External Assessment and Certification

Document Sample
External Assessment and Certification Powered By Docstoc
					Certification and Examinations Report, 2007

Trim: 2008/18516

Contents Acknowledgements List of tables List of figures
Overview of the external assessment and certification functions Sections 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Data collection Registering students Data trends and statistics Setting the examination Access for candidates with disabilities Conduct of the examinations Marking the examination scripts Special considerations for candidates Evaluation of the examination papers Statistical process to achieve comparability General achievement test Certification of student achievement Acknowledging excellence Public relations
4 6 9 15 17 21 26 29 31 36 39 40 43 46

ii iii v 1

A B C D E F G H I J K L M Committee membership in 2007 Consolidation costs in 2007 Comments on the examination papers Year 12 state statistics in 2007 Statistical report on the examinations – enrolments Statistical report on the examinations – performance Statistical report on the WACE Student numbers – WSA subjects: 2000–2007 Practical components in examinations Marks management in the 2007 Engineering Studies examination Scaling procedure for Arabic and Hebrew Relativities of scaled marks in Mathematics subjects Structured Examination Designs – the use of linkage to place noncommon assessments on a common scale
51 53 54 57 60 69 81 82 85 90 94 96 98

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


This report has been compiled by the following people who were involved in the external assessment and certification of Western Australian students during 2007

Jenny Morup, Manager, Certification and Examinations Lauren Miles, Administration Assistant Marlene Hall, Administration Assistant Rachel Schollum, A/Administrative Assistant Examinations Team Alan Honeyman, Senior Consultant, Measurement and Research Barrie Chick, Coordinator Examinations (Written) Beryl Bettell, Coordinator Examinations (Practical) Carolyn Hackett, Coordinator Examinations (Special Provisions) Con Coroneos, Senior Consultant, Humanities Cristina Caruso, Exams Support Officer (Supervisors) John Van Wyke, A/Measurement and Research Consultant Kelly Hourston, Assessment Officer (Exams) Kerrie Ward, Administration Assistant Kerry Tarrant, Exams Development Officer (Papers) Lyn Sadleir, Coordinator Examinations (Marking) Selina Mosbergen, Exams Support Officer (Marking) Data Management Team Andrea Schwenke, Administration Assistant (RSLA) Chris Lee, Data Administrator Jenny Offer, Certifications Officer Kathy Pilkington, Senior Consultant, Certification and Examinations Lynn Galbraith, Project Officer (RSLA) – from 22 September 2007 Marie Parker, Data Coordinator Ron Grimley, Project Officer (RSLA) – until 21 September 2007 Veronica Wimmer, Clerk/Typist


Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Report Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10 Table 11 Table 12 Table 13 Table 14 Table 15 Table 16 Table Table Table Table 17 18 19 20 School registrations, 2007 Participation of students born in 1991 (16 year old in 2007) at school and in non-school programs, 2007 Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander enrolments, 2003–2007 Change in the number of students enrolling for the examinations, 2001–2007 Examination enrolments, as at October, 2003–2007 (one examination or more) Examination enrolments, as at October, 2005–2007 (four or more examinations) Change in the number of students who sat the TEE/WACE examinations, 2003–2007 Year 12 enrolments in at least one unit of competency,2003–2007 Units of competency studied by Year 12 students, 2003–2007 Distribution of special examination arrangements applications, 2006–2007 Special examination arrangements by disability category, 2007 Marking of practical examinations, 2007 Sickness/misadventure applications by sector and gender, 2007 Outcome of sickness/misadventure applications, 2004–2007 Sickness/misadventure applications by location, 2004–2007 Distribution of evaluation comments on examination papers, 2007 School/subject cohorts, 2000–2006 Achievement of a WACE, 2001–2007 Special consideration for a WACE, 2007 Number of exhibition and award winners, 2007
6 8 10 10 10 11 12 13 14 18 19 26 29 30 30 34 37 40 41 45 49

Appendices Table Table Table Table Table Table A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 2007 TEE/WACE examinations costs consolidation Examination statistics Wholly school-assessed subjects VET studies WACE course units Number of candidates sitting the TEE/WACE examination in each subject/course, 2004–2007 Candidates in each TEE/WACE examination, shown as percentage of total candidature, 2003–2007 Total number of percentage of full-time and part-time Enrolments in TEE subjects/WACE courses 1983–2007 Age of enrolled students in 2007 TEE subjects/WACE Examination courses by enrolment type and gender

53 58 58 58 59 60 61 62 63

Table A7 Table A8 Table A9

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Table A10 Table A11 Table A12 Table A13 Table A14 Table A15 Table A16 Table A17

Table A18 Table A19 Table A20 Table A21 Table A22 Table A23 Table A24 Table A25 Table A26 Table A27 Table A28 Table Table Table Table A29 A30 A31 A32

Private candidature and absent private candidates in TEE subjects/WACE examination courses, 2006–2007 Number and percentage of background candidates in TEE subjects, 2003–2007 Number and percentage of candidates sitting for a specific Number of TEE subjects/WACE examination courses 2004–2007 Enrolments, absentees and non-examination candidates In each TEE subject/WACE examination course, 2007 Number of anomalous performers identified in each TEE subject/WACE examination course, 2006–2007 Subject/course absentee and anomalous performer rate in relation to date of examination, 2007 Summary statistics on examinations papers, 2007 (2006 statistics in parentheses) Mean and standard deviation of moderated school assessments, Raw examination marks and correlation coefficients for the TEE subjects/WACE examination courses, by gender, 2007 Mean and standard deviation of combined marks and scaled marks TEE subjects/WACE examination courses, by gender, 2007 Relationship between raw examination marks and standardised Examination marks for TEE subjects/WACE examination courses 2007 Relationship between combined marks and scaled marks for TEE subjects/WACE examination courses, 2007 Subject loading for each TEE subject/WACE examination Course, 2006–2007 Ranges of scaled marks corresponding to decile places in TEE subjects/WACE examination courses, 2007 ‗Typical‘ school students achieving a WACE, 2006– 2007 Number and percentage of students who sat the Curriculum Council English language competence test, 2007 Student numbers – wholly school-assessed subjects, 2004–2007 Concurrent validities for examinations, 2005–2006 Summary of differences in combined marks resulting from inclusion versus exclusion of practical component in external examination mark Differences when external examination excludes versus includes practical component Data structure – Engineering Studies, 2007 Calculation of scaled scores for Hebrew, 2007 Calculation of scaled scores for Arabic, 2007 Relativities of scaled marks in mathematics subjects: summary data

64 65 65


66 68 70 71




79 80 81 81

82 86 87

88 92 94 95 96

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Report Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Figure 10 Figure 11 Figure 12 Total registrations, 2006–2007 Student registrations by sector, 2006–2007 Student registrations by gender, 2006–2007 Status of Notice of Arrangements received, 2007 Number of Year 10 students who enrolled in subject/course units, 2001–2007 Number of students enrolled for a specific number of examinations, 2003–2007 Special examination arrangements applications as a percentage of enrolments, 2006–2007 Special examination arrangements applications by location, 2006–2007 Number of applications per school/college by sector, 2007 Participation in the English language competence test, 2007 Marks adjustment process Post-results counselling, 2007–2008
6 7 7 8 9 11 18 18 19 22 36 47

Appendices Figure A1 Figure A2 Figure A3 Figure A4 Figure A5 Figure A6 Figure A7 Figure A8 Concurrent validity, 2000–2006 Data analysis for Engineering Studies, 2007 Raw score to ability conversion Engineering Studies 2007, summary of mean scores Hebrew 2007 Arabic 2007 Music: structure of written examination Music: structure of practical examination
86 90 93 93 95 95 100 101

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Overview of the certification and examinations functions
Outcome 6: Outcome 7: Assessments of student achievement for the senior secondary certificate are valid and credible. Accurate information on student achievement is provided to inform the community and to facilitate post-school choice. Curriculum Council Annual Report

Major legislative and education policy changes have occurred over recent years. The raising of the school leaving age, the introduction of new course examinations and the move to compulsory examinations were predominant focuses for certification and examination activities in 2007, and these will continue in 2008. In 2007, the Curriculum Council certified the achievement of approximately 45,000 students studying for the Western Australian senior secondary certificate. There were nearly 14,000 candidates who were enrolled to sit at least one TEE/WACE examination. There were thirty-eight different examinations, of which four were for new WACE courses, four were interstate language examinations, and the remainder were for tertiary entrance subjects. Significant achievements for 2007 included:         Introduction of WACE examinations for English, Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis. Introduction of two new language subjects, Arabic and Hebrew, and the development and successful application of appropriate manual scaling procedures in collaboration with TISC. Introduction of a practical component to the Aviation examination via computer simulation. Introduction of innovative scaling techniques to successfully equate examination performances in the six different combinations of stage and context in the Engineering Studies examination. Continued development and refinement of the collection of data relating to student registration and student demographics, enrolment and results on the Student Information Record System (SIRS). Development and maintenance of student records for Year 8-10 students in light of the raising of the school leaving-age legislation. In 2007, 141,000 students were registered with the Curriculum Council. Maintenance of data relating to the participation of nearly 30,000 Year 11 age students in all programs. Monitoring of significant data trends o number of Year 10 students enrolled in senior school programs increased markedly in 2007 o graduate decrease in the number of government school students sitting the examinations o number of students who completed at least one unit of competence decreased in 2007. Continued monitoring of Aboriginal student enrolments with regular meetings held with system/sector personnel. Provision of special examination arrangements for 276 candidates with disabilities and consideration of 342 applications for sickness/misadventure during the examinations. Consideration of 173 applications for students who were at risk of not achieving the WACE due to the implementation of the new course units.

  

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

   

Coordination and analysis of the General Achievement Test for 14,659 students who were studying new WACE course units. Finalising of the WACE requirements and the awards and exhibition policy for implementation in 2008 and beyond. Recording of 3,337 (2006: 2,344) VET qualifications on 2,401 (2006: 1,782) Year 12 students‘ statements of results. Of these, 55 (2006: 77) qualifications were achieved through a traineeship. Granting 997 exhibitions and awards to 713 students.

Specific actions were undertaken during 2007, as recommended in the 2006 Certification and External Assessment Report:          A series of workshops were held with schools to work through the SIRS procedures. The policy and guidelines for special provisions for examination students were refined and communicated to schools. Features of the SIRS-External Assessment data base were developed to enable more functions relating to the conduct of the examinations to be carried out using this data base. Country examination supervisors were encouraged to attend the training workshop for chief supervisors. A new form for the reporting of alleged breach of examination rules was introduced. All optical marks reader (OMR) marks collection sheets were successfully replaced by the new teleform technology. On-line marking was used for the marking of the Media Production and Analysis scripts. Scaling methodologies were researched and the most appropriate method used to produce scaled scores for Hebrew and Arabic. Aspects of the exhibition and awards policy and guidelines were reviewed to incorporate achievement in course units.

In meeting these achievements the Curriculum Council was supported by the following panels and committees.       Examining panels – one for each Western Australian TER subject/course (34 panels) Special Examination Arrangements Committee and Appeals to Special Examination Arrangements Committee Sickness/Misadventure Committee and Appeals to Sickness/Misadventure Committee Examination Breaches Committee and Appeals to Examination Breaches Committee Awards Working Party and Awards and Exhibitions Committee Special Provisions Committee

In addition to this, over 1,400 casual staff were employed to:         provide quality assurance for the examination papers provide directed analysis and research of psychometric issues assist with the various enrolment, results and examination dispatches supervise the examinations mark the practical components of examinations sort the examination scripts mark the scripts from written papers identify exhibition winners.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

Positive feedback, both written and verbal, has been received by many staff members regarding their efficient and friendly service. Schools, parents, examination candidates and the general public have commented on the clear, concise and accurate advice they have received from the Secretariat regarding examinations and certification. Priorities for 2008 In reflecting on the 2007 examination and certification process together with the move towards compulsory examinations, the Certification and Examinations branch will undertake the following during 2008:                 Develop 71 sample and final examination papers, compared with 34 in 2007. Streamline the development of sample papers and associated materials, and the final examination papers. Facilitate regular SIRS training sessions for school personnel to accommodate the variety of software at schools and the transience of school staff. Extend the monitoring of people involved in school and non-school programs to include those with 1992 birth dates (17 year olds). Introduce strategies to encourage schools to submit data by the required dates, as outlined in the WACE activities schedule. Extend the on-line marks collection process and on-line marking to more subjects/courses. Explore alternative formats for examining the practical components of courses. Engage an independent person to review the development of the Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis examination papers. Engage an independent person to review the on-line marking of the Media Production and Analysis scripts. Review the process for approving special examination arrangements for candidates with specific learning difficulties. Explore the feasibility of developing an on-line application and response process for special examination arrangements. Explore the feasibility of using barcode reader technology for the sorting of examination scripts. Explore ways to improve understanding of marks adjustment processes in schools and the general community. Certification of Year 12 students to accommodate the new WACE requirements and new English language competence requirement. Refine the SIRS printouts to allow schools to monitor whether Year 12 students have met WACE requirements. Review the policy for the granting of exhibitions and awards in order to acknowledge outstanding achievement of VET, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students with ESL/ESD background.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 1: Data collection
The process for collecting student registrations, enrolments and results was comprehensive, thereby enabling accurate information on student achievement to be reported.

In 2007, the Student Information Record System (SIRS) became the Curriculum Council‘s main database for the collection, storage and reporting of student data. This database was designed and built by independent companies in consultation with the Curriculum Council. Work on this database commenced in 2004.

Data collection process
During 2007, the Curriculum Council modified the student information record system (SIRS) to enable the collection of data relating to the WACE course units as well as subjects and VET data, including endorsed programs. Schools uploaded their student registrations and demographics, course units, subject, and VET enrolments, as well as course, subject and VET achievements into SIRS. Following feedback from 2006 training workshops in SIRS, it was decided to run a series of ‗hands-on‘ sessions for school administrators. Five workshops were conducted at the Curriculum Council and nine workshops in country locations – Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Narrogin. Forty-seven metropolitan schools and fifty-two country schools attended the seminars. The workshops were interactive and two-and-a-half hours in length. Metropolitan participants used simulated school data to complete activities in SIRS that enabled them to use the system, as various aspects of the software were demonstrated. Participants in the country workshops used their own school data, which was highly beneficial in identifying issues that needed to be addressed and certainly made the workshops relevant. In addition, all schools received a CD: ‗Student Information Record System a how–to guide‘. Feedback from participants indicated that these training workshops was useful and had assisted their understanding of SIRS. Schools requested that the workshops be held again in 2008 to enable new staff to access the training. The cost of these training workshops (covering fax stream use, hire of laptops, catering, travel, CD‘s and postage) was $6,294. Over the year, through visits to schools, telephone conversations and emails, various issues were raised. Meetings were held with school representatives in an effort to identify problems, discuss possible solutions and identify strategies for improvement, both for schools and for the Curriculum Council. The Curriculum Council help desk was expanded to assist schools that were having problems with the upload of their data onto SIRS. A number of new reports were added into the system, enabling schools and Curriculum Council staff to access information easily. Despite this additional training, additional help desk support and the refinement of process, data collection issues persisted. These issues included: 1. Accuracy of the student number Duplicate student numbers (students who have been issued with more than one student number) has caused problems in 2007 again by preventing students from meeting WACE requirements as their results are unable to be accumulated. Students
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 4

need to be made aware of the importance of knowing their student number and advising schools when they transfer/move to another provider. Schools need to be informed again of the consequences of students having more than one number. In addition to duplicate numbers, there were a small number of instances when one student was issued with the same number as another student (who had left school in previous years). 2. Missing/incorrect demographic data The past problems of missing demographic data seem to have been largely overcome in 2007. However, there were several instances of incorrect demographic information uploaded by schools. The system will give an error if a suburb is incorrectly spelt or does not exist, but some students, particularly from overseas, have been uploaded with an address that does not exist. This caused problems for the delivery of their Statement of Results and Certificates. Schools need to be reminded to ensure that all this data is correct and any changes to demographic data are also uploaded with the registration file on a regular basis. 3. Failure to meet data collection deadlines A number of schools continue to have trouble meeting the due date for their data. Schools will be reminded to plan to meet the due dates through the WACE activities calendar and at the SIRS training workshops. Follow-up telephone calls, emails and faxes are used to inform schools they have missing data. This is time consuming and can be stressful for schools and Council staff. 4. Failure to provide the VET qualifications achieved by students The upload of VET qualifications from schools is still an issue. Many schools fail to do this and the students then miss out on getting this information recorded on their Statement of Results. This information also impacts on the school performance tables which give statistics on VET qualifications. Schools have indicated that it is sometimes difficult to get the RTO or training provider to give them the information in time to meet Curriculum Council deadlines. 5. Impact on school resources Modifications have been made to SIRS and to SIS and MAZE to streamline the number of data uploads. Hopefully this will reduce the time needed to do these uploads. Continuing and future improvements Regular SIRS training sessions for school personnel to accommodate the variety of software at schools and the transience of school staff will be facilitated. Strategies to encourage schools to submit data by the required dates, as outlined in the WACE activities schedule, will be introduced. In particular, work will continue with system/sectors and schools to ensure all VET data is submitted in time for certification of Year 12 results. The WACE Procedures Manual has been developed and has been distributed to schools at the beginning of the 2008 school year. In future this manual will be updated and distributed at the beginning of each year.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 2: Registering students
In accordance with the Acts Amendment (Higher School Leaving Age and Related Provisions) Act 2005, the Curriculum Council registered all students from Year 8 to Year 12.

During 2007, 141,054 students, from Year 8 to Year 12 were registered with the Curriculum Council. Of these, there were approximately 52,000 students enrolled in at least one Curriculum Council subject, WACE course unit or VET unit of competency. Enrolments were received from all registered Western Australian senior high schools, senior colleges, some remote community schools, some district high schools, some Education Support Centres, the School of Isolated and Distance Education, four Malaysian schools, one Singaporean school, one Indonesian school, one Vietnamese school and two Chinese schools. In accordance with the legislation, the Curriculum Council established a record of Year 8 students and continued to maintain a register of all students attending secondary education. Students were registered from Western Australian senior high schools; government and non-government, senior colleges, some remote community schools, some district high schools, some Education Support Centres, the School of Isolated and Distance Education, eight overseas schools and those children who were home schooled. Table 1 summarises those registrations.
Table 1: School registrations, 2007 Government Non-Government Other Total Year 8 17,086 12,026 130 29,242 Year 9 17,629 11,643 119 29,391 Year 10 18,080 11,660 111 29,851 Year 11 17,280 10,255 217 27,752 Year 12 15,171 9,195 452 24,818 Total 85,246 54,779 1,029 141,054

Figure 1 below shows that 2,308 more students were registered in 2007 compared to 2006, an increase of 1.6%. There was a 3% increase in the number of students registered from non-government schools.
160,000 140,000

Number of students

120,000 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Government Non-Government Other Total Total 2006 Total 2007

Figure 1: Total registrations, 2006–2007

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Figure 2 compares registrations by sector for all year levels from 2006 and 2007. This figure illustrates that the registrations have remained relatively constant for the two years. The only noticeable difference is in Year 12 where there was an 8% increase from government schools and a 6% increase from non-government.
Govt sc hools 2006 20000 18000 16000 Govt sc hools 2007 Non-govt sc hools 2006 Non-govt 2007 Other 2006 Other 2007

Number of students

14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Figure 2: Student registrations by sector, 2006–2007

A further point of interest is shown in the ratio of male to female students in each year group for 2006 and 2007. In 2007, the number of males decreased in Year 11 by 354 (2.45%) but increased in Year 12 by 825 (6.91%). Similarly, for 2007, there was a decrease in female Year 11 students of 360 (2.56%) and an increase in female Year 12 students in 2007 of 834 (6.46%). The only year group showing more female students than male students attending school, was the 2007 Year 12 cohort.

18,000 16,000 14,000 12,000 10,000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0

Male 2006 Male 2007 Female 2006 Female 2007

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11

Year 12

Figure 3: Student registrations by gender, 2006–2007

In 2007, students were required to either remain at school or participate in other approved programs, including apprenticeships/traineeships, TAFE/RTO courses or employment until the end of the year they turned 16 years of age. For 2007, this involved students with a birth date between 01/01/1991 and 31/12/1991. Data collected regarding the participation of students in programs during 2007 are shown in the following table. When comparing these statistics with the 2006 data, the level of participation in the various programs is similar. It is worth noting that only 2.5% (747) of the children were not participating in a program in 2007 compared to 3.4% (997) in 2006.
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 7

Table 2: Participation of students born in 1991 (16 years old in 2007) in school and in non-school programs, 2007
School TAFE/RTO Apprenticeship / traineeship Employment No program

Total 24,666 903

Full year participation 2 School 24,666 TAFE/RTO 556 Apprenticeship /Traineeship 494 Employment 476 Sub-total 26,192 3 Part year or no participation School 21 TAFE/RTO 8 Apprenticeship /Traineeship 1 Employment 2 (4) No program 1,195 Sub-total 1,227 Total 27,419
1 2


347 16 74 437 495 32 527

225 225

1,005 807 27,381 21 28

20 5 1 0 26 463 11 0 0 11 538

56 0 56 281

747 747 747

17 59 1,942 2,067 29,448



Includes students who have participated in a program or programs for more than 9 months Includes 14,713 students at government schools, 9,893 students at non-government schools and 60 students in home education programs Students whose record shows left provider/left secondary education or not re-registered at all in 2007 are included in these categories. Includes 3 deceased students, 2 students who have left Western Australia and 1190 who have left school with no other provider recorded.

Young people undertaking alternative programs to full-time school are required to apply for a Notice of Arrangement through the Participation Directorate at the Department of Education and Training. Once the Notice of Arrangement has been approved by the Participation Directorate, the Curriculum Council is notified and details placed on the student‘s record. The following chart shows the number of students who applied for a Notice of Arrangement in 2007 (4,040), and how many were approved, cancelled, rejected or currently pending (information current at December 2007).

Figure 4: Status of Notice of Arrangements received, 2007

Continuing and future improvements The age for participation in approved programs will increase to 17 years in 2008. This is in accordance with the Acts Amendment (Higher School Leaving Age and Related Provisions) Act 2005. This means that monitoring in 2008 will need to cover both 1991 and 1992 birth dates. A close association will be maintained with the system/sectors and TAFE colleges throughout 2008 to further streamline the monitoring of students.
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 8

Section 3: Data trends and statistics
Trend data and statistics are provided in the public interest and to assist the Curriculum Council, system/sectors and schools in their planning.

During the year, over eighty requests were made from a wide range of sources for data on a variety of areas including performance of schools, subject enrolments and trends in student achievement. For the first time ever, schools were able to produce reports, via the internet (SIRS), that related to their students‘ current registration, enrolments, examination arrangements and results. Considerable work was undertaken to ensure that these reports were designed in a format that was accessible and useful to schools. Previously, schools received some of this information in large computer printouts. This information was accurate only at the time of printing, whereas now schools are able to generate accurate reports when required.

Enrolment trends
There has been an upward trend in the number of students completing the Western Australian Certificate of Education. In 2007, there were 216 Year 12 students who achieved a WACE over three consecutive years (from their studies in Year 11 and Year 12). Year 10 student enrolments Figure 5 below shows the number of Year 10 students who enrolled in Year 11 (D code) Curriculum Council subjects from 2001 to 2006 and in Year 11 (D code) subjects and at least two WACE course units in 2007. There were 28 Year 10 students who were enrolled in E code subjects in 2007. Of these, 13 students were enrolled in at least one TEE subject as an examination candidate.

1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Number of students


Figure 5: Number of Year 10 students who enrolled in subject/course units, 2001–2007

Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander student enrolments Table 3 below indicates the number of Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who enrolled with the Curriculum Council in 2007. The number of enrolments continued to increase each year until 2006, when there was a decrease. This may be a reflection of the change in the method of collecting data relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. In 2007, the number of enrolments increased. This may be attributed to the communication with schools explaining the importance of data provided to the Curriculum Council.
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 9

Table 3: Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander enrolments, 2003–2007 Ethnicity Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Total 2003 321 22 5 348 Number of students 2004 2005 2006 351 382 337 25 30 10 13 389 10 422 7 354 2007 384 5 8 397

External examinations enrolments Over recent years the enrolment numbers (as at June) to sit the examinations have fluctuated, with a change from a progressive 1-2% increase to a 2-5% decrease in 2005 and 2006 and then a 33.5% increase in 2007. The 2007 increase is unusual and could be explained by the enrolment process.
Table 4: Change in the number of students enrolling for the examinations, 2003– 2007 June enrolments Total Year 12 enrolments Number of students enrolled to sit at least one TEE subject/WACE course examination Percentage change from previous year (at the same time) 2001 20,322 13,768 2002 21,022 14,061 2003 21,441 14,353 2004 21,588 14,585 2005 21,832 14,269 2006 21,096 13,533 2007 21,875 18,068








The number of students who enrolled (October) to sit for one or more TEE subject/WACE course examinations increased (by 9.4%) from 12,663 in 2006 to 13,855 in 2007. Of the 13,855 students – 6,436 (2006: 5,881) were male and 7,419 (2006: 6,782) were female; 61 (2006: 65) were Aboriginals/Torres Strait Islanders, 6,485 (2006: 5,988) attended a government school and 6,938 (2006: 6,616) attended a non-government school, 11,517 (2006: 10,254) attended schools in the metropolitan area, 1,906 (2006: 1,895) attended country schools and 419 (2006: 492) students studied overseas. Table 5 provides details of the students who enrolled to sit at least one TEE subject/WACE course examination in the years 2003 to 2007.
Table 5: Examination enrolments, as at October, 2003–2007 (one examination or more) Enrolments Gender Male Female System/Sector Government Non-government Overseas Private candidates Location Metropolitan Country Overseas Private candidates 2003 6,439 7,498 7,654 5,932 293 58 11,476 2,110 293 58 2004 6,353 7,393 7,282 6,046 339 79 11,378 1,950 339 79 2005 6,322 7,085 6,725 6,261 391 30 11,012 1,974 391 30 2006 5,881 6,782 5,988 6,161 492 22 10,254 1,895 492 22 2007 6,436 7,419 6,485 6,938 419 13 11,517 1,906 419 13

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

Table 6 provides details of the students who enrolled to sit at least four TEE subject/WACE course examinations in the years 2005 to 2007.
Table 6: Examination enrolments, as at October, 2005–2007 (four or more examinations)* Enrolments 2005 Gender Male 5,167 Female 5,895 System/Sector Government 5,127 Non-government 5,534 Overseas 391 Private candidates 10 Location Metropolitan 9,028 Country 1,633 Overseas 391 Private candidates 10 *Data were analysed in this way from 2005. 2006 4,694 6,782 4,581 5,397 492 8 8,407 1,571 492 8 2007 5,183 6,015 4,824 5,952 419 3 9,313 1,463 419 3

The figures in tables 5 and 6 show:  a small percentage change in the number of male and female students enrolled to sit the examination.  more females sat the examinations than males.  a decrease in the percentage of students attending government schools and an increase in the percentage of non-government students enrolled to sit the examinations.  a decrease in the number of students enrolling to sit the examinations from overseas schools in 2007. Prior to this, the number of these students had been increasing.  80% of the students who enrolled in an examination enrolled to sit four of more. As indicated in figure 6, the most popular number of TEE subject/WACE course examinations enrolled in over the last five years was five subjects/courses.

Number of students

7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007









Num ber of TEE subject/WACE course exam inations

Figure 6: Number of students enrolled for a specific number of examinations, 2003–2007

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Of the 38 examinations, English had the highest number of enrolments with 10,489 (2006: 8,457, 2005: 9,026, 2004: 9,146, 2003: 9,258, 2002: 9,171 and 2001: 8,533). Discrete Mathematics had the next highest with 7,739 (2006: 7,425, 2005: 7,546, 2004: 7,702, 2003: 8,714, 2002: 8,607 and 2001: 8,002). Hebrew had the lowest number of enrolments with four students. Previously, the lowest enrolments had occurred in Japanese: Advanced and Modern Greek. In 2006, five students had enrolled in Japanese: Advanced and eleven students had enrolled in Modern Greek. In 2007, WACE course examinations were held for the first time in English, Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis. The number of students enrolled to sit each of the course examinations was 10,489, 168 and 1,055 respectively. Applications were also received from 13 people who enrolled to sit subject/s and WACE courses in the external examinations as private candidates. That is, they had no school assessment included in their combined mark. External examination attendance In 2007, the number of students who sat at least one TEE subject/WACE course examination (11,765) increased when compared with 2006 and 2005 (2006: 10,953, 2005: 11,610). Although a corresponding increase may be expected in the number who sat for each examination, this increase was not distributed equally across subjects. Increases were recorded in 15 of the 38 examinations with conspicuous increases (more than 15%) being recorded in the following examinations: Chinese: Second Language (29.6%), English (24.0%); Geology (31.0%) and Modern Greek (83.3%). There was a decrease in the percentage of students sitting for 18 of the 38 examinations. There were large decreases in the proportion of candidates who sat the examinations in Ancient History (29.5%), Chinese: Advanced (22.6%), Indonesian: Advanced (28.3%) and Malay: Advanced (34.9%). The number who sat the Indonesian: Advanced TEE has decreased for eight successive years. Table 7 shows the change in the number of candidates who sat the TEE/WACE course examinations from 2003 to 2007.
Table 7: Change in the number of students who sat the TEE/WACE examinations, 2003–2007 2003 Candidates who sat at least 1 TEE subject Percentage change from previous year Candidates who sat at least 4 TEE subjects Percentage change from previous year Candidates for TEE/WACE examinations 12,426 1.3 10,998 1.3 56,490 2004 11,652 -6.2 10,273 -6.6 51,537 2005 11,610 -0.4 10,437 1.6 51,897 2006 10,953 -5.7 9,989 -4.3 49,273 2007 11,765 7.4 10,757 7.7 52,625

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


These figures show that:  There has been a gradual decrease in the number of candidates who sat for at least 1 TEE subject/WACE course examination each year between 2003 and 2006. This pattern changed when between 2006 and 2007 the number of candidates who sat for at least 1 TEE subject increased (by 812) to 11,765. There have been fluctuations in the number of students who sat at least 4 TEE subject/WACE course examinations between 2003 and 2007. The fluctuations appear to have been cyclic, with an overall decrease of 2.2% of candidates sitting 4 or more examinations for these years. Of the 13,855 candidates who were enrolled to sit 1 or more TEE subject/WACE course examinations, only 11,765 of these actually sat these examinations. This represents a 15.1% absentee rate compared to 13.5% for 2006, 13% for 2005, 15% for 2004 and 11% for 2003. Of the 11,198 candidates who were enrolled to sit 4 or more TEE subject/WACE course examinations, 10,757 of these actually sat these examinations. This represents a 4 percent absentee rate, which is the approximately the same as the figures for 2006 (5%), and 2005, 2004 and 2003 (6%). Of the 57,353 candidate/subject enrolments there were only 52,625 candidates/subjects present. This represents an absentee rate of 8.2% compared to 8.2% for 2006, 8.4% for 2005, 9.1% for 2004 and 7.4% for 2003.





Enrolments: Vocational Education and Training (VET)
An     enrolment in a unit of competency can lead to one of the following: competency achieved; competency not achieved; withdrawn; or continuing enrolment.

Enrolments in units of competency are represented in tables 8 and 9. In addition, in 2007, there were 139 students (226 in 2006; 84 in 2005; 152 in 2004; 110 in 2003) given recognition of prior learning (RPL) in 812 competencies (1242 in 2006; 238 in 2005; 589 in 2004; 317 in 2003). Students given RPL are not included in the statistics in the following tables.
Table 8: Year 12 enrolments in at least one 2003 Number of students who enrolled in at least one unit of 5,255 competency Number and percentage* of 4,986 students who studied at least (94.9%) one unit of competency Number and percentage* of 1,313 students who withdrew (25.0%) Number and percentage* of 4,507 students who achieved at least (85.8%) one unit of competency unit of competency, 2003–2007 2004 2005 2006 2007 5,889 5,527 (93.8%) 1,052 (17.9%) 5,106 (86.7%) 6,329 6,147 (97.1%) 897 (14.2%) 5,689 (89.9%) 6,411 6,158 (96.1%) 443 (6.9%) 5,742 (89.6%) 6,192 6,071 (98.1%) 648 (10.5%) 5,662 (91.4%)

*Percentage is calculated of the number of students who enrolled in at least one unit of competency.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Table 9: Units of competency studied by Year 12 students, 2003–2007 2003 2004 2005 2006 Number of units of competency in 53,310 61,643 59,713 61,822 which students were enrolled Number and percentage of units of 46,426 50,082 56,235 59,976 competency in which students (87.1%) (81.2%) (94.2%) (97.0%) studied Number and percentage of units of 6,884 4,648 3,478 1,846 competency in which students (12.9%) (7.5%) (5.8%) (3.0%) withdrew Number and percentage of units of 38,334 39,668 46,975 57,574 competency in which students (71.9%) (64.4%) (78.7%) (93.1%) achieved competency

2007 68,479 65,202 (95.2%) 3,277 (4.8%) 56,706 (82.8%)

*Percentage is calculated of the number of units of competency in which students were enrolled.

7% of the students who studied four or more TEE subject/WACE course examination also completed at least one VET unit of competency. This compares to 6%, 7% and 8% of students who studied at least four TEE subject/WACE course examinations and completed competencies in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively. School performance data The Year 12 performance data was released at a media conference on Tuesday 8 January 2008. The heads of the school sectors and systems made comments on the data and answered media questions. This approach provided a balanced perspective to the community. The data released was in the same format as for 2006. The tables included the first 50 schools in TEE/WACE course examinations, WSA, VET and WACE. Additional data provided information on a school-by-school basis. Although the media still constructed ‗league tables‘ from these data, the release of the data at a media conference resulted in a balanced coverage by a broader range of media outlets. The data were also published on the Curriculum Council‘s website. The tables were accompanied by comments cautioning the reader about the interpretations to be made from the information. Statistics The following statistics can be found in Appendices to this report. Year 12 state statistics Appendix D, Sections 1–5 Enrolments in examinations Appendix E, Tables A6–A15 Performance in examinations Appendix F, Tables A16–A22 Achievement of WACE Appendix G, Tables A23–A24 Continuing and future improvements During 2008, continue to develop programs in SIRS, to provide schools with various reports relating to their students‘ achievement.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 4: Setting the examinations
High-quality examination papers were produced as a prerequisite for valid and credible assessment of student achievement.

In 2007, tertiary entrance examinations were held in 34 subjects, and WACE examinations in four courses. The WACE courses included Aviation and three new courses: English, Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis. In addition to a written paper, some examinations had a practical component (oral interview, visual diary or performance). Thirty tertiary entrance examination papers and the four WACE examination papers were written in Western Australia by panels appointed by the Curriculum Council. Each panel consisted of minimum of three examiners nominated by the universities and the schools sector. The remaining four papers were imported from other states— Hebrew and Arabic from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Modern Greek from the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia and Japanese: Advanced from the New South Wales Board of Studies. In addition, a two-hour test of English language competence was set. This test was made available to students who had completed their final year of senior secondary schooling without obtaining a grade of C (or average of level 4) or better in an English language area. It provides students with a safety net for meeting the English language competence standard required for secondary graduation. Quality control Tertiary entrance and WACE examination papers prepared by the Curriculum Council‘s examiners were checked by an independent reviewer and by the following Curriculum Council staff and contracted employees:  a curriculum officer  an assessment specialist  an examinations development officer  the manager of the certification and examinations branch  a proof reader  a final checker (nominated by the appropriate ARM panel). The production of several examination papers did not meet the planned timeline. Recruiting examiners, independent reviewers and final checkers who met the eligibility criteria proved more difficult than in previous years. This resulted in some checking processes being completed under extreme pressure. As a consequence, there was a need to issue four errata notice to examination centres. One was the deletion of the third ‗Instruction to candidates‘ on the English paper. One was the inversion of the rhythm notation symbol on one question on the Music paper. A third was the modification of one question in the Media Production and Analysis paper, and the final erratum a change to one word in the Art History paper. A CD-ROM containing the stimulus material for the Media Production and Analysis examination was sent to candidates during week 7 of term 3. Production of examination materials To accommodate a number of candidates with specific requirements, sixty-one examination special papers were produced according to the following specifications:

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Number 4 12 2 5 4 10 9 9 1 2 1 2

Format change Printed on pink paper Printed on green paper Printed on blue paper Printed on sand paper Printed in size 18 font, Verdana on A3 paper Reformatted according to subject-specific directions, printed on A4 paper, single-sided, bound Enlarged to A3, printed on one side only Enlarged to A3 Braille Music sight-reading enlarged Prepared with additional space to write answers Modified Geography broadsheet.

Officers from the Vision Education Service of the Department of Education and Training produced the Braille paper and the special Geography broadsheets. As in previous years, some examination questions needed to be modified for certain candidates because their format (e.g. graphing) may have prevented a candidate from demonstrating his or her achievement. This also changed arrangements for the marking process, as additional instructions and marking guides were required for the marking of these modified papers. The total number of modified papers required in 2007 was significantly fewer than in 2006, with 61 being required (80 and 102 were required in 2006 and 2005 respectively). All the TEE sound recordings were made at a professional recording studio, which also took responsibility for the multiple copying of compact disks. The use of digital recording and editing, and the use of compact disks in examination centres, continues to be well received. The significant increase in the cost of producing the Western Australian examination papers for 2007 compared with 2006 was due to the introduction of the three new WACE courses and the increase in payment rates for examinations. The cost for 2007 was $365,418, compared with $256,825 for 2006. A breakdown of costs is given in Appendix B. Continuing and future improvements The process of producing examination papers and the sample examination papers for new courses (together with their associated material) continues to be refined and streamlined, and will include more coordinated involvement from the Curriculum Officers. From 2009, examinations for the new WACE courses will be specifically developed to recognise the great variation in the abilities of students and their post-school destinations. These course examinations will not be exclusive to tertiary-driven candidates. Rather, these examinations will recognise that a standard of education has been achieved. There will be two separate WACE examinations tailored for students at two different stages of study and development. Follow-up action An independent review of the production of the Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis examinations will be undertaken.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 5: Access for candidates with disabilities
Candidates who cannot adequately demonstrate the full extent of their academic achievement under standard examination conditions are allowed to take external examinations under special conditions. By providing these special conditions, more accurate information on student achievement is obtained.

Examination candidates with long-term physical or learning disabilities, or special medical needs, which would prevent them from being assessed accurately if they were examined under standard conditions, may apply for special examination arrangements. Over the past three years the Australasian Curriculum Assessment Certification Authorities (ACACA) agencies have been working together to establish a consistent set of guidelines for considering candidates with special needs. These guidelines include the evidence used to assess the applications for special arrangements and the nature of the arrangements made for each category of disability. Two Curriculum Council representatives have been part of this consultative process. Candidates applying for special provisions completed a form that included relevant details about the impact of the student‘s disability on timed assessments. The use of standardised essays was continued for all students seeking additional working time in the examinations. These essays were analysed by an expert English marker prior to the applications being presented for assessment. The information received through the essays was most useful in assessing the applications. Initially, the applications were categorised according to disability, then a panel of disability experts made a recommendation to the Special Examination Arrangements Committee. The Special Examination Arrangements Committee generally endorsed those applications that were recommended for approval. Those applications that were not recommended for approval by the panel were discussed by the committee prior to a final decision being reached. In 2007, a two-stage appeals process was established. Schools with additional evidence to submit to support an application were able to apply for the decision to be reviewed by the Special Examination Arrangements Committee in light of the additional evidence. Those applicants without additional evidence to support an application were able to lodge an appeal against the decisions of the Special Examination Arrangements Committee. An independent appeals group was established to consider the appeals. The procedures adopted continued to contribute to the consistency and fairness of the decision-making process. Access The number of applications for special examination arrangements decreased slightly in 2007, as did the proportion of applications to candidates. A total of 327 applications (370 in 2006) were received for 2007. This represents 2.36 % (2.9 % in 2006) of the number of candidates who were enrolled to sit at least one TEE/WACE examination. Table 10 shows the changes in application figures between 2006 and 2007. There has been little change in the proportion of candidates attending schools within the different systems/sectors. The number of applications for special provisions coming from the independent schools remains disproportionate. Applications from
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 17

independent schools still represent almost half of all applications, yet this sector has only 27% of TEE/WACE candidates.
Table 10: Distribution of special examination arrangements applications, 2006–2007
School System Applications % 2006 Enrolments % Applications 2007 % Enrolments %

Government Catholic Independent Overseas Private Total

103 82 183 0 2 370

27.8 22.2 49.5 0.0 0.5 100

5,988 2,821 3,340 492 22 12,663

47.3 22.3 26.4 3.9 0.1 100

88 85 154 0 0 327

26.9 26.0 47.1 0.0 0.0 100

6,415 3,214 3,716 409 13 13,767

46.6 23.3 27.0 3.0 0.1 100

Figure 7 below illustrates the difference in application rate between the systems/sectors, shown as a percentage of their TEE/WACE candidate enrolment.
6 5 % of enrolments 4 3 2 1 0 Government Catholic Independent Total 2006 2007

Figure 7: Special examination arrangements applications as a percentage of enrolments, 2006–2007

Figure 8 below shows the percentage of candidates from each category of location who applied for special examination arrangements. The proportion of metropolitan students who made application (3.27%) was more than double that of country students (1.5%). No overseas or private candidates made application in 2007.

3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0

% of Enrolments

2006 2007

O ve rs ea s


et ro po lita n

Co un try


Location of school/college

Figure 8: Special examination arrangements applications by location, 2006–2007

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

Pr iva

To ta l


The number of applications received from each school/college is shown in figure 9. Applications were received from 86 schools. Most schools submit one or two applications. There were 20 schools that submitted 5 or more applications and 8 schools that submitted 10 or more applications. There are three schools that over the past three years have submitted 19 or more applications in each year.

Number of schools/colleges


Government Catholic Independent



0 1 2 3 4 5 6 to 9 10 or more Num ber of applications per school/college

Figure 9: Number of applications per school/college by sector, 2007

Thirteen eligible schools have been identified as not having submitted any applications during the six years 2002–2007. These schools comprise nine metropolitan schools (7% out of 124) and four country schools (9% out of 45). During 2007, these schools will be encouraged to make use of the special examination arrangements provisions, should they have eligible students. Twenty seven applications (8.2%) were not supported (17 in 2006 – 4.6%). While this represents a higher proportion of applications not approved than last year, it is consistent with the historical rate (11.2% in 2003, 8.5 % in 2002, 7.9% in 2001). Unsuccessful applications included those where the request was outside the special provisions policy or where there was insufficient evidence of diagnosis or the impact of the disability on the student‘s performance in external assessment. There were 23 appeals, of which 18 were upheld due to the provision of further evidence. Statistics for each category of disability are displayed in table 11.
Table 11: Special examination arrangements by disability category, 2007
Category ADD/ADHD Hearing Illness Fine Motor Physical Psychological SLD* Vision Total Government
Male Female Total

Male Female Total

Approved 27 10 54 22 14 28 107 14 276

3 1 6 6 3 9 10 3 41

1 2 14 6 3 10 5 6 47

4 3 20 12 6 19 15 9 88

19 4 15 7 5 6 67 3 126

8 3 26 8 5 11 49 3 113

27 7 41 15 10 17 116 6 239

Not approved 0 0 3 3 0 2 19 0 27


Total 31 10 61 27 16 36 131 15 327

4 0 4 2 2 6 5 1 24

* SLD means specific learning disability

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


The 276 successful applications for special examination arrangements covered a total of 1,189 examinations, an average of 4.3 examinations per candidate. Communicating the access to special examination arrangements In 2007, the committee again emphasised the importance of evidence of the impact of the disability on the student‘s performance in timed assessments. It achieved this by:  conducting a series of seminars for school-based personnel involved with casemanagement of students with disabilities. The seminars were held at the invitation of the Catholic Education and AISWA systems/sectors, a regional office of the Department of Education and Training and the Independent School Counsellors Association. All sessions were well attended. The Department of Education and Training undertook to provide its own education sessions for relevant personnel.  responding to the specific needs of candidates with severe disabilities whose requirements and circumstances are unique in an examination situation; and  conducting consultations with school personnel, health professionals, parents and Year 12 students regarding the application requirements and procedures. Resourcing the arrangements A total of 71 examination centres catered for the candidates who had approval for special examination arrangements at a cost of $24,161 for the supervision. The arrangements granted included allowing the use of a scribe for candidates unable to write or type and a clarifier for a hearing-disabled candidate. To provide for students from all areas of the Perth metropolitan area, four centres were again used as regional centres catering for students with special examination needs. As in previous years, Tuart College, Canning College, Guildford Grammar School and Kolbe College provided locations for students with a diverse range of special examination conditions to sit examinations. Continuing and future improvements A number of issues were identified in 2007 to improve the special examination arrangements process. Schools have reported that they are informed of decisions too late in the year. It has also been reported that, in some instances, decisions do not seem to be cognisant of school factors or that decisions may not be consistent. Early in 2008, a high-level review will be undertaken to revise the process used to grant special provisions in examinations. The aim of this review is to improve the efficiency of approving applications and further enhance the consistency of decisions. Continued involvement with the ACACA special provisions group will continue to enhance national consistency. Schools with poorly supported applications in 2007 will be contacted with the view to improving the quality of their applications in 2008. The feasibility of developing an on-line application and response process for special examination arrangements will be explored.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 6: Conduct of the examinations
For students who do not require special examination conditions, valid and credible assessment of student achievement requires that they all take the examinations under standardised conditions of time, resources and rules of conduct.

In 2007, the Curriculum Council conducted 34 tertiary entrance examinations and four WACE course examinations. Each subject or course had a two-and-half-hour or threehour written examination. Additionally, candidates in languages subjects had an oral interview while Aviation, Music and Drama Studies each had a performance examination. Art candidates submitted a visual diary. In order to ensure standardised examination conditions, integrity and fairness, the Curriculum Council employs supervisors to administer the examinations according to Council guidelines. Examination supervision included the language orals, Aviation, Music and Drama Studies performance examinations, supervision of candidates who have special examination arrangements as well as supervision of the written examinations. Most of the examination organisation was carried out using the software database program SIRS–External Assessment which was introduced in 2006.

Practical examinations
Practical examinations were conducted in eleven subjects and one course for approximately 2,307 candidates. Also, 832 Art visual diaries were submitted for marking. During the October school holidays, 846 Drama Studies candidates were examined in the performance component of the course at two metropolitan and six country venues, ranging from Port Hedland in the north to Albany in the south. Candidates from other country areas travelled to Perth for the practical examination, and examinations were also conducted in Singapore for three candidates at St Francis Methodist School. In 2007, for the first time, practical examinations in Aviation were conducted using a flight simulator. The examinations were held at Kent Street Senior High School, during the October school holidays, with 44 candidates being examined via computer simulation. Art candidates had until the first week of Term 4 to complete their visual diaries before they were submitted for marking, a process that took just over two weeks. Seven students from Indonesia submitted Art visual diaries for assessment, an increase of four from 2006. Indonesian: Second Language and Chinese: Second Language were the first oral interview examinations, held on 20 October. Other language subject (French, German, Japanese: Second Language and Italian) oral examinations were conducted during the last week of October at The University of Western Australia. Oral examinations were also held in Albany (French), Bunbury (French and Japanese: Second Language) and Kuala Lumpur (German). Telephone interviews were conducted for non-metropolitan candidates in French (2), Indonesian: Second Language (3), Italian (2) and Japanese: Second Language (2). Candidates in Modern Greek (6), Arabic (14) and Hebrew (4) were all examined by telephone as these examinations are set by interstate agencies.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


All country schools with language subject candidates where examination centres were not established were offered the opportunity for their students to be examined by video conference rather than telephone interview. Only one school took up the offer, with one candidate in Japanese: Second Language residing in Kununurra being examined in this manner. The feedback was extremely positive and it is hoped to extend this method of oral examination to more country candidates in 2008. In addition to TEE subjects, the Curriculum Council conducts examinations in Year 12 language subjects based on the Collaborative Curriculum and Assessment Framework for Languages (CCAFL). In 2007, three candidates were examined in Polish, using the examination set by SSABSA, and their oral interviews were conducted by telephone. The Music performance examinations commenced on Saturday 27 October and were conducted at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Hale School and The University of Western Australia for metropolitan area candidates. Some country students were examined in Geraldton, Bunbury and Albany, whilst others travelled to Perth for their examinations. More than 360 students were examined on twenty-eight different instruments, with ten candidates choosing to do two half-electives and seven submitting projects as their electives option. The use of three metropolitan venues for the Music performance examinations required careful planning and management. Overall the process ran much more smoothly than in 2006, apart from a concern raised about the use of a digital piano for accompaniment at one of the centres. English language competence test The English Language Competence Test is designed to give students who do not achieve a C grade in a Year 12 English subject (English, English Literature or English as a Second Language) the opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to fulfil the language competence component of the Western Australian Certificate of Education. Scripts are marked either pass or fail using performance criteria and annotated student samples that represent the minimum level of English language competence necessary to interact effectively in the broader community. Any script that receives a fail mark from one marker is re-marked. The chief marker re-checks scripts that are failed by both markers to confirm the rating. The Curriculum Council English language competence test was held on Wednesday 31 October 2007. There were 101 schools (106 in 2006) that administered the test to 358 students. 75% of these students (268) passed this test. There were four more participants in 2007 than in 2006.

Students participating

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008


Figure 10: Participation in the English language competence test, 2007
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 22

In 2007, optical scanning forms (teleforms) were used for the recording of pass/fail by markers. These forms eliminated many of the student number errors that had been reported in previous years as they were pre-printed with student identification numbers.

Written examinations
The written examinations were held over a fifteen-day period between Thursday 1 November and Wednesday 21 November. At least two subjects were conducted on each day except the last day of the examination period when only one examination was held. Three language examinations, Japanese: Advanced (NSW), Hebrew (Victoria) and Arabic (Victoria) were held prior to the written examinations set by the Curriculum Council to conform to the relevant examination schedule in the state in which they were set. Modern Greek was held during the Curriculum Council examination period at 12 noon which was outside the normal examination commencement times of 9:20am and 2:00pm. The written TEE/WACE examinations timetable was published in July. There were approximately 57,400 candidate/examination enrolments for the 38 examinations. There were a large number of combinations of subjects/courses for the 13,927 candidates but the examination timetable ensured that every student could sit each of the examinations for which they were enrolled. Supervision There were 589 people employed as supervisors (129 chief supervisors and 460 supervisors) at 134 examination centres throughout the state. As in past years candidates from eight overseas schools located in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and China sat for examinations in the more than 24 subjects being offered by these institutions. Eight individual students sat a total of 21 examinations outside of Western Australia. Three students sat their examinations interstate. Five students sat their examinations overseas in the following locations–USA, China, Iraq, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. All metropolitan and some country chief supervisors attended a three-hour meeting on 23 October at which examination protocol, conduct and specific duties of the chief supervisor were discussed. A focus of the meeting was the introduction of new WACE courses, the proposed growth in the number of examinations and new multiple choice sheets. Similar supervisor training sessions were held in China and Vietnam. All costs associated with the overseas training were paid for by the respective schools. All supervisors of examinations were required to complete a Working-with-Children Check. This nationally accredited check is compulsory for all people who carry out child-related work in Western Australia. The cost of these checks ($65) was met by the Curriculum Council. Examination visits During the written examinations, Curriculum Council staff made 111 examination centre visits to 60 examination centres (59 visits to 37 centres in 2006). All metropolitan centres and one country centre with a new chief supervisor received a visit on the first day of the examinations and special consideration was given this year
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 23

to visiting centres that had not received a visit in the last two years. Few problems were identified by visiting staff. Overall they reported that examination accommodation was satisfactory, supervisors were well organized and proactive within the examination room, and centres were very well organised. An officer from the Curriculum Council attended all examination centres at which an examination with a sound component was being conducted. Members of the examining panel for each of these subjects were also invited to attend. This practice, that has become a regular feature of the examination timetable, was implemented to provide greater feedback to examiners on the sound component of the examination and to the Curriculum Council on conditions within a venue. There was a complaint from one school regarding the quality of the recording of the French examination at St Mary‘s Anglican Girls‘ School. There were no complaints about the recording quality from the other four schools or their students who also sat their French examination at St Mary‘s College. Candidate identification Personalised examination timetables were produced in the same format as in the previous two years. The document is a compact A5 statement showing the candidate‘s Curriculum Council identification number, name, date of birth and the examination timetable. The back of the timetable contains important information relating to the conduct of the examinations. In 2007, schools were able to reprint whole school or individual student personalised examination timetables through SIRS. When this occurred, the students would typically be given the reprint on A4 paper including a second sheet with the information that was printed on the back of the original A5 timetable. All chief supervisors were made aware that the A4 sheets were legitimate personalised examination timetables. Breaches of examination rules During the 2007 TEE/WACE examinations, 15 candidates were reported by the examination centre supervisor as having breached the examination rules. All were found to have breached the examination rules. Thirteen of the candidates had a mobile telephone in their possession and one candidate had an iPod in their possession during an examinations. One candidate was found to have breached the examination rules due to his behaviour in the examination room. In reaching its decision, the committee, chaired by the Chief Executive Officer, considered whether the evidence indicated the candidates had breached the examination rules. The committee agreed that each case the candidates had breached the examination rules and therefore should lose 5% of their examination marks. The candidate who was found to have breached the examination rules due to his behaviour appealed the decision and his appeal was upheld. Following a recommendation in 2006, a new breach of examination rules form was developed and introduced. All chief supervisors were made aware of this new form in correspondence sent to chief examiners and at the chief examiner‘s meeting. This form proved to be successfully as the reporting of the alleged breach was more comprehensive. Resourcing the examinations The cost of ensuring efficient and effective conduct of the examinations for all candidates in 2007 was $444,667. This is a 38% increase on the figure for 2006 ($321,026). Refer to Appendix B for a breakdown of costs. This increase in overall cost was due to introduction of four WACE examinations and two further interstate
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 24

language examinations and the increase in payment rate for supervisors. This also includes the Working-with-Children check ($65 per applicant) that is now required. There has been an increased average cost per candidate from $34.38 in 2006 to $48.42 in 2007. Continuing and future improvements During 2008, further refinements and applications to the SIRS-External Assessment database for examination conduct processes will be undertaken. A process for training new supervisors (metropolitan) will also be explored. Video-conferencing is encouraged for all country candidates in language examinations.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 7: Marking the examination scripts
Valid assessment of student achievement requires that reliability be high, which in turn requires markers to apply uniform standards.

Over 670 teachers and university lecturers were engaged in the marking of the examinations written scripts in 2007. The chief markers, nominated by the examining panel, directed the marking process for each subject. Marking began on 2 October 2007 with Drama Studies performance examinations and concluded on 7 December 2007 with the completion of reconciliation for all written examinations and final checks by chief markers.

Practical examinations
Details of marking of practical examinations in 2007 are set out in table 12. Thirteen TEE subjects have a practical component and 166 teachers and university lecturers under the direction of eleven chief markers were employed to ensure that candidates‘ performances, interviews or visual diaries were marked fairly and accurately according to the prescribed standards. Applications for markers‘ positions were called for through the Curriculum Council Circular and past markers were notified by mail. For some language subjects, the number of applicants was the bare minimum required to conduct the examination. In some subjects, additional markers had to be found to replace applicants who were not able to mark for the whole examination period or who withdrew after accepting a position. One marker flew to Singapore to examine candidates in Drama Studies and another to Kuala Lumpur for the German oral interviews at KBU International College. Oral interviews for Modern Greek, Arabic and Hebrew were conducted by telephone and assessed by markers appointed by SSABSA and VCAA which set these examinations.
Table 12: Marking of practical examinations, 2007 Subject Art Music Drama Studies Aviation Chinese: 2nd L French German Indonesian: 2 Italian Japanese: 2 Arabic Hebrew Modern Greek Total
nd nd



Supervisors N/A

Exam days N/A

Applied Appointed Total***


832 1 1 2 363 846 44 31 378 83 103 239 191 14 4 11 3,211

29 46 34 5 4 27 10 18 14 12

18 33 23 4 2 22 8 10 14 11 N/A N/A N/A

20 36 25 5 4 25 10 13 15 13

3 2 1 1 1 1 L 2 1 L 1 1 1 1 16

3 6 2 1 12

9 13 1 1 4 2 2 2 3 37

8 16 2 1 5 3 2 3 3 1 1 1 46




* M=Metro, C=Country, O= Overseas ** Figure indicates number who attended examination. *** Total includes examining panel members who marked and chief marker (‗Applied‘ does not include panel members or chief marker)

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Written examinations
Public confidence in the tertiary entrance and WACE examinations is of utmost importance and, to ensure this, the chief marker, subject curriculum officers and officers from the certification and examinations branch closely monitored the marking process of each examination. In each subject or course, the marking panel consisting of the chief marker and selected markers held a pre-marking meeting. A common understanding of the marking guidelines was established through a discussion of the examination questions and sample marking. This process was overseen by Curriculum Council subject or course curriculum officers. The chief marker monitored the reconciliation of marks, aided by the provision of bundle statistics that showed the marking performance of individual markers and each marking pair in each examination. 2007 saw the introduction of on-line marking of scripts for 933 candidates who sat the Media Production and Analysis examination. An external agency provided the technical support necessary for this operation and despite some problems with the technology, the marking of the scripts was completed successfully. The on-line marking process took 31 days compared to the average of 21 days for equivalent sized subjects or courses and cost $73,762, or $79.06 per candidate. Officers of the Certification and Examinations and the Information Services branches carried out the processing of marks, employing a series of comprehensive checking processes. Following the input of all marks to the database, these officers undertook a series of internal integrity checks to ensure the accuracy and completeness of this data. To further ensure the accuracy of marks, chief markers were required to re-check examination scripts where the raw score varied greatly from the school mark. The scripts of possible subject/course exhibition winners were also re-marked to validate this award. The marking of the 2007 examinations involved the marking of 52,551 written scripts (49,273 in 2006, 51,821 in 2005) by 672 markers. As in previous years, some chief markers were faced with the problem of finding the necessary number of qualified markers due to late withdrawals and the difficulty of finding suitable replacements at short notice. In every case, a suitable replacement was found. The payment for marking in 2007 was significantly increased to ensure markers received a sum commensurate with teacher-relief rate. Curriculum Council policy requires that, with the exception of subjects with less than five markers, marking teams for written examinations should include at least 5% new markers. Aviation and Art History had the largest percentage of new markers (67% each). Three new courses were examined in 2007: English, Engineering Studies and Media Production and Analysis. Eight markers were employed to mark Engineering Studies and sixteen to mark Media Production and Analysis. Overall 138 (21%) written markers were new in 2007, compared with 12% in 2006. In 2007, examination marks in all subjects and courses with the exception of Information Systems and Media Production and Analysis were collected using teleform technology. Markers wrote marks on an explicitly designed form that was read by an optical scanner. The process was faster and lead to a more accurate recording of student results. There were some issues due to the large volume of scanning to be completed in a very short time-frame; however, the process was completed successfully.
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 27

Checking of marks After receiving their statement of results, candidates have the opportunity to have their scripts checked to ensure that the marking guide has been correctly applied. The chief marker conducts this check and also confirms each question attempted has been awarded a mark and that this mark had been recorded correctly. A total of 342 candidates requested a results check in 632 examinations. This represents 1.2% of the 52,551 examinations undertaken. Eight errors were detected. By comparison with previous years, 2006 had 431 checks (0.9%) and 2 errors while 2005 had 229 checks (0.8%) and 3 errors. The increase in requests for results checks reflects the uncertainty created by media coverage of issues associated with the examination of the new courses. To date (4 February, 2008), 129 candidates have submitted applications seeking a breakdown of their examination scores in 343 examinations (117 candidates in 288 examinations in 2006). Applications for statements of raw examination marks close on 14 March 2008. Requests for scripts Candidates who sat the examinations in 2007 were given the opportunity to purchase copies of their examination scripts. Scripts are made available to candidates when all the processes connected with the TEE had been completed. 304 scripts were requested by 99 candidates, which raised revenue of $3,157 ($3,071 in 2006 from 102 candidates). The cost of marking the examinations The total cost of marking the 2007 examinations was $1,580,561 (written) and $139,590 (practical), an increase of 61% on 2006. This large increase was due to the introduction of new examinations, an increase in the number of scripts marked, a substantial increase in payment rates awarded to markers and the introduction of online marking for Media Production and Analysis. The cost per candidate for the marking of an examination in 2007 ranged from $26.43 for Economics to $117.80 for Aviation. See Appendix B for a break-down of the marking costs for examinations. Continuing and future improvements An independent person will be engaged to undertake a review of the on-line marking of the Media Production and Analysis scripts. It is planned that on-line marking trialled with Media Production and Analysis in 2007 will be extended to other subjects in 2008. For the 2008 marking process, all marks collection will be by teleform technology. While most subjects or courses will continue to record their marks on a paper form, it is planned that for some subjects or courses marks will be collected onto an electronic teleform. On-line marks collection would have the advantage of increased security and accuracy and save processing time.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 8: Special considerations for candidates
One of the strengths of our hybrid internal/external assessment system is that it is possible to make accurate assessments of students’ academic achievements if they are absent or handicapped by sickness or misadventure immediately prior to, or on the day of, the tertiary entrance and WACE examinations.

Sickness/misadventure procedure Every year, it is usual for some students to take the TEE/WACE examinations under adverse circumstances that cannot be anticipated and for which they are not responsible. In these cases, it is reasonable to expect that they may be disadvantaged and that their examination marks may not give an accurate indication of their level of achievement. The Curriculum Council has procedures for ensuring that such students are not disadvantaged. Candidates who suffered from a temporary sickness, non-permanent disability or event close to or during the TEE/WACE examinations that they believed may have resulted in performance below expectations or non-attendance in particular examinations were given the opportunity to apply for assessment consideration. Candidates were responsible for the lodging of sickness/misadventure application forms within one week of the last TEE/WACE examination. Private candidates could not make application for sickness/misadventure. A committee comprising representatives of the secondary and tertiary sectors and a medical practitioner met to consider the applications. If an application was approved, the Curriculum Council calculated an examination mark using the applicant‘s school assessment as a basis. Normally, the derived mark is an estimate of the raw examination mark obtained from the school assessment by regression. If this estimated mark was higher than their actual mark, it replaced the actual mark for the purpose of subsequent stages in the adjustment of marks. Letters informing applicants of the outcome of their application were sent at the same time as their statement of results. If an applicant considered there was a breach in the process followed by the committee, they could lodge an appeal in writing. Applications received Tables 13, 14 and 15 provide statistics on sickness/misadventure applications received over the past four years.
Table 13: Sickness/misadventure applications by sector and gender, 2007 School type Government Non-government Overseas** Total

Female 105 112 4 221 47.5% 50.7% 1.8% 47 73 1 121

Male 38.9% 60.3% 0.9% 152 185 5 342

Total 44.4% 54.1% 1.5%

Enrolments* 6,415 (46.6%) 6,930 (50.4%) 409 (3.0%) 13,754

Number of school candidates enrolled to sit TEE/WACE (as of 4/12/07) – excludes totally private candidates. ** Overseas schools Note: The proportion of female applicants has decreased slightly in 2007. Ratio of females to males is 1.8:1 (2.2 in 2006, 1.54 in 2005, 2.1 in 2004, 1.97 in 2003, 2.1 in 2002, 1.8 in 2001).

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


In 2007, the number of applications received was 342, which represents a slight decrease (6%) on the number of applications received in 2006. Fluctuations from year to year seem to be the result of unpredictable and random events.
Table 14: Outcome of sickness/misadventure applications, 2004–2007
2004 All subjects accepted No subjects accepted Some subjects accepted Total 369 29 23 421 87.6% 6.9% 5.5% 413 39 17 469 2005 88.1% 8.5% 3.6% 317 35 14 366 2006 86.6% 9.6% 3.8% 292 31 19 342 2007 85.4% 9.0% 5.6%

Table 15: Sickness/misadventure applications by location, 2004–2007
2004 Metropolitan Area Country Overseas Total 310 105 6 421 73.6% 25.0% 1.4% 403 63 3 469 2005 85.9% 13.4% 0.6% 284 79 3 366 2006 77.6% 21.6% 0.8% 253 84 5 342 2007 74.0% 24.5% 1.5%

Outcomes for 2007 Of the 826 applications (relating to individual examination performances rather than candidates) approved for written papers, 371 (43.6%) were from candidates who did worse in the TEE/WACE examinations than expected from their school results. These candidates were therefore assisted by the procedure. There were eight group claims considered by the committee. The committee approved a claim from the two students at St Francis Methodist School, who were not able to undertake the aviation practical due to complications getting a marker to the overseas examination venue. One claim for the Drama Studies written examination was approved based on the school (Mandurah Catholic College) teaching the incorrect text. Another group claim was approved for all candidates at the Goldfields Arts Centre when an evacuation disrupted the Political and Legal Studies examination. Four schools (Shenton College, St Stephen‘s School – Duncraig, St Stephen‘s School – Carramar and Carine Senior High School) had applications approved for the French examination, based on problems encountered with the sound component. The approved procedure for adjusting the scaled mark was carried out for all relevant candidates and the school was advised in writing of the outcome. Appeals There were three appeals lodged in 2007. These were considered by a specially convened appeals panel. Two appeals on medical grounds were accepted. One appeal related to misadventure was dismissed, with the committee‘s original decision upheld.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 9: Evaluation of the examination papers
Valid and credible assessment requires publicly acceptable examination papers with good psychometric properties when used by candidates who have just completed the appropriate subjects in Year 12 in Western Australia.

The 2007 examination papers have been evaluated statistically and by an analysis of public comments on them.

Summary statistics on examination papers
The following comments on specific subjects/courses and their examinations are based on statistics presented in Appendix F (table A16, page 68-69). Full use of the marking scale Examiners are expected to make full use of the marking scale. A restricted range of marks increases the risk of mis-ranking candidates. In nine subjects/courses (14 in 2006) the marks spanned 90 or more percentage points and in a further fifteen subjects/courses (6 in 2006) the range was 80–89. Subjects/courses with a range of 70 to 80 were: Chinese: Advanced, Drama Studies, Media Production and Analysis, Music, and Physical science. No subjects/courses with a candidature greater than 100 had a range of less than 70 percentage points. Subjects/courses with candidatures of less than 100 can be expected to have a restricted range of ability relative to the range of possible examination scores and therefore a restricted range of examination marks. This was true of Aviation, Chinese: Second Language, Geology, Indonesian: Advanced, and Malay: Advanced, which all had a range of less than 70 percentage points. Most notably, the range for Chinese: 2nd Language was lowest at 41. Level of difficulty TEE/WACE examiners were asked to set examinations that would result in mean raw marks in the range 55–60 percent, with 58 being the ideal because it is the mean score of the scaled mark scale employed by the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre. Nineteen examining panels (15 in 2006, 13 in 2005, 12 in 2004) achieved the desired level of difficulty. Three subjects (4 in 2006) had comparatively easy papers with mean raw marks above 65 — English as a Second Language (69.37), Geology (67.02) and German (65.51). English Literature (64.81) and Music (63.78) also had a high mean marks. Examiners of these subjects will be asked to make their papers more difficult for 2008. Aviation (44.54), Discrete Mathematics (48.57), Information Systems (49.38) and Media Productions and Analysis (46.77) and Engineering Studies (43.18)1 had comparatively difficult papers, and examiners of these subjects/courses will be asked to make their papers a little easier for 2007. Reliability Overall, the reliabilities of all the examinations in 2007 were high, considering that they were untrialled tests. They ranged from 0.63 to 0.98 (0.46 to 0.96 in 2006). Fifteen subjects had a higher reliability in 2007 than in 2006, while twelve had lower

The Engineering Studies examination comprised six separate examinations which have been averaged to produce this score. Refer to Section XXX and Appendix YYY for more detail. Certification and Examinations Report 2007 31

reliabilities. The largest increase in reliability (from 0.46 in 2006, to 0.79 in 2007) occurred in Drama Studies. This increase was significant because the number of candidates (862 in 2007, 909 in 2006) exceeds the smaller number of candidates usually associated with volatility in this statistic. The largest decrease in reliability in 2007 occurred in Physical Science, for which the reliability of 0.63 was 0.32 below the 2006 value (which appears to have unusually high) and close to the 2005 value of 0.58. Evidence for concurrent validity The Pearson correlation coefficients between external examination marks and school marks, after adjustment to a common scale, provide evidence of concurrent validity for the examinations. They represent the extent to which the two measures (the external assessment and the internal assessment) measure the same construct. If the external examination measures something markedly different from what teachers measure with their assessments, the correlation will be substantially lower than 1.00. It can be seen in table A16 in Appendix F that the correlations between school-based marks and the external examination are generally high, averaging 0.85 (0.85 in 2006) and 2006 ranging from 0.67 to 0.94 (0.69 to 0.93 in 2006). An overall judgement that the external examinations assessed the same achievements as the school-based assessments seems reasonable. Appendix J contains a study of the effects on concurrent validity which might arise from the inclusion/exclusion of a practical component in an external examination of a subject/course for which a practical component of the examination might be indicated by the syllabus.

Summary of new examinations
Aviation This year was the second year in which this course was externally examined. As for 2006, the 2007 Aviation examination produced reliable and valid assessments, and summary statistics which generally fell within the range of other subjects. Interestingly, the course loading for 2007 was -7.98, the same as for 2006 (see table A21 in Appendix F). This indicates that the average ability of the cohort of Aviation students has remained stable over the first two years of its introduction, even with the almost 50% increase of the cohort size to 44 candidates (from 29 in 2006). In contrast to the mean examination score of 36.24 in 2006, the 2007 mean examination score was significantly higher at 44.54, though it was still lower than all other examination mean scores. This increase was due in part to the introduction of a practical assessment via a computer simulation. Marks on this part of the test, contributing 28.6% of the total, were well above the marks in the written part of the test. In view of the similar ability of the cohort of students, the continuing, relatively low examination scores on the written section of the test were perhaps not surprising. English This year was the first year in which this course was externally examined. As shown in Table 1 on page 69 of Appendix F, the summary statistics of this course are almost the same as the subject ‗English‘ statistics in 2006 and previous years.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


One significantly different statistic was the size of the candidature, which increased by 17%, from 7,874 in 2006 to 9,109 in 2007. This increase of 1,235 students could be been attributable to:  natural population growth  the inclusion of some students who in previous years had studied the non-TEE subjects of Vocational English and Senior English, now no longer offered, but catering for a population of more than 5,000 students in 2006.  the inclusion of students from the marginally reduced English Literature cohort (approximately 140 students fewer than in 2006). While it might have been expected that the average ability of the enlarged 2007 cohort of ―English‖ students would have been lower than in previous years, in fact the opposite was the case. After the usual scaling procedures, the resulting data was almost identical to previous years (see table A21 in Appendix F). A potential inference from these observations is that somewhere in the region of 1000 students in 2007, who in previous years would not have studied English as a TEE subject, have performed at a level which is equal to the average of previous TEE English cohorts. This suggests that one of the targets for the introduction of the new WACE courses is being met – the extension of the possibility of tertiary entrance to a wider range of students. Media Production and Analysis This year was the first year in which this course was externally examined. With a mean examination score of 46.77, it was evident that a majority of students found it more difficult to attain examination marks in this course than in most other subjects/courses. Nevertheless, with a range of 84 marks and a maximum score of 91%, it was evident that the most able candidates were able to score very high marks. Examiners for 2008 will be asked to try to set an examination for which the mean score will be 58, the same as the recommended score for all subjects/courses. In terms of scaled scores, candidates for this course achieved an average score of 53.79 (course loading of -4.21), which exceeded the average scaled scores for four TEE subjects, and two of the other three new courses. Engineering Studies This year was the first year in which this course was externally examined. The mean examination score of 43.18 was the lowest mean score of all the subjects/courses. As for Media Production and Analysis, a range of 81 marks and a maximum score of 83% allowed the most able candidates to score high examination marks. However, examiners for 2008 will be asked to try to set an examination for which the mean score will be 58. Judging from the number of complaints about the examination content, it is clear that some schools did not completely share the examination panel‘s interpretation of the syllabus. This was a significant contributor to the low mean examination score, and will need to be addressed in 2008 through teacher professional development. The examination paper for this subject was unique, in that it contained two separate examinations and each paper had significant choice, one for each of the six stage and context combinations. To ensure no candidates received unfair advantage or disadvantage because of the different difficulties of each of the questions within the different sections, raw examination results for each of were rescaled to place them all on the same scale before conducting the usual processes standardisation, moderation
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 33

and scaling. Appendix K contains more detail about the marks management of Engineering Studies examination data. Candidates for this course achieved an average scaled score of 53.79 (course loading of -6.95), which exceeded the average scaled scores for three TEE subjects, and one of the other three new courses. Arabic and Hebrew For the first time in 2007, Arabic and Hebrew were included in the range of subjects/courses used to contribute to the formation of tertiary entrance scores. As for Japanese: Advanced and Modern Greek, students of Arabic and Hebrew completed examinations produced in other states. The successful production of scaled scores for these subjects was achieved through the application of a process endorsed by the TISC Scaling Policy Committee, and conducted by the re-convened Scaling Implementation Committee. Appendix L contains details of this procedure. There were four and fourteen candidates for each of Hebrew and Arabic, respectively. Evaluation by the public Copies of papers for evaluation were made available at examination centres and recording scripts of recorded texts were available to teachers who requested them. The on-line examination evaluation service was activated at the beginning of the examination period and closed on 28 December. Appendix C is a compilation of the on-line comments about the 2007 examination papers. Copies of these comments have been sent to executive officers of ARM panels/reference groups for discussions about the examination. Chief examiners, who are ex officio observers on each ARM panel/reference group, will convey this feedback to the rest of their panels. A summary of the frequency of comments by subject/course is given in table 16. The summaries of comments presented in Appendix C are taken directly from the online submissions. No attempt has been made to verify either the correctness of comments or whether they are representative of general views. .
Table 16: Distribution of evaluation comments on examination papers,2007 Subject Applicable Mathematics Calculus Chemistry Discrete Mathematics Drama Engineering Studies English English Literature Geography History Human Biology Information Systems Media Production and Analysis Physical Science Total No. of comments 2 2 8 2 1 12 2 1 4 4 1 1 3 1 44

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Conclusions The low level of adverse public comment for all subjects must be regarded as positive. Furthermore, of the 44 comments received:  twelve (27%) contained comments (in reference to 8 subjects) which were only positive or were largely positive with minor particular issues being raised.  eighteen (40%) contained comments (in reference to 10 subjects) which were negative about papers. Statistical evidence from the 2007 examination papers indicates that the overall quality of the examinations remains at the high level to which we have become accustomed in recent years. The high reliability statistics would not be possible without a high level of comparability in the marking process. Strong evidence for validity comes from:  the methodology of content control;  the statistical evidence for concurrent validity;  the evidence of internal consistency implied by the generally high reliability statistics; and  the overall public acceptability of the examinations. In a few cases, the statistics can be used to point out to examiners specific areas for improvement in the future. In particular, the Engineering Studies examination was problematic for reasons largely related to different interpretations of the syllabus which needs to be elaborated and supported by another sample examination and further meetings with teachers. It may be concluded from the evidence that the 2007 examination papers provided valid and credible assessment of the appropriate Year 12 subjects/courses.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 10: Statistical processes to achieve comparability of assessment
The final results (scaled marks) in all TER subjects/courses are expressed on the same scale so that comparability between students is possible, even though they may have gone to different schools and may have studied different combinations of subjects/courses.

Fairness requires that students‘ marks for achievement in Year 12 must have the same unit value, for the purpose of admission to university, from whatever subject or course they are derived or from whatever school a student attends. This is also a mathematical requirement, since the final marks in subjects and courses must be capable of aggregation into a tertiary entrance score. In the process of adjusting raw school marks and raw examination marks onto a common scale, several Curriculum Council statistical procedures are used. These are outlined in figure 11.
School Mark Standardised Moderated School Mark Combined Mark
Standardised Moderated School Assessment Standardised Exam

Scaled Mark

Raw Examination

Standardised Examination

Decile Place

Figure 11: Marks adjustment process

Manual calculations are routinely carried out to check on the processing of computerised marks. These integrity checks in 2007 confirmed that the adjustments were correctly made. Standardisation Standardisation is a process used to adjust the distribution of raw external examination marks to a distribution that is constant from year to year for every subject. The process removes excessive skew and bimodality and adjusts distributions that are too peaked (leptokurtic) or not peaked enough (platykurtic). The result of standardising marks is a distribution of marks that has an approximately linear relationship to achievement. In terms of the processes leading to the calculation of a TER, it is immaterial how the numerical scale is calibrated because it is the students‘ ranking that determines their prospects of entering university. However, there is still a perception that a mark of 50 represents a pass and that any mark below 50 is a fail. Although neither the Curriculum Council nor its predecessors have certified a ‗Fail‘ in a subject for over twenty years, this perception still persists. Statistical moderation Statistical moderation is the process which ensures that school assessment marks in a subject/course are placed on the same scale as marks in the subject/course at other

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


schools, so that these assessments contribute fairly to calculations of combined scores and ultimately to scaled scores, and the tertiary entrance ranks. Parity with other schools is the key issue. An incidental and highly valuable adjunct to the process has been the production of informative data concerning the necessary adjustment for each subject at a school. The Curriculum Council has provided schools with summaries of mean school assessments and mean moderated assessments which they have used to refocus their standards and helps them to avoid unrealistically raising students‘ expectations in the external examinations. Small group moderation Schools and colleges offering subjects/courses where it was anticipated that there would be less than ten examination candidates in a school/subject/course cohort were required to combine their school-based assessments with those from another cohort in the same subject/course. The purpose of combining distributions of numerical school assessments is to obtain a partnership that has a larger population than the individual cohorts. This increases the accuracy of statistical moderation. It is known as small group moderation. Based on information shown in Table 17, it is evident that around fifty percent of schools/subjects enter into small group partnerships.
Table 17: School/subject cohorts, 2000-2007 Year 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 Total no. of school/subjects 2,744 2,618 2,637 2,621 2,648 2,592 2,590 2,559 No. of school/subjects in small group partnerships 1,462 1,405 1,444 1,332 1,414 1,261 1,236 1,034 Percentage of school/subjects in small group partnerships 53.3 53.7 54.8 50.8 53.4 48.6 47.7 40.4

In 2007, the post hoc analysis of the operation of small group partnerships was conducted and the splitting of groups undertaken according to policy and without incident. Those conducting the small group partnership reviews reported that there seemed to be a significant increase in the number of partnerships which were split by the Curriculum Council due to obvious failures to report their school marks on the same scale. Scaling Aggregation of marks is straightforward if all candidates take the same subjects/courses. However, if choice is allowed (for a tertiary entrance score to be calculated it is necessary for typical school students to obtain final marks in at least four subjects or courses out of a choice of 38), adjustments must be made between subjects/courses; otherwise, candidates taking difficult subjects/courses would be disadvantaged. This between subject/course adjustment is known in Western Australia as scaling. Scaling was completed without incident using the average marks scaling method as in the previous year. The results in Modern Greek and Japanese: Advanced were manually scaled as usual, following established procedures. The results in the new subjects of Arabic and Hebrew also were manually scaled following approved procedures (see Appendix M). The outcomes of scaling, for all subjects and courses,
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 37

are detailed in tables A21 and A22 contained in Appendix F. Details of the scaling required for Engineering Studies marks are detailed in Appendix K. Continuing and future improvements The implementation of the revised standardisation distribution points continues to have implications for schools‘ interpretations of examination statistics and, in particular, moderation statistics. It may be appropriate to review these points when courses are fully implemented in 2009. Post-examination counselling suggests that a number of schools are providing school assessment marks on scales which are potentially misleading to students and parents. It appears that these schools are attempting to provide marks on the standardised scale (centred on 66). This practice may be the result of a misunderstanding about the new standardised distribution and such practice is not recommended. Recommended practice is that school assessment marks for a subject/course are on a scale so that a student of average ability in the state would be awarded 58 marks. The rationale for this recommendation is that the average scaled mark of all candidates in all subjects is centred on 58, with individual subject/course averages varying from 58 by an amount reflecting the ‗difficulty‘ of the subject (see Table 6 of Appendix F which details subject loadings). The consequence of a school centring school marks for a subject/course on an average of 66, particularly when the average ability of the cohort is lower than the state average, is that students are given an inflated impression of their abilities. This does not affect the ultimate accuracy of the scaled score, but experience in post-examination counselling shows that this can and does result in a number of students being very disappointed with their scaled mark in a subject/course that is much lower than their expectations. These students find it difficult to understand the discrepancy between what may be a high school mark and a relatively low scaled mark. The scaling of TEE mathematics subjects (Applicable Mathematics, Discrete Mathematics and Calculus) has been a concern for some of the mathematics fraternity for a number of years, with anecdotal evidence suggesting that more able students are able to acquire higher scaled scores through studies in Discrete Mathematics than they can acquire in the more demanding Applicable Mathematics. This issue was investigated, and Appendix N contains a report which seems to provide some support this suggestion. Further investigation of this topic is required, particularly in view of the introduction of the new Mathematics courses, to be examined for the first time in 2010. Conclusion The entire suite of marks-adjusting programs was executed without error. Manual integrity checks and an absence of errors reported by the public confirmed this.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 11: General Achievement Test Report
Comparability of the achievement of students in their school assessments is important in the early years of the introduction of the new WACE courses.

The 2007 General Achievement Test was conducted on June 14 for all Year 12 students enrolled in at least one unit of the following WACE courses:  Aviation  Engineering Studies  English  Media Production and Analysis The test was set by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). Every secondary school in the state, with Year 12 students enrolled in any of the four WACE courses, made arrangements to conduct the test for their eligible students. More than 20,000 test booklets and answer booklets were distributed to schools. Sixty-two markers were employed, under the direction of the chief marker, to mark the 14,659 scripts. The course-based reports were discussed with teachers at consensus meetings held during August. A CD-ROM and the student reports were sent to principals during the first week of September. Students, through their schools were provided with a report stating their achievement in the three components of the test. It cost $230,000 to administer the GAT in 2007. In 2007, state-wide outcome achievements in the courses Aviation, Engineering Studies, English and Media Production and Analysis were modelled through use of a multiple-regression analysis of GAT subscale data. The model was used to predict outcome achievements in these courses and identify schools with reported assessments which differed significantly from model predictions. These results of the 2007 study were inconclusive, due to continuing suspicions that the test was not taken seriously by a large number of students, and the suggestion that a more sophisticated analysis was required than the initially recommended regression analysis. Further work is required to evaluate the potential usefulness of the GAT testing programme. This is particularly relevant in view of the reduction of the importance of the accuracy of the level and band ratings which has resulted from the renewed primacy of ‗marks‘ in the production of scaled scores for tertiary entrance. An independent review of the GAT is to be undertaken early in 2008.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 12: Certification of student achievement
Year 12 students received accurate and credible certification of their academic achievements according to the agreed timeline. They were also able to access their results on a joint web site (established by the Curriculum Council and TISC).

In 2007, 19,121 (18,817 in 2006) Year 12 students were eligible for the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). Of these 18,357 (18,041 in 2006) achieved the WACE. Table 18 indicates that there has been a steady increase in the percentage of students who achieved a WACE since 2003.
Table 18: Achievement of a WACE, 2001–2007 2001 Eligible for a WACE Achieving a WACE Percentage of eligible cohort 16,450 15,385 93.5 2002 18,457 17,202 93.2 2003 18,883 17,576 93.1 2004 18,697 17,671 94.5 2005 19,243 18,300 95.1 2006 18,817 18,041 95.9 2007 19,121 18,357 96.0

In 2007, there were 286 (295 in 2006, 358 in 2005, 315 in 2004, 296 in 2003, 281 in 2002) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who were eligible for a WACE. Of these, 251 (87.8%) achieved a WACE. The corresponding figures for 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 achieving a WACE were 224 (79.7%), 222 (75.0%), 264 (83.8%), 305 (85.2%) and 265 (89.8%) respectively. Schools were able to download SIRS reports, one that lists the number of full-time Year 12 students who will receive a WACE and one that identifies the full-time Year 12 students who would not be receiving a WACE. Schools were able to run these reports after they had uploaded data relating to their students‘ results. The reports could be run as many times as necessary to confirm that the uploaded Year 12 results were accurate. A special provisions committee was established to review cases in which students may be disadvantaged as a result of the transition to the new WACE arrangements. Schools were invited to submit applications where they considered that the recent changes to the requirements for the achievement of the WACE had disadvantaged one or more of their Year 12 students. Situations where students may not achieve the WACE requirements due to change in rule include:  not meeting the English language competence requirements; or  not achieving the standard of a C grade average. 173 applications were received, with details summarised in table 16. Of these applications, 40 (23.1%) were granted WACE because they were considered to be disadvantaged by the algorithm to equate levels to grades, or they were unable to study either Vocational English or Senior English and achieve a C grade. Schools were informed of the outcome of applications.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Table 19: Special consideration for a WACE, 2007 10 Subjects 1st round 2nd round 3rd round 0 0 2 Approved C grade average 0 16 13 ELC 5 4 0 Rejected 121 8 4 Applications reviewed 126 28 19

There were 749 Year 12 students in 2007 that used VET subject equivalents1 to achieve a WACE. The corresponding figures for the Year 12, 2003, Year 12, 2004, Year 12, 2005 and Year 12, 2006 cohorts are 263, 315, 509 and 538 respectively. Qualifications achieved in full were recorded on students‘ statement of results. There were 3,337 (2,344 in 2006, 2,726 in 2005, 1,840 in 2004) qualifications recorded on 2,401 (1,782 in 2006, 2,066 in 2005, 1,569 in 2004) Year 12 students‘ statements of results. Of these, 55 (77 in 2006, 275 in 2005, 169 in 2004) qualifications were achieved through a traineeship. Certification changes for 2007 Changes made to the 2007 certificates included reporting achievement in endorsed programs and updating the explanatory notes for the reverse side of the statement of results. During 2007, the information to be certified to students was negotiated with industry, parent groups and system/sector representatives. Publication of Year 12 results On 26 December 2007 (from 3pm onwards) Year 12 students were able to access their results from the web. From 3pm on this day to midnight 27 December 2007, the site was visited by 5,664 (5,631 in 2006) students who accessed their results and viewed 12,505 (12,980 in 2006) results pages. The busiest hour occurred between 4:00–5:00 pm on 26 December with 1,381 hits by 772 visitors. The website was a joint venture between the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre and the Curriculum Council. Results on the website were similar to those printed on the statement of results. The TISCLine was not available. In addition, all Year 12 students who completed at least one Curriculum Council subject, course unit or unit of competency were issued with a statement of results dated 27 December 2007. There were 20,330 (20,018 in 2006, 20,577 in 2005, 20,517 in 2004; 20,407 in 2003; 19,806 in 2002) statements of results produced for the cohort of Year 12 students. The statement of results was accompanied by:  The Western Australian Certificate of Education for those who met the requirements.  The information paper for the Western Australian Certificate of Education and statement of results 2007.  Order forms for the 2007 TEE/WACE examinations. These included an application for results checks, order form for TEE/WACE examination scripts and order form for statement of raw examination marks.
Stand-alone VET competencies may be grouped, based upon nominal hours, to form subject equivalents. 110 nominal hours equates to 1 subject equivalent.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


 ‗Your marks‘ brochure.  An Access Careers 2007 brochure (produced by the Department of Education and Training). To ensure delivery on Friday 28 December 2007, the certificates for WA country and north-west were lodged at the Perth Mail Centre at 7.30am on the morning of Thursday 27 December 2007 and the certificates for Perth metropolitan area were lodged at noon on Thursday 27 December 2007. Associated costs Statements of results and Western Australian Certificates of Education were printed in-house and the collation and despatching outsourced. The base stock for these certificates was designed and printed in the corporate colours in a manner that minimises fraudulent copying. Quality-assurance procedures were put in place to ensure the validity and accuracy of the statement of results and Western Australian Certificate of Education. These procedures were more involved than previous years as the certificates were printed from the new data base – SIRS. There were 85 requests for reprints of certificates/statements up until the third week of January 2008. This represents 0.42% of the Year 12 students who were issued with statements in December 2007. The corresponding number (and percentage) of reprints of the Year 12, 2006 and 2005 cohorts were 95 (0.47 percent) and 84 (0.41%) respectively. Some schools continue to incorrectly supply results for some of their students as 65% of the reprints were due to school error. The cost to produce the Western Australian Certificate of Education and statement of results in 2007 was $41,686.82 (for 2006 the amount was $55,459.57). Continuing and future improvements In 2008, the certification of Year 12 students will accommodate the new WACE requirements and new English language competence requirement. SIRS printouts will be refined to allow schools to monitor whether Year 12 students have met WACE requirements.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 13: Acknowledging excellence
In accordance with the Curriculum Council Act 1997 Part 3 s.9 (h), exhibitions and awards were granted to post-compulsory students in recognition of educational excellence.

A total of 997 awards and exhibitions were granted to students who achieved academic excellence. The awards recognise general educational excellence as well as subject-specific excellence.

Process for deciding the winners
Examination-based awards Chief examiners or their nominees reviewed the ranked list of raw examination marks to identify possible subject/course exhibition winners. A Curriculum Council award score, based on the average of five TEE/WACE scaled marks, with at least two from each of List A and List B, was calculated for all eligible candidates. The top ranked candidate was recommended for the Beazley Medal: TEE and the top forty for a General Exhibition. The Beazley Medallist: TEE achieved a Curriculum Council award score of 99.08. WSA awards There were 54 (55 in 2006) wholly school-assessed subjects listed for the awards in 2007. Included in this number were two courses which for the first time had awards available for non-examination candidates. For these subjects, schools nominated their outstanding students. One hundred (110 in 2006, 105 in 2005, 114 in 2004) different schools nominated 655 students (796 in 2006, 768 in 2005, 644 in 2004) for awards in 51 (53 in 2006, 50 in 2005, 48 in 2004) subjects. Some schools nominated students for more than one subject. There were 56 (90 in 2006, 84 in 2005, 28 in 2004) students who were nominated for at least two subjects with 5 of these students being nominated for three subjects. No students were nominated in more than three subjects. Appendix H contains subject nominations and an historical perspective. There were 5 (6 in 2006, 6 in 2005, 6 in 2004) subjects which either had no nominations or in which no students were short-listed for interviews. Of the 655 nominations received, 478 students were short-listed. To continue to address the short time frame available for the processing and timetabling of student nominations, teleforms were used to register student nominations. In 2007, the wholly school-assessed subject awards process was refined to clarify the communication of selection criteria for award recommendations and to put the onus of application and provision of all documents on the student. Panels, representing the systems/sectors, invited students to demonstrate their understanding of, and achievements in, the subject through an interview, performance and/or submission of a portfolio of work. There were 45 (43 in 2006) subjects where interviews (including performance) were required by the students. Another four subjects (Art and Design, English, Senior Science and Music in Society) required students to only submit work. Interviews and review of work were held over a five-day period during the week commencing Monday 22 October 2007 at six (6 in 2006) different venues. This involved 107 (107 in 2006) panel members selecting award recipients from the 478 (623 in 2006, 574 in 2005, 439 in 2004) students whose nominations were shortlisted.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Country students were given the choice of attending an interview in Perth or having an interview via videoconferencing. The number of videoconferences decreased with 29 (52 in 2006, 33 in 2005, 19 in 2004) videoconferences set up for country students in nine different locations (13 in 2006). Six of the country students interviewed via video-conference were recommended for certificates of distinction, with one of these being recommended for a subject exhibition. The decision A five-member committee, chaired by the chairperson of the Curriculum Council, reviewed the recommendations made by the Secretariat for the granting of each award and exhibition in accordance with the criteria. The committee considered a shortlist of students for the Beazley Medal: VET. The committee granted the Beazley Medal: VET to the student with the highest Curriculum Council school assessment award score. The first ranked student was awarded the Beazley Medal: VET as she had a coherent VET program with all of the units of competency contributing to the same AQF qualification, had achieved a Certificate II in Business and had achieved a consistently high standard throughout her senior secondary schooling. The exhibition and awards policy and guidelines states that where the enrolment in an examination is below 100 the Exhibition and Awards Committee may decide to award a subject/course exhibition or certificates of distinction if the achievement is of an exceptionally high standard. Although the number of candidates were below 100 in German, Indonesian: Second Language and Geology the committee granted a subject exhibition and certificate of distinction in these subjects due to the high raw exam mark and combined mark. The committee granted a certificate of distinction in the new WACE course Aviation, Chinese: Second Language, Indonesian: Advanced and Malay: Advanced due to the high combined mark. Reviewing the policy and guidelines The Awards Working Party met on two occasions during 2007. The group reviewed the policy and guidelines for 2008 and has made significant progress in developing the policy and guidelines for 2009 and beyond. The algorithm for equating a level and band in a course unit to an ‗A‘ grade for the achievement of a certificate of excellence was reviewed and updated following the submission of semester one results. Announcement of the winners The Minister for Education and Training announced the winners of the Beazley Medals at Kings Park on Sunday 30 December 2007. The full list of award winners was published in The Sunday Times on Sunday 30 December 2007. The announcements were brought forward one week in 2005 and 2006, and this time-line was repeated for 2007. Recipients of the awards and exhibitions are to be presented with the certificate and/or prize at the Curriculum Council‘s Awards Ceremony to be held on Tuesday 12 February 2008 at The University of Notre Dame. Pre-ceremony entertainment and post-ceremony refreshments will be provided. The five Western Australian universities jointly agreed to sponsor the Beazley Medal: TEE. Westscheme sponsor the Beazley Medal: VET. Sponsorship to the amount of $41,000 has been committed by fifteen different organisations to assist with the conduct of the awards ceremony. In-kind sponsorship has been committed by two organisations.
Certification and Examinations Report 2007 44

Summary of award winners A Curriculum Council award was received by 713 students. A total of 997 (1,086 in 2006,1069 in 2005, 1043 in 2004, 1071 in 2003, 1029 in 2002, 1046 in 2001 and 999 in 2000) awards were made in the following categories (see Table 20).
Table 20: Number of exhibition and award winners, 2007 Award Number awarded

Beazley Medal: TEE Beazley Medal: VET General Exhibitions Subject Exhibitions TEE/WACE subjects/courses WSA subjects Special Subject Awards TEE/WACE subjects/courses WSA subject Certificate of Distinction TEE/WACE subjects/courses WSA subjects Special Certificate of Distinction TEE/WACE subjects/cources WSA subjects Certificate of Excellence Total

29 25 3 1 259 110 13 2

54 4 369 15

1 1 40 58


513 997

Continuing and future improvements The Exhibition and Awards committee recommended that a review of the background speaker and language eligibility criteria be undertaken during 2008. The Awards Working Group will continue to meet to ratify the policy and guidelines for 2009 and beyond, including the provision for further recognition of VET achievement.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007


Section 14: Public relations
Providing information to the public about our role as an organisation and our specific processes, particularly those contingent on the TEE/WACE, plays a major part in maintaining our organisation’s credibility.

The Curriculum Council has an important role in keeping schools and the public informed of the processes involved in certifying student achievement and the integrity of the tertiary entrance examinations. Many telephone calls are made and received by staff in the Certification and Examinations Branch clarifying issues and gathering and explaining information. Other aspects of public relations include media liaison, school presentations, post results counselling and responding to complaints about the examinations and the conduct of the awards ceremony. Media reports Media coverage of the 2007 examinations began in August with the West Australian’s TEE Extra feature, which included frequently asked questions and study tips from subject experts and former high-achieving students. Media coverage of the examinations and results continued throughout January and will continued into February, when the official Curriculum Council awards ceremony is held. Media enquiries throughout the exam period primarily focused on the new courses being examined for the first time – Engineering Studies, English and Media Production & Analysis. This year‘s Curriculum Council awards and exhibitions feature was coordinated by The Sunday Times and featured an eight-page liftout. Articles featured the two Beazley medallists, as well as Christ Church Grammar School‘s dominance in the list of the general exhibition award winners. Following the wider distribution of the awards data, local and regional papers eagerly publicised their local winners. By mid-January, more than 40 stories had appeared in local and regional newspapers. The release of school performance data at a media conference on 8 January 2008 attracted widespread media coverage, most notably the attendance of all four TV stations. A summary of the media coverage for the 2007 TEE period follows:  A TEE Extra colour liftout in The West Australian (17/8/07).      Coverage by the four TV channels and The West Australian at the start of the TEE written examinations (1/11/07). An eight-page colour lift-out in The Sunday Times honouring Curriculum Council award winners (30/1/07). Coverage by the four TV stations at the announcement of the Beazley Medal winners following a media conference in Kings Park on Sunday 30/1/07. Extensive coverage by metropolitan and regional print media throughout January highlighting general Curriculum Council award winners. The school performance data media conference held on 8/1/08 was attended by all four TV stations and The West Australian newspaper. Coverage included an eight-page feature on ‗How your school rates‘ (9/1/08), as well as a page one story on how girls schools dominated the TEE rankings.

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

TEE/WACE examinations hotline As in previous years, examination candidates had access to a telephone Hotline during the examination period until 9.00pm. There were forty calls recorded. This was a significant increase compared to 2006 when only five calls were received. There was a range of enquiries from a candidate having an accident to one where the candidate queried the type of dress they could wear to the examination centre. Many problems can appear trivial, but they are of major significance to the candidate at the time. Post-examination results counselling This year the post results counselling commenced immediately after the Christmas break and on the same day as the results were published on the web (Thursday 27 December 2007). The individual student results were available on the Curriculum Council website prior to students‘ statements of results being despatched. Twelve staff from the certification and examinations branch were rostered to take telephone calls, reply to emails and interview students and/or their parents. Many of the early callers sought information that was available to them in the envelope containing the statement of results. Five hundred and thirty-eight enquiries were made by telephone, email and interview compared with 386 following the 2006 TEE. Twenty-one (15 for 2006) of these enquiries were through interviews and thirty-two (10 for 2006) were emails. The main area of concern, being nearly one third of all enquiries, related to the process used by the Curriculum Council to adjust marks (moderation, standardisation and scaling). There was particular concern about the effect of the scaling procedures. Figure 12 illustrates the number of calls received during the seven days of the counselling period. Calls, emails and requests for an interview received after this time continue to be received but are not logged.

180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 'Dec 27 'Dec 28 'Dec 31 'Jan 02 'Jan 03 'Jan 04 'Jan 07
Figure 12: Post-results counselling

Complaints concerning the TEE/WACE examinations Complaints concerning the examinations and its administration were received by telephone, mail, email, facsimile or through the Council‘s website. There were many more complaints received in 2007 than for the previous 10 years. The majority of these complaints related to the new courses, Engineering Studies (20) and Media Production and Analysis (15).

Certification and Examinations Report 2007

Number of contacts



Fiqure 6: Participation in the English Language Competence Test, 2006 1600

Students Participating

1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

Awards ceremony Academic excellence is recognised by the Curriculum Council through the awards it offers to senior secondary students. In 2007 there were 992 awards, granted to 709 students. Recipients of the awards are to be presented with them at the Curriculum Council‘s awards ceremony to be held on Tuesday 12 February 2008 at The University of Notre Dame. More than 2500 people have been invited to attend the ceremony.













Certification and Examinations Report 2007