The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
A testing time...
AWimmera education leader has encouraged year-12 students to remain positive following news this year’s General Achievement Test had been rescheduled for the third time.
St Brigid’s College careers, VCE and VCAL co-ordinator Lesley Lannen said 2021 had been another challenging year for students, thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns and the resulting move to remote learning.
“This is the second year that our senior students have had to learn through online platforms,” she said.
“The students are consistently having to deal with the uncertainty of reaching their goals, hopes and dreams.
“We really want to let the students know that we are there to support them and that we encourage them to be hopeful, stay strong and remain focused on what they need to do. We believe in them and what they can achieve under these difficult times.”
Education Minister James Merlino announced earlier this month the government had rescheduled the GAT to ‘keep Victorian students, teachers and broader school communities safe from coronavirus’.
He said the decision was part of setting a pathway to ensure year 12s could approach their final months of school with confidence, thanks to the scheduling of new assessment dates ahead of the year’s final exam period.
The GAT, which tests general knowledge and skills in written communication, mathematics, science, technology, humanities, the arts and social sciences, will now be on September 9.
St Brigid’s College year-12 student Ella Taylor, 18, said she was glad the GAT had been rescheduled and hoped it would not be postponed again.
“It’s nice that they’re being a bit
lenient and considerate,” she said. “It’s been two years of remote learning now – all my VCE – and it’s been pretty challenging.
“It hasn’t been smooth sailing at all. One day you’re at school and the next you’re at remote learning.
“It’s been pretty uneasy and unsettling but you just have to keep your head up and keep going – we’re almost done.
“I’ll be happy when it’s all finished.”
Ella, who is also completing university units online through Deakin University, said she hoped to become a special education teacher, working with children with disabilities.
“I did work experience at the special school in year 10, which I loved,” she said.
“It’s a passionate career I’d like to pursue.”
Mr Merlino said efforts would be made to ensure students’ future plans did not suffer, including an extensive Consideration of Educational Disadvantage, CED, process.
“In a normal year, individual students are assessed for special consideration on a case-by-case basis – but the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will again use the CED process to finalise VCE results for each and every student completing one or more VCE or scored VCE VET unit 3-4 sequence in 2021,” he said.
“Whether it’s special consideration for every student in year 12, or extra mental health and tutoring support in schools, we want any student who is struggling to know that we’re here to support them all the way.”
Mrs Lannen said the CED process restored a student’s results to where they would have been without the disruptions that had occurred throughout the year and ensured final VCE results were valid and fair for all students.
She said special consideration would also be available for final year VCAL students, with each school making a balanced judgement about the level of impact on students and adjusting assessment activities to reflect this.
“Students will also be able to apply for special consideration when applying for courses through VTAC,” she said.
Written and performance exam dates for VCE subjects will remain as originally set, with performance and oral exams scheduled to start on October 4, and written exams to run until November 17, subject to further public health advice.