Curriculum Catch-Up - QCE and ATAR

Our Year 12 students are now in their last days of formal classes before they commence a week of personal study. The following week will mark the return of external examinations in Queensland for the first time in nearly fifty years. Naturally there has been a recent focus on these external examinations. However, it is worth remembering that they are just a tool to assist in the delivery of the end outcomes of the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and for some, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

The QCE is Queensland's senior secondary schooling qualification. It is internationally recognised and provides evidence of senior schooling achievements. To receive a QCE, students must achieve the set amount of learning, in the set standard, in a set pattern, while meeting literacy and numeracy requirements. Most students achieve their QCE at the end of Year 12 and it is issued as part of their Senior Education Profile. Students who do not meet the QCE requirements at the end of Year 12 can continue to work towards their certificate after finishing Year 12, through the completion of additional learning such as vocational education and training courses or traineeships. Once eligible, students will be issued a QCE in the following July or December.

ATAR is the primary mechanism used nationally for tertiary admissions and indicates a student’s position relative to other students. It is the standard measure of a student’s overall academic achievement in relation to other students where these students have studied different subject combinations. ATARS are expressed as a number on a 2000-point scale from 99.95 down to 0.00 in steps of 0.05. So the highest ATAR is 99.95, then 99.90, then 99.85, and so on, down to 0.00. ATARS below 30 are reported as ‘30.00 or less’.


Dr John Fry

Deputy Principal (Studies)


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