prepare for the journey ahead.

In anticipation of schools needing access to different modes of learning to support the delivery of composite classes, BCE supported the first online delivery trial when Siena Catholic College, Sippy Downs, delivered Ancient History to Mary Mackillop College, Nundah.

BCE ran a further 13 syllabus consultations involving almost 100 classroom teachers, as well as consultations on the policies and procedures that will shape the implementation of the new system.

BCE also recognised that effective vocational learning was important, so a student’s learning journey best reflected their interests and aspirations in the future.

Jen Car was appointed as project officer for vocational learning to research and develop a BCE position in this area, and BCE launched a paper “Shaping our Students Future” last year.

Mr Chapman said 2018 also was the year of the Expert Teacher Groups with 30 groups established – 28 in general subjects and one each in Essential English and Essential Mathematics.

“Whilst supported by curriculum staff, these groups were planned for and led by nearly 90 teachers from BCE schools,” he said.

“We had approximately 800 teachers attend these workshops.”

Mr Chapman said feedback had been overwhelmingly supportive of the initiative and the quality of support and advice provided, not only by the ETG leaders, but from participants within the group.

“ETGs will continue in 2019 and, as the new system moves into implementation,” he said.

“They will provide valuable support to our schools through internal endorsement and confirmation activities so that our teachers can continue the journey with confidence.”

Written by: Staff writers
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