02/05/2019 - 14:59

New pathway for high school students

02/05/2019 - 14:59

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Western Australian students will have a third study option, apart from ATAR or VET, in their final years of schooling with the introduction of a new pathway next year.

Sue Ellery says the third pathway gives students more options. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Western Australian students will have a third study option, apart from ATAR or VET, in their final years of schooling with the introduction of a new pathway next year.  

To obtain a Western Australian Certificate of Education, students may choose an ATAR pathway or a VET pathway, but year 11 students in 2020 will have the option of studying five General subjects to enter employment, vocational education or university.

The ATAR pathway requires students to complete a minimum of five courses of which four must be ATAR and allows students to obtain a rank to enter university while the VET pathway entails completing four General courses (non ATAR) with a Certificate II or higher and leads to employment or vocational education.

The new option allows students to complete five General courses allowing them to pursue employment, vocational education and training or choose a university pathway.

General courses are in 50 subjects, offered across all learning areas and include subjects like English, mathematics essential, accounting and finance, biology, human biology, chemistry and physics and are similar to ATAR courses.

Students enrolled in general courses take a standard exam at the end of year 12 like those studying ATAR.

Education and Training minister Sue Ellery said the third pathway gave students more options.

“For some students, five year 12 General courses, or a combination of General and ATAR courses will be a more appropriate preparation for their post-school pathway,” Ms Ellery said.

“In the past you chose ATAR courses if you wanted to go to university and VET courses if you wanted to link into training and this middle ground gives students an option for both.

“I want to see every student take the most challenging courses that they are capable of completing to maximise their future study and career options.”

The move was supported by The Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Paul Everingham who said will create new study opportunities and keep students engaged.

“Having this third pathway that can lead them towards further study at either university or into training, not one or the other, creates opportunities,” Mr Everingham said.

“And at a time when the mining and oil and gas sectors need practical and theoretical skills, it’s good to know that education and career prospects for the workforce of tomorrow are expanding.”

The changes were made as a result of a consultation between the School Curriculum and Standards Authority and school leaders, training providers, industry, parents and students in October 2018.

To achieve a WACE, students still need to reach literacy and numeracy standards, fulfil the breadth and depth requirement meaning students complete 20 units and select both list A and B courses and achieve a minimum number of C grades.

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