Workload Wednesday

SATE year 10

The QTU has consistently raised workload as a significant issue with the new senior assessment program. While preparation for the program continues to be undertaken in secondary schools, it is worth remembering that, were it not for the advocacy of the QTU, the Department of Education and other stakeholders and the subsequent intervention of previous Education Minister Kate Jones, the introduction of the new programs would have commenced from the start of the current school year. Instead, the implementation of the new program was delayed for 12 months.

QTU members have been actively involved in all levels of consultation with the QCAA, including syllabus development, provision of feedback on draft syllabuses and the trialling of external assessment items, as well as ongoing work with the Department of Education around combined and composite classes to ensure that the new system will not disadvantage small schools or schools with small groups of students studying some subjects.

The QTU believes that it is not appropriate for teachers to be asked to undertake new planning for year 10 on top of planning for SATE without additional release time and resourcing being provided to individuals who are carrying the workload. Basically, if it is considered necessary to undertake specific planning for year 10, consultation and negotiation should occur about how and when it will be undertaken and what the urgent purpose of the work is. 

The Department of Education advice is clear: “Schools are not required to rewrite their junior secondary curriculum plans. The general senior syllabuses indicate that all learning areas build on the P–10 Australian Curriculum. Therefore, the best preparation for success in the new QCE system is to teach, assess and report on the Year 10 Australian Curriculum prior to commencement of senior studies. Schools are encouraged to consider the strategies in the document ‘Preparing students for success in senior secondary’ as a way to support students to transition to senior studies.” 

In terms of the new QCE, SATE and planning expectations for Year 10 are explained in the department’s “New Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) System Statement of Expectations – January 2018” (available on OnePortal). “Category 3: Student preparation and support” references activities to be undertaken with year 10. 

By the end of 2018, the school is expected to have:

  • advised year 10 students about the school’s senior curriculum offerings, highlighting new subjects and discontinued subjects
  • implemented junior secondary pedagogy and assessment practices to support students to transition to senior studies, e.g. cognitive skill development, assessment literacy
  • engaged year 10 students in activities to understand the assessment requirements for general subjects, applied subjects, essential English and essential mathematics (The QTU believes this does NOT mean writing and implementing new assessment. It could mean familiarisation discussions or discussions comparing the current assessment being undertaken with what students can expect in senior. The Department of Education has produced a document called “Using assessment to support the transition to senior studies”, which teachers may wish to consult when reflecting on their current year 10 assessment items. Again, any new workload related to review of year 10 assessment should be recognised with provision of some additional planning time.)
  • engaged year 10 students in activities to build their understanding of the new eligibility requirements for QCE and the Queensland ATAR (The QTU has been seeking urgent advice about when the QCE handbook will be available and believes that its release is imminent.)
  • implemented revised SET planning processes
  • reviewed the moderation and monitoring plan to respond to identified issues or concerns from the 2018 student preparation and support actions. 

We know that teachers always want to do the best by their students, including students’ transition to senior. However, in response to QTU advocacy, the department has repeatedly stated that the commencement of senior syllabus studies is not to occur until the beginning of year 11. Therefore, the preparation and transitioning of students to senior does not require the writing of new units of work or the introduction of new assessment for year 10. Where there is a decision by the school to undertake such planning, following consultation and considering workload and resourcing, support should be provided for teachers undertaking the planning work. 

The QTU will continue to advocate on behalf of teachers and school leaders as we work with other key stakeholders to ensure a successful and well-resourced transition to the new senior assessment system.

Uploaded 21 March 2018