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INTRODUCTION TO WACE

Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is awarded to senior secondary school students who satisfy its requirements. It is a senior secondary certificate recognised nationally in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The SCSA has set a minimum standard for students in Year 12 for literacy and numeracy based on the Australian Core Skills Framework Level 3. This is a standard regarded as essential for individuals to meet the demands of everyday work and life in a knowledge-based economy. It helps students develop transferable skills, such as: critical and creative thinking personal and social capabilities intercultural understandings.

These skills are integral to enable students to navigate an increasingly interconnected world, including embarking upon further education, training and work.

By completing the curriculum programs, students have gained entry into:

  • Western Australia’s universities.
  • Australia’s universities, including the Group of Eight (Australia’s leading research-intensive universities).
  • Leading universities around the world, including in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
  • Other post-school pathways.

SCHOOL CURRICULUM AND STANDARD AUTHORITY

The School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) is the Western Australian Government certification authority responsible for setting the curriculum for over 1100 schools from Kindergarten to Year 12. Reporting directly to the Western Australian Minister for Education and Training, the SCSA is administered by a board of educators with experience in curriculum and assessment from early childhood to post-graduate university level.

The SCSA has a rich tradition of providing world-class curriculum programs to Western Australian and international schools. These curriculum programs, adopted and adapted from the Australian Curriculum, are relevant to students’ learning needs and aspirations, evidence-based and forward-focused.

WACE REQUIREMENTS

Achievement of a WACE signifies that a student has successfully met the breadth and depth standard, the achievement standard and the literacy and numeracy standard in their senior secondary schooling.

Literacy and numeracy standard

Students must demonstrate the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy by successfully completing the reading, writing and numeracy components of the Authority’s Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) or by pre-qualifying through achieving Band 8 or higher in the reading, writing and numeracy tests of the Year 9 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

Breadth and depth requirement

Students must complete a minimum of 20 units:

  • A minimum of ten Year 12 units, or the equivalent
  • Four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course.
  • One pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (Arts/Languages/Social Sciences) and List B (Mathematics/Science/Technology)

Achievement standard requirement

Students must achieve at least 14 C grades or higher (or equivalents) in Year 11 and Year 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units.

WHAT DOES STUDENT RECEIVE AFTER MEET THE WACE REQUIREMENTS?

Western Australian Certificate of Education Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

WACE

Western Australian Certificate of Education

WASSA

Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement

ATAR

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

WASSA

The Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement, also known as the WASSA, is issued to all Year 12 students at the completion of their secondary schooling. The WASSA provides a formal record of what students leaving in Year 12 have achieved, as a result of their school education in Western Australia.

What is included on the WASSA?

The WASSA formally records what a student has completed during their senior secondary schooling:

  • Achievement of WACE (Western Australian Certificate of Education) requirements
  • Achievement of literacy (reading and writing) standard
  • Achievement of numeracy standard
  • Achievement of exhibitions and awards
  • School grades, school marks, and combined scores in ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) units
  • Number of community service hours undertaken (if reported by the school).

How can students use the WASSA?

The WASSA is like the academic transcript students receive from universities and training providers. Students can use the detail in the WASSA to support their applications for employment, further education and training.

Even if the WACE has not yet been achieved, the WASSA provides a statement that indicates how well students are prepared for further study, training and employment. It can be added to over a student’s lifetime. As a snapshot of a student’s endeavours, the WASSA illustrates the level of study that has been attempted, performance in that study and the student’s exposure to a variety of courses and extra-curricular activities. It gives a sense of the student’s performance and engagement at school. This is a record that may be enriched by the comments provided on the student’s school reports.

ATAR (AUSTRALIAN TERTIARY ADMISSION RANK)

Introduced in 2009 and 2010, an ATAR is the primary measure for entry into most undergraduate-entry university courses in Australia. An ATAR ranges from 99.95 to zero, and reports your rank position relative to all other students. It takes into account the number of students who sit the WACE examinations in any year and also the number of people of Year 12 school leaving age in the total population.

If you have an ATAR of 70.00, for example, it indicates that you’ve achieved as well as or better than 70% of the Year 12 school leaver age population in the state.

The ATAR allows the results of any WA student applying for university admission interstate to be directly compared with results in other states. All states report student rankings as an ATAR.

The Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) is responsible for the ranking of students for university entrance. TISC calculates the ATAR based on the school and exam score provided by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority. The ATAR is based on a student’s four best ATAR course results. Each course result is based 50% on school assessment and 50% on the examinations. TISC then offers university places based on the ranking.

How is the ATAR used?

Each university sets a lowest rank to receive an offer for each course. This is seen as the fairest method for student comparison and, as a nationally recognised measure, it is used by many universities as the primary basis for admission.

This generally means that ATARs reflect supply and demand more than the intellectual capacity needed to study the course. Therefore, if you apply to an Australian university, your priority is to study to achieve the highest possible scores you can in order to be accepted into better schools and more competitive courses.

SUBJECTS OFFERING AT WASS

Courses are grouped into List A (Arts, Languages and Social Sciences) and List B (Mathematics, Science and Technology). Each course is organised into a Year 11 syllabus and a Year 12 syllabus. Each year syllabus is divided into two units which are delivered as a pair. The notional time for the pair of units is 110 class contact hours. The cognitive complexity of the syllabus content increases from Year 11 to Year 12.

LIST A

LIST B

English ATAR

English EAL/D

Accounting and Finance ATAR

Mathematics Application ATAR

Mathematics Methods ATAR

Chemistry ATAR

Physics ATAR

Biology ATAR

Applied Information Technology ATAR

Read more about WACE Subjects and Assessments