Tasmanian Qualifications Authority Tasmanian Qualifications Authority Making your qualifications count graphic
www.tqa.tas.gov.au CONTACT US | DISCLAIMER | ADVANCED SEARCH | SITEMAP | WHAT'S NEW | LOGIN

Home > Qualifications and Certificates > Tasmanian Certificate of Education > TCE FAQs


Frequently Asked Questions About the TCE


LEARNERS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

COURSE PROVIDERS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



LEARNERS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What certificates are issued by the TQA?
What are the Senior Secondary levels at which courses are offered?
Can I change courses / levels of complexity?
What are awards?
What are the ratings 'A', 'B' and 'C' used for in criterion-based assessment?
How can I find out how my award will be calculated?
Can I do a year 13? Why would I do it? What counts regarding points?
How are subject scores calculated?
What is scaling?
Who receives Tertiary Entrance information?
How is the Tertiary Entrance Score calculated?
Can other studies count towards my Tertiary Entrance Score?
What is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) {formerly called the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER)}?
How can I find out which schools/colleges deliver TCE courses?




What certifcates does the TQA issue?

From 2009, three certificates are issued by the TQA: the Qualifications Certificate (QC); the Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE); and the Tasmanian Certificate of Educational Achievement (TCEA). Depending on achievements and personal circumstances a student might get one, two or all three certificates.

For more information, see: http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/2351




What are the Senior Secondary levels at which courses are offered?

The TQA assigns a complexity level to TQA accredited courses (including TCE senior secondary courses), TQA recognised courses, and VET certificates and units of competency. TQA levels of complexity in senior secondary education range from TQA level 1 to level 3 (3 being the highest level of complexity). TQA accredited level 3 courses contribute to the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

The characteristics of learning at each of the TQA levels:

TQA level 3 - the student is expected to acquire a combination of theoretical and/or technical and factual knowledge and skills and use judgement when varying procedures to deal with unusual or unexpected aspects that may arise. Some skills in organising self and others are expected. TQA level 3 is a standard suitable to prepare students for further study at the tertiary level. It is an approximate match to former TCE level 5 courses and VET competencies at this level are often those characteristic of an AQF Certificate III.

TQA level 2 - the student is expected to carry out tasks and activities that involve a range of knowledge and skills, including some basic theoretical and/or technical knowledge and skills. Limited judgement is required, such as making an appropriate selection from a range of given rules, guidelines or procedures. TQA level 2 is an approximate match to former TCE level 3/4 courses and VET competencies at this level are often those characteristic of an AQF Certificate II.

TQA level 1 - the student is expected to carry out tasks and activities that draw on a limited range of basic knowledge and skills. The tasks and activities generally have a substantial repetitive aspect to them. Minimum judgement is needed as there are usually very clear rules, guidelines or procedures to be followed. TQA level 1 is an approximate match to former TCE level 2 courses and VET competencies at this level are often those characteristic of an AQF Certificate I.





Can I change courses / levels of complexity?

You can but you will need to do so before final assessments are made. In the case of TQA level 3 courses, you won't be able to be re-assessed at a lower level after the exam. You need to discuss with your teacher the level at which you are working if you have any questions or concerns at any stage during the year.

The Preliminary Achievement award (PA) largely overcomes the need for students to seek assessment in neighbouring courses, as happened previously.




What are awards?

An award acknowledges a student's level of achievement at the end of a course.

A student receives one of the following awards for each TQA accredited course that employs criterion-based assessment:

  • EA - Exceptional Achievement
  • HA - High Achievement
  • CA - Commendable Achievement
  • SA - Satisfactory Achievement
  • PA - Preliminary Achievement

A successful student receives the award 'Satisfactory Completion' or 'Pass' for each currently accredited TQA course that uses competency-based assessment.

Competency-based assessment may use a 'mastery plus' award structure. In courses using this approach, different levels of achievement are reflected in the awards available. For example 'Pass' and 'Higher Pass'.

Course documentation specifies procedures, rules and requirements for decisions about awards and quality assurance.




What are the ratings 'A', 'B' and 'C' used for in criterion-based assessment?

Your final award is calculated according to how many A, B or C ratings you have achieved in your final assessments.

The 't' and 'z' are used by teachers to indicate that either no work has been received ('z' notation) or the work was of less than 'C' standard for a particular criterion ('t' notation). For externally assessed criteria, you will need to present yourself for the exam and make a genuine attempt to answer at least some questions in order to have a 't' recorded.

In order to gain any award higher than a PA, you cannot have any 'z' notations and you must have the required number of A, B and C ratings.




How can I find out how my award will be calculated?

Be sure you have a copy of the award rules (algorithm) for the course(s) you are studying. You can ask your teacher for the algorithm or you can find it yourself in the course. You will be able to find any current TCE course if you go to our website http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au. The algorithm can be found towards the end of the course document in the Assessment section.





Can I do a year 13? Why would I do it? What counts regarding points?

Yes, you can do a Year 13 if you do not do well enough in Year 12 to get into a university degree course or into a particular course that you wish to enter. You might also do Year 13 if you change your mind about which course to do and you haven't got the pre-requisite subjects. Results from Year 13 can count toward university entrance (and your TE score) but you can count results only from 2 calendar years; i.e. you can count results from Year 11 and Year 13, or Year 12 and Year 13, but not from all 3. Also, if you repeat a course it can only be included once in deciding eligibility for entrance to university or when calculating your TE score. Remember too that you must have 3 TQA level 3 courses from Year 12 or Year 13.




How are course scores calculated?

The TQA provides numeric scores for all TQA level 3 courses successfully completed, for tertiary entrance purposes only. A score is calculated for each TQA level 3 course a student successfully completes.

For 2002 and earlier, for the course to have been successfully completed, a student must have achieved an SA, HA or OA. From 2003 onwards, a student must achieve an SA, CA, HA or EA for the subject to be successfully completed. Subject scores will not be calculated from an award of PA.




What is scaling?

The aim of scaling is to ensure there is no systematic advantage / disadvantage to students based purely on their selection of courses. For the purpose of allocating scores to student results, the TQA calculates a score for each of the awards (SA, CA, HA, EA) in each TQA level 3 course. The score assigned to an award in a course reflects the results of the students with that same award in comparison with their results in all the other courses they do.

The score given to awards in subjects is based on the results of the students in the current year and therefore cannot be determined until marking has been finalised. Subject award scores can - and usually do - vary from year to year, largely in response to changes in the:
  • course
  • external assessment
    or
  • student cohort selecting the course in a particular year.

Students, parents and teachers are sometimes surprised at the scores allocated to subject awards and hence to student results. A subject that a student finds engaging, highly worthwhile and requiring a good deal of work is not intrinsically more difficult (or easier) than other subjects. The score depends on the results achieved by students undertaking that subject in the particular year in comparison with their results in all other TQA level 3 courses.

The method used to determine scores maintains comparability between years. Each year the total set of scores is adjusted so that the average minimum score for a CA is 7.0 and 20.0 for an EA.

When considering subject choice for students, the best advice to a student is to choose subjects for interest, for challenge and for relevance to future plans. It is poor advice to suggest to a student that subject choice should be based on previous years' scores.




Who receives Tertiary Entrance information?

Year 12 students who are eligible for tertiary entrance will receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Statement showing all TQA level 3 courses satisfactorily undertaken, the score for each course, the Tasmanian Tertiary Entrance Score and their overall Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). To be eligible for tertiary entrance, a student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of four TQA level 3 courses, with at least three being done in Year 12. A maximum of five TQA level 3 courses will be used to calculate their Tasmanian Tertiary Entrance Score.




How is the Tertiary Entrance Score calculated?

The Tasmanian Tertiary Entrance Score (TES) is calculated by adding the best three course scores from TQA level 3 courses satisfactorily completed in Year 12, together with the next best two other course scores taken from either the same year, or any other single year after Year 10. If a student undertakes Year 13, then the student can only use two of the three years in calculating their Tasmanian Tertiary Entrance Score. This will be the best three course scores from TQA level 3 courses satisfactorily completed in Year 12 or Year 13, together with the best two other course scores taken from either the same year, or any other single year after Year 10. Where students have more than five courses in total, the TQA will automatically calculate the best score for the student.




Can other studies count towards my Tertiary Entrance Score?

Yes. An arrangement has been negotiated between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority (TQA) so that units undertaken in the University of Tasmania's High Achiever Program (http://www.prospective.utas.edu.au/hap/) are included in the calculation of TE scores. A table of equivalences between High Achiever Program units and TCE subject scores can be accessed by the link below. Each High Achiever Progam unit counts as the equivalent of half a TQA level 3 course. Up to two results in the High Achiever Program can be counted in the calculation of a tertiary entrance score.

Equivalence Table (0.03 Mb PDF)HAP and TES Equivalence Table for 2005 (Updated Dec 19,2005)





What is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)?

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) {formerly called the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER)} is used by students applying for tertiary courses. The system ensures that students have equitable access to tertiary courses across Australia, irrespective of the state or territory in which they completed their Year 12 studies.

The ATAR is calculated as a percentile ranking of students using their Tertiary Entrance Scores. For example, a Tasmanian student having an ATAR of 90.00, means that the student was ranked in the top 10.00% of the age cohort, based on Tasmanian Tertiary Entrance Scores, and would be regarded as being equal to a student with an ATAR of 90.00 from any other state.

Universities and other tertiary institutions determine who they send offers of places to based on the ATAR. Most universities will be able to provide information on the minimum ATAR needed to be offered a place for a specific course of study for the current year.



Can other studies count towards my Australian Tertiary Admission Rank?

The TQA works in partnership with the University of Tasmania in determining tertiary entrance results. This includes the development of equivalent tertiary entrance ranks for those learners who have not met the requirements for direct determination of an ATAR. In 2006, the University of Tasmania approved schedules and tables allowing the determination of an equivalent ATAR for students not eligible for a regular ATAR, up to a maximum equivalent ATAR of 65. This process draws upon results in all TQA accredited and recognised courses, at TQA level 1 or above, including VET competencies and certificates in order to to assign a notional score that is used to determine an equivalent entrance rank (currently capped at 65).

Universities and university admission centres provide correct and complete information about university admission for students with an ATAR and for learners (including mature age learners) who do not have an ATAR. The equivalent Tertiary Entrance Ranks provided by the TQA may be used in the admission process for learners without an ATAR.

For details about which courses students can gain entry to, in Tasmania, on the basis of an equivalent ATAR, please contact the University of Tasmania.






How can I find out which schools/colleges/campuses deliver TCE courses?

Providers register annually with the TQA if they intend to provide TCE courses and want certification for their students' results. The registration includes a commitment to meet TQA quality assurance requirements. The list of providers is of those registered with the TQA and does not necessarily imply that all of them are delivering TCE courses.

List of schools/colleges registered with the TQA



COURSE PROVIDERS' FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TCE



Will literacy, numeracy and ICT tests be available for students?
Can a school arrange for all its year 10 students to take the test?
What about a student who has done a literacy-related course and failed it? Can this student take the test instead of doing another course?
Can we use these tests for diagnostic purposes and to help students choose courses?
Will sample tests and practice tests be available?
Can Year 10 studies count for the TCE?
How are new VET units/qualifications added to those that 'count' for the TCE?
Who will update the TCE Planning Tools?
Can school-based courses 'count' towards the TCE and be listed on students' Qualification Certificates?
What are credit points? How does a student get credit points towards meeting the participation and achievement requirements?
How will teachers know if a student already has credit points (from a recognised course) when taking them throught the pathway planning process?
How does a student meet the pathway planning standard?
Of the three certificates, does a student only get the 'highest'?
Does a student get a Qualifications Certificate each year?




Will the literacy, numeracy and ICT tests be available for students?

Yes, but the tests are to be a 'safety net' only. The Authority expects students in formal learning programs with senior secondary providers to meet standards through course pathways.
For details see the TQA website page: www.tqa.tas.gov.au/2215





Can a school arrange for all its year 10 students to take the tests?

'Safety-net' testing will be available to students no earlier than October following their completion of Year 10.





What about a student who has done a literacy-related course and failed it? Can this student take the test instead of doing another course?

We expect that a student who fails such a course because of problems with reading and writing will have to take a course of study to learn how to do these to every-day adult standards. Taking a test will not help a student learn.

The same applies for students who fail courses because they do not reach everyday adult standards for mathematics or for use of computers and the internet.





Can we use these tests for diagnostic purposes and to help students choose courses?


No.

There are many good assessment resources for diagnosing learners' needs - for example, see the National Reporting System (NRS) website at:
http://www.nrs.dest.gov.au/nrs/express/2ex-ind3.htm
:for information about tasks and assessment in literacy and numeracy.





Will sample tests and practice tests be available?

No sample tests are issued but information about the kinds of test items used are available at: http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/2215
These are sufficient for the limited purposes of these tests.

We want all students to be able to read, write, communicate, use mathematics, computers and the internet at everyday adult standards. Doing practice tests does not develop these skills.

Some students may be unfamiliar with taking tests. They can practice taking tests in many different ways. There are many examples of tests on the internet. Many students, for example, will take a learner drivers' permit test.





Can Year 10 Studies Count for the TCE?

Students may take senior secondary courses at any time.

All TQA accredited courses, TQA recognised courses (see www.tqa.tas.gov.au/1686), VET competencies and certificates at TQA level 1 and above with the required minimum level of quality assurance can count.

Some students enrolled in year 10 are also enrolled in programs of accredited senior secondary studies. They can count their results in these senior secondary courses.

Schools providing senior secondary programs in TQA accredited courses must register annually with the TQA and must follow the required quality assurance procedures.




How are new VET units/qualifications added to those that 'count' for the TCE?

New VET qualifications and units of competence will continue to be added to those that generate credit points toward the TCE. Providers offering nationally recognised VET qualifications and units of competence that are not in the TCE Planner Tools should notify the TQA as soon as possible via: http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/2673 .




Who will update the TCE planning Tools?


We update the information on our web-site, including the TCE planning tools .

We include information about new TQA accredited and TQA recognised courses.

Anyone who wants us to include information about new, changed or newly introduced VET certificates and units of competence should contact us. We will then add information about these to our data-base and update the tables and tools on our web-site.

The TCE Planning Tools (located at http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/1910) are the principal location on our web-site for information about all courses contributing to the TCE.





Can school-based courses 'count' towards the TCE and be listed on students' Qualifications Certificates?


School and college-developed courses that have not been accredited or recognised by the Authority will not appear on students' Qualifications Certificates nor will they contribute toward meeting the requirements of the TCE.




What are credit points? How does a student get credit points towards meeting the participation and achievement requirement?

Each type of learning has a 'credit-point' value. A credit-point value shows the amount of learning at a set standard that can count towards meeting the requirement of the TCE. To meet the participation and achievement standard for the TCE, a student will need to have 120 credit points in education and training (TQA level 1, 2, 3 or 4), with at least 80 credit points in studies rated at complexity level 2 or higher.

Successful completion of a course gains credit points equal to the size value of the course. Credit points are only allocated if a student achieves at least the required standard in a course (currently a 'PA', 'Satisfactory Completion' or 'Pass' award for a TCE course, 'competent' for a VET competency, and 'awarded' for a VET certificate). For details on the credits points received in a course, please see the TCE Planner: http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/planner/planner.shtml




How will teachers know if a student already has credit points (from a recognised course) when taking them through the pathway planning process?


At the end of each year, we will give each student a statement of results. This will show what results have been recorded with us (including results in recognised courses). It will show what the student still needs to do to meet the requirements of the TCE.

If our records do not show a student's results in recognised courses, the student should ask the provider of the recognised course to make sure that we know about these results. When we recognise courses we ask their providers to agree to give us results.

Year 10 students are registered with the TQA for the first time when their schools lodge pathway plans at the end of the year. This is also a good time to advise the students to make sure that they ask the provider of any recognised courses they have completed to make certain we know about any results they already have.

For details regarding the TQA's Course Councelling Kit, see the TQA website page: www.tqa.tas.gov.au/2540




How does a student meet the pathway planning standard?

For students in schools and colleges, there are two steps. First, a pathway plan must be lodged with the TQA when they finish year 10. Secondly, their school/college will confirm to us before these students complete their studies that there has been some review of their plans. We will collect this confirmation through our normal data collection procedures.

Some students will enter senior secondary studies in Tasmania from interstate, overseas or having completed year 10 some years ago. For these students, the school or college should register the student with the TQA, providing basic information about the student and noting that there has been some discussion with the student about planning for future learning and career. Contact our office for information about the administrative details of this registration process.

The TQA will make special arrangements for people completing their senior secondary education and training outside the school system. Contact our office for further information.

As well, the TQA will provide advice on how the Pathway Planning requirement can be addressed by students entering year 11 and 12 (or its equivalent) at some point after year 10.



Of the three certificates (TCE, QC and TCEA), does a student only get the 'highest'?

The three certificates are different. They have different functions.

The TCE is a qualification. It shows that a student has met a set of requirements. To get this qualification a student must meet these requirements.

The Qualifications Certificate is not itself a qualification. It is a certificate that records the qualifications a student has. To get this certificate a student must have one or more qualifications that are recorded in our database.

The Tasmanian Certificate of Educational Achievement is a certificate that describes a student's achievements using narrative text. It is designed for the small number of situations where the standardised nature of the other two certificates will not give an adequately just and fair account of the student's achievement.

A student may therefore get one, two or three of these certificates. All students who get the TCE will also get the Qualifications Certificate - the TCE shows that they have met a set of requirements. The Qualifications Certificate shows all of their qualifications, including the TCE.




Does a student get a Qualifications Certificate each year?

We will provide a printed statement to each student at the end of each year showing the learning achieved that year that has been recorded with us.

Each year, students finishing their senior secondary studies will receive a Qualifications Certificate in December of that year. This will show all qualifications (awards in TQA accredited courses, results in TQA recognised courses, VET certificates and competencies) that a student has, whenever these have been gained.



Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania | Contact Us | Top | Home

This website has been produced and authorised by the office of the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority. The content on this page is current at Nov 1,2014, 4:34 AM (Tasmania time). Refresh or reload the page for the latest content. Questions and comments concerning the content of this website can be directed to web.services@tqa.tas.gov.au or use our Comments Form.
The URL for this page is http://www.tqa.tas.gov.au/1278 This page was last modified on 12/08/2013 and has been visited 43199 times this year.
You are directed to the personal information protection policy, disclaimer and copyright notices governing the information provided.

Tasmania Online