The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

A testing time...

- BY SARAH MATTHEWS

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.

 ?? Picture: PAUL CARRACHER ?? WORKING HARD: Horsham St Brigid’s College VCE student Ella Taylor is trying to remain positive.
Picture: PAUL CARRACHER WORKING HARD: Horsham St Brigid’s College VCE student Ella Taylor is trying to remain positive.

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