Laying firm foundations for the new QCE
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 8, 8 November 2019, page no. 10
This year has seen one of the largest transitions to a new senior secondary system to occur in more than a generation of teachers. In 2020, OP scores will become a thing of the past as we fully transition to the new ATAR system and a new QCE for year 12 graduates.
Like any major change, this transition has not happened seamlessly and without significant prolonged effort on the part of many players, most importantly teachers and school leaders at the chalkface.
There is no denying the significant impact that such a major system overhaul has had on the workload and wellbeing of senior secondary teachers, heads of program and school leaders throughout the state. Not only have members been teaching year 11 students and content from new and/or revised syllabuses, senior secondary teachers have had the added challenge of teaching from the last year of the previous senior syllabuses for year 12 students graduating this year. Teachers in rural and remote areas have had to teach multiple year levels and subjects with limited experience or guidance (although this has always been the case).
Members around the state have continued to raise concerns with us regarding the workload associated with the development of internal assessments (IA1 and IA2) and the uploading of those assessment pieces into the app. The tight timeframes were in place to encourage prompt resubmission of pieces following feedback from endorsers, however those members who required an extension for extenuating circumstances were granted one following contact with the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).
More than 24,000 teachers used the app and submitted some 17,000 pieces of assessment, 50 per cent of which were endorsed without amendment. In the second round, 7,000 more were endorsed. Teachers have until the end of the year to finalise the 1,700 outstanding pieces of internal assessment, and the QCAA is providing intensive support for teachers in those schools. The QCAA is also seeking teachers in schools to become confirmers - the next step of the confirmation process.
Many branch motions, along with feedback from individual members, have flowed in to the QTU and have been raised directly with officers of the department and/or the QCAA (it is also vital that teachers continue to provide full and frank feedback directly to the QCAA as well). These motions have also provided clear guidance for your representatives on stakeholder reference committees, including on learning area reference groups (LARGs) and on various stakeholder committees of the QCAA.
The new QCE system will remain in place for two years, after which a review will be conducted. Changes proposed include the development of an assessment bank and the possibility of endorsement when the assessment piece is ready, rather than during a specific “window” or designated period for endorsement.
Obviously, without the engagement and willingness of members to raise their concerns with the QTU, it would be difficult for us to respond to these systemic changes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank members for taking the time to raise their concerns at branch and Area Council meetings, which has greatly assisted me and other officers of the Union in lobbying QCAA officers for more information, support and improved processes. Members should not forget that the Department of Education’s dedicated SATE support officers, based in regional offices, are available to provide further advice and assistance.
The workload associated with the new QCE will be one of the first items of business covered by the Workload Advisory Council when it is established as a result of our newly certified enterprise bargaining agreement. As extra recognition of associated workload, an extra day for teachers in senior secondary was achieved for 2020 as the first year of full implementation. Members should be proud of their incredible efforts to ensure that much of the initial intensive groundwork has been done, so that students and teachers can benefit from the improved new QCE system for many years to come.