No certainty on exams for year 12 students

Senior students will not know until April how year 12 assessments will be carried out.
Senior students will not know until April how year 12 assessments will be carried out.

Australia's Year 12 students face an uncertain future with national educators unable to agree on the make-up of end of year exams amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The National Education Council involving education ministers for all states and territories said the school system was "in transition" as schools closed their gates to children of non-essential workers.

Options discussed by ministers included changes to the way that the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) could be calculated and presented, and how student assessments may be undertaken.

Adjustments to university admission processes were also discussed, but for year 12 students there is no certainty on exactly how they will be assessed at the end of the school year.

"Ministers agreed that it is important that no senior secondary student is disadvantaged," the council said in a statement.

"Future decisions will ensure equitable outcomes for all senior secondary students as they complete their schooling."

It warned students and teachers would face a new mode of operation following the school holidays.

The council will meet again at some stage in April to decide on the national future for year 12 assessments.

However, the states and territories are already moving forward promising students the assessments would be "flexible and fair".

In NSW principals will be given the power to make decisions about the number and weighting of HSC assessment tasks, NSW Education Standards Authority Board Professor Peter Shergold said.

"We know you are worried. We are facing an unprecedented situation, we want to assure you that you will be able to get a HSC certificate this year, and that the certificate will facilitate access to university, further education and employment, as it has for students over the past 50 years," Professor Shergold said.

"Keep learning, do your assessments as advised by your school, make progress on your major projects where you can and, most importantly, look after yourself, whether you are at school or at home.

"If you get sick, your school and NESA have provisions to ensure you are not disadvantaged."

In Queensland, schools will drop one internal assessment from each syllabus.

"This will provide some relief for students as they contend with uncertainty and disruption while working towards their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) in 2020," Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority chair Brian Short said.

"It will also support teachers to manage reduced classroom time."

Australian Associated Press