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Certification and Examination Report - 2008

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									Certifications and Examinations Report 2008
                                                 Contents
                                                                                         page
Acknowledgements                                                                              iii

List of tables                                                                                iv

List of figures                                                                               v

Overview of the external assessment and certification functions                               1
Sections
1        Data collection                                                                            3

2        Registering students                                                                       5

3        Data trends and statistics                                                                 9

4        Setting the examinations                                                              14

5        Access for candidates with disabilities                                               16

6        Conduct of the examinations                                                           20

7        Marking the examination scripts                                                       24

8        Special considerations for candidates                                                 27

9        Evaluation of the examination papers                                                  29

10       Statistical process to achieve comparability of assessment                            33

11       Certification of student achievement                                                  36

12       Acknowledging excellence                                                              40

13       Public relations                                                                      43


Appendices
A        Committee membership in 2008                                                         46

B        Consolidation costs in 2008                                                          48

C        Comments on the examination papers                                                   49

D        Year 12 state statistics in 2008                                                     51

E        Statistical report on the enrolments in TEE subject/ WACE course examinations        54

F        Statistical report on the 2008 examinations                                          63

G        Statistical report on the WACE                                                       75

H        Student numbers – WSA subjects: 2005–2008                                            76

I        Online marks collection report                                                       79

J        Online marking report                                                                80

K        Physical Education Studies practical examination                                     82

L        Sickness/misadventure applications as a percentage of enrolment for each             86
         subject/course




    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                           ii
                                              Acknowledgements


This report has been compiled by the following people who were involved in the external
assessment and certification of Western Australian students during 2008


      Jenny Morup, Manager, Certification and Examinations
      Lauren Miles, Administration Assistant

      Examinations development team
      Catherine Walsh, Assessment Officer (Exams)
      Con Coroneos, Senior Consultant, Humanities
      Gayathri Haththotuwa-Gamage, Assessment Officer (Exams) (from September)
      George Przywolnik, Senior Consultant, Mathematics/Science
      John Van Wyke, A/Senior Consultant
      Kelly Hourston, Senior Consultant, Humanities
      Kerry Tarrant, Exams Development Officer (Papers)
      Lyn Sadleir, Senior Consultant, Mathematics/Science
      Ruth Willis, Administration Assistant
      Zoe Bray, Administration Assistant

      Examination conduct team
      Amanda Parks, Administration Assistant
      Angela Kiely, Administration Assistant
      Barrie Chick, Coordinator Examinations (Written)
      Beryl Bettell, Coordinator Examinations (Practical)
      Carolyn Hackett, Coordinator Examinations (Special Provisions)
      Cristina Caruso, Exams Support Officer (Supervisors)
      Lynne Eastwood, Coordinator Examinations (Practical)
      Selina Mosbergen, Exams Support Officer (Marking)

      Data management team
      Andrea Schwenke, Data Coordinator
      Jenny Offer, Certifications Officer
      Jia-Ling Lee, Data Administrator (until August)
      Kathy Pilkington, Senior Consultant, Certification and Examinations
      Linda Scott, Administration Assistant (RLA)
      Lynn Galbraith, Project Officer (RLA)
      Marie Parker, Data Coordinator
      Veronica Wimmer, Clerk/Typist


      2008/47111




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                         iii
                                                  Tables

Report                                                                                                     page
Table 1       SIRS training                                                                                 3
Table 2       School registrations, 2008                                                                    5
Table 3       Participation of students born in 1991 (17 year old in 2008) and 1992 (16 year old in         7
              2008) in school and in non-school programs, 2008
Table 4       Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander enrolments, 2004–2008                              10
Table 5       Change in the number of students enrolling for the examinations, 2004–2008                   10
Table 6       Examination enrolments, as at October, 2004–2008 (one examination or more)                   10
Table 7       Examination enrolments, as at October, 2005–2008 (four or more examinations)                 11
Table 8       Change in the number of students who sat the TEE/WACE examinations, 2004–2008                12
Table 9       Year 12 enrolments in at least one unit of competency, 2004–2008                             13
Table 10      Units of competency studied by Year 12 students, 2004–2008                                   13
Table 11      Distribution of special examination arrangements applications, 2007–2008                     17
Table 12      Special examination arrangements by disability category, 2008                                18
Table 13      Marking of practical examinations, 2008                                                      24
Table 14      Sickness/misadventure applications by sector and gender, 2008                                27
Table 15      Outcome of sickness/misadventure applications, 2005–2008                                     28
Table 16      Sickness/misadventure applications by location, 2005–2008                                    28
Table 17      Sickness/misadventure applications approved for the practical component only                 28
Table 18      Distribution of evaluation comments on examination papers, 2008                              32
Table 19      School/subject cohorts, 2000–2008                                                            34
Table 20      Achievement of a WACE, 2002–2008                                                             36
Table 21      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement of a WACE, 2002–2008                       36
Table 22      Use of VET subject equivalents to achieve a WACE, 2002–2008                                  37
Table 23      Achievement VET qualifications, 2004–2008                                                    37
Table 24      Applications for statements of equivalence, 2008                                             38
Table 25      Number of statements of results reissued, 2002–2008                                          38
Table 26      Number of exhibition and award winners, 2008                                                 42


Appendices                                                                                                 45

Table A1      2008 TEE/WACE examinations costs consolidation                                               48
Table A2      Examination statistics                                                                       52
Table A3      Wholly school-assessed subjects                                                              52
Table A4      VET studies                                                                                  52
Table A5      WACE course units                                                                            53
Table A6      Number of candidates sitting the TEE/WACE examination in each subject/course,                54
              2005–2008
Table A7      Candidates in each TEE/WACE examination, shown as percentage of total                        55
              candidature, 2004–2008
Table A8      Total number of percentage of full-time and part-time enrolments in TEE subject/             56
              WACE course examinations 1983–2008
Table A9      Age of enrolled students in 2008 TEE subjects/WACE examination courses by                    57
              enrolment type and gender
Table A10     Private candidature and absent private candidates in TEE subjects/WACE                       58
              course examinations, 2007–2008
Table A11     Number and percentage of background candidates in TEE subjects, 2004–2008                    59


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                           iv
Table A12     Number and percentage of candidates sitting for a specific number of TEE                    59
              subjects/WACE course examinations 2005–2008
Table A13     Enrolments, absentees and non-examination candidates in each TEE subject/WACE               60
              course examination, 2008
Table A14     Number of anomalous performers identified in each TEE subject/WACE course                   61
              examination, 2007–2008
Table A15     Subject/course absentee and anomalous performer rate in relation to date of                 62
              examination, 2008
Table A16     Summary statistics on examinations papers, 2008 (2007 statistics in parentheses)            64
Table A17     Mean and standard deviation of moderated school assessments, Raw examination                65
              marks and correlation coefficients for the TEE subject/WACE course examinations,
              by gender, 2008
Table A18     Mean and standard deviation of combined marks and scaled marks TEE subject/WACE             68
              course examinations, by gender, 2008
Table A19     Relationship between raw examination marks and standardised Examination marks               71
              for TEE subject/WACE course examinations 2008
Table A20     Relationship between combined marks and scaled marks for TEE subject/WACE course            72
              examinations, 2008
Table A21     Subject loading for each TEE subject/WACE course examinations, 2007–2008                    73
Table A22     Ranges of scaled marks corresponding to decile places in TEE subject/WACE course            74
              examinations, 2008
Table A23     ‘Typical’ school students achieving a WACE, 2007–2008                                       75
Table A24     Number and percentage of students who sat the Curriculum Council English                    75
              Language Competence test, 2008
Table A25     Student numbers – wholly school-assessed subjects, 2005–2008                                76
Table A26     Sickness/misadventure applications as a percentage of enrolment for each                    86
              subject/course



                                                Figures

Report                                                                                               page
Figure 1            Total registrations, 2006–2008                                                    5
Figure 2            Student registrations by sector, 2006–2008                                        6
Figure 3            Student registrations by gender, 2006–2008                                        6
Figure 4            Status of Notice of Arrangements received, 2008                                   8

Figure 5            Number of Year 10 students who enrolled in subject/course                         9
                    units, 2002–2008
Figure 6            Number of students enrolled for a specific number of                             11
                    examinations, 2004–2008
Figure 7            Special examination arrangements applications as a                               17
                    percentage of enrolments, 2007–2008
Figure 8            Special examination arrangements applications by location,                       17
                    2007–2008
Figure 9            Number of applications per school/college by sector, 2008                        18

Figure 10           Participation in the English language competence test,                           21
                    1994–2008
Figure 11           Marks adjustment process                                                         33

Figure 12           Post-results counselling, 2008                                                   44




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                      v
   Overview of the certification and examinations functions
Outcome 6:      Assessments of student achievement for the senior secondary certificate are valid and
                credible.
Outcome 7:      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 2008, and
these will continue in 2009.

In 2008, the Curriculum Council certified the achievement of nearly 46,000 students studying for
the Western Australian senior secondary certificate. Slightly more Year 12 students (10,925) sat
four or more TEE/WACE course examinations, compared to 2007 (10,642). This represents a
2.25% increase in the number of 2008 Year 12 students who sat the TEE/WACE course
examinations in at least 4 subjects and were therefore eligible for a TER.

In 2008, external examinations were held in 33 tertiary entrance subjects and 8 WACE courses.
The WACE courses were Aviation, Engineering Studies, English and Media Production and
Analysis, and four courses examined for the first time: Applied Information Technology, Earth and
Environmental Science, English as an Additional Language/Dialect and Physical Education
Studies. Examining panels appointed by the Curriculum Council set 28 TEE papers and all eight
WACE examination papers, as well as a test of English language competence. The panel for each
of the eight new courses set sample examination materials that were distributed to schools earlier
in the year. These materials included the examination paper, grid of content and marking key.

Significant achievements for 2008 included:
   •   Development and maintenance of student records for Year 8-10 students in light of the
       raising of the school leaving-age legislation. In 2008, 142,602 students were registered
       with the Curriculum Council.
   •   Maintenance of data relating to the participation of nearly 60,000 sixteen and seventeen
       year old in school and other approved programs.
   •   Online marking of over 3,000 scripts.
   •   The recording of marks online for 7 subjects/courses.
   •   Provision of special examination arrangements for 276 candidates with disabilities and
       consideration of 342 applications for sickness/misadventure during the examinations.
   •   The implementation of practical examination in Physical Education Studies. This
       examination catered for 1619 candidates and covered 14 different sports and 18 unlisted
       sports.
   •   Recording of 4,633 (2007: 3,337) VET qualifications on 3,323 (2007: 2,401) Year 12
       students’ statements of results. Of these, 91 (2007: 55) qualifications were achieved
       through a traineeship.
   •   Development of SIRS reports to allow schools to monitor student enrolments and
       achievements.
   •   Granting 1030 exhibitions and awards to 749 students. Introduction of an award that
       acknowledged the top Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student and the top student with
       ESL/ESD background.
   •   Finalising of the WACE requirements and the awards and exhibition policy for
       implementation in 2009 and 2010.

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 (38 panels)
   •   Appeals to Special Examination Arrangements Committee

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                       1
      •   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.

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 2009
In reflecting on the 2008 examination and certification process together with the move towards
compulsory examinations, the Certification and Examinations branch will undertake the following
during 2009:

•     Encourage the use of the on line learning modules for SIRS.
•     Write regular circular items are written to encourage schools to access various reports from
      SIRS.
•     Send automatic email reminders can be sent to schools when their data is not submitted by the
      due date.
•     Re-introduce a fee for late enrolments and results.
•     Develop 21 TEE and 80 WACE sample and final examinations.
•     Establish a benchmark for the amount of writing expected of candidates in an external
      examination situation.
•     Develop performance examination for Dance, an interview for Aboriginal Languages, Aboriginal
      and Intercultural Studies, English as an Additional Language or Dialect and a portfolio for
      Media Production and Analysis and Materials Design and Technology.
•     Investigate video-conferencing for country candidates in language examinations.
•     During 2009, analysis of the training requirements for supervisors will be undertaken. The
      number of examination candidates will increase due to changing WACE requirements, so too
      will the nature of the candidates sitting examinations change.
•     The breach of examination rules policy will be revised to include the following clause:
       (i)    False declarations: Cancellation of part or all of the examination raw mark where the
              candidate falsely declares that the work presented for external assessment is their own
              and/or that it conforms to the specifications of the subject/course.
•     Extending online marking to include Discrete Mathematics and Applicable Mathematics as well
      as Biology, Calculus and EALD. For all remaining subjects and courses, the marks are to
      berecorded using online marks collection technology.
•     Implement the revised standardisation distribution points.
•     Issue course reports to students who have sat the examination.
•     Trial the printing of statements of results for students who exit school on an approved notice of
      arrangement.




    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                  2
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 2008, the Student Information Record System (SIRS) was further refined to support the
collection, storage and reporting of student data.

Data collection process
During 2008, the Curriculum Council received data uploads from schools for student registrations
and demographics, course units, subject and VET enrolments, as well as course, subject and VET
achievements into SIRS. Feedback obtained from the training workshops that were conducted
during 2007 indicated that there was a need for further general training and VET/ endorsed
programs specific training with regard to SIRS uploads.

Two series of three-hour workshops were conducted. The general training took place during
February and March whilst the VET specific and endorsed programs training occurred during the
latter part of Term 2 and the first three weeks of Term 3. These workshops were facilitated by a
Curriculum Council officer in conjunction with a school software expert (DET and RM Asia Pacific).
This approach enabled participants to see the link between their school’s database (SIS or MAZE)
and the data that is uploaded and stored on the Curriculum Council’s database (SIRS). A separate
workshop was facilitated for schools that create excel spreadsheets for their uploads to SIRS.

The workshops were interactive. Simulated school data were used to complete activities in SIRS
that enabled participants to use the system and see the preparatory work that needed to be
completed in their school data base, prior to uploading data files to SIRS. Table 1 shows an
overview of the training workshops.

Table 1: SIRS training
             General SIRS training            Metropolitan    Country        Total
             Number of sessions                       12            7          19
             Number of schools                      120            59         179
             Number of participants                 230          102          332

                 VET/SIRS training            Metropolitan     Country        Total
              Number of sessions                      11              1         12
              Number of schools                     103             17         120
              Number of participants                183             38         221

It is evident that the training has assisted schools with their uploads to SIRS and increased their
awareness of the variety of reports that can be generated and used for checking purposes.

The introduction and use by schools of the WACE Procedures Manual (to be known as the WACE
Procedures File from 2009 onwards) and the new format of the WACE Activities Schedule have
greatly assisted schools in managing their Curriculum Council business. The file has been
reviewed and updated, ready for distribution to schools early in 2009.

The Curriculum Council help desk and personnel from the Certification and Examinations branch
assisted schools that experienced problems with the upload of their data to SIRS. A variety of new
reports were added to the system, allowing schools and Curriculum Council staff to access
information easily and enabling checking of data. In particular, the reports that enable WACE
requirements to be checked for students and the statistics reports have been well received by
schools.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                           3
Issues
Despite the introduction of the Data Procedures Manual, workshops that were attended by over
500 school staff, additional SIRS helpdesk support and improvements in SIRS processes,
numerous data collection issues were still evident during 2008.

Some of these issues had significant impacts on the certification of students and their post-school
destination opportunities. For example:
   •     26 students did not achieve a WACE because their school forgot to apply for recognition of
         Year 11 equivalence.
   •     Several students were recorded as non-Australian residents so were considered
         international students in the university selection process. One student was awarded a
         special certificate of distinction when he was eligible as an Australian citizen for a certificate
         of distinction.
   •     5 students were reported, incorrectly, as having achieved a diploma of nursing.
   •     Several students did not achieve a WACE because their Year 11 results were incorrect. In
         some cases the school had not even enrolled the student in the subject or course unit.
   •     Several schools still did not review the publication of a student’s name should he or she win
         an award.
   •     Up to 200 students were given a duplicate Curriculum Council number.
In addition to checking the integrity of the data, the Curriculum Council continues to devote
significant resources following up those schools with incomplete or missing data. Only 60% of the
schools submitted their full set of registration, enrolment and achievement data by the due date. In
some instances, schools take up to four weeks to submit the data. One school submitted their
registration data three months after the due date and only after constant reminders.


Continuing and future improvements
The following strategies have been proposed for implementation in 2009.
   •     Online learning modules for SIRS have been developed and are available through the
         Curriculum Council website.
   •     Regular circular items are written to encourage schools to access various reports from
         SIRS.
   •     Automatic email reminders can be sent to schools when their data are not submitted by the
         due date. For Catholic Education schools and Department of Education and Training
         schools whose data are not submitted by the due date, advice is sent to the respective
         head of these systems.
   •     A fee for late enrolments and results will be re-introduced. This will be based on the need
         for a Curriculum Council staff member to make a manual change to a student’s record after
         the closing date. There is provision in the Curriculum Council’s fees and charges schedule
         for a late charge of $35. This has been approved by Treasury.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                         4
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 2008, 142,627 students, from Year 8 to Year 12, were registered with the Curriculum
Council. Of these, there were approximately 47,035 students who successfully completed 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 continued to maintain a register of all
students participating in secondary education during 2008. The Curriculum Council has
responsibility for registering the students and reporting regularly on these registrations to the
Minister. The table below summarises these registrations.

Table 2: School registrations, 2008
                                                            Year 8                   Year 9                              Year 10                     Year 11                 Year 12                     Total
    Government                                              16,984                   17,360                               18,133                      17,762                  14,249                     84,488
    Non-Government                                          12,319                   12,143                               11,935                      10,994                    9455                     56,846
    Other                                                       85                      129                                  108                         293                     653                      1,268
    Total                                                   29,388                   29,632                               30,176                      29,049                  24,382                    142,602

Figure 1 below shows that 1,548 more students were registered in 2008 compared with 2007, an
increase of 1.1%. This is an overall increase of 2.78% from 2006. There was a 3.7% (2,067)
increase in the number of students registered from non-government schools in 2008, an overall
increase of 6.6% from 2006.

Specific funding was allocated to the Curriculum Council and the Department of Education and
Training (DET) for the implementation of the raising school leaving age legislation. The Curriculum
Council has used this funding for the appointment of three officers. The Participation Directorate at
DET is funded to ensure that all students who are of compulsory school age are monitored.
There is a cross-sectoral governance group, David Wood, the CEO, is a member.
                                                                                                                                                               138,746.00

                                                                                                                                                                             141,054.00

                                                                                                                                                                                          142,602.00




                                   160,000.00


                                   140,000.00


                                   120,000.00
              Number of students




                                                            85,246.00
                                                84,477.00




                                                                         84,488.00




                                   100,000.00
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Total 2006
                                                                                                             56,846.00
                                                                                                 54,779.00




                                    80,000.00
                                                                                     53,095.00




                                                                                                                                                                                                       Total 2007
                                                                                                                                                                                                       Total 2008
                                    60,000.00


                                    40,000.00
                                                                                                                             1,174.00

                                                                                                                                         1,029.00

                                                                                                                                                    1,268.00




                                    20,000.00


                                         0.00
                                                      Government                     Non-Government                                     Other                               Total


                                                                        Figure 1: Total registrations, 2006–2008

Figure 2 compares registrations by sector for all year levels from 2006 to 2008. This figure
illustrates that the non-government registrations have increased slightly each year across all
cohorts, whereas the government schools have not changed greatly except for Year 12 where
there is a fairly significant decrease (6%).


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                                                                                                         5
                                                                                                                                         Govt schools 2006
                              20,000.00                                                                                                  Govt schools 2007
                                                                                                                                         Govt schools 2008
                              18,000.00
                                                                                                                                         Non-govt schools 2006
                              16,000.00                                                                                                  Non-govt schools 2007
                                                                                                                                         Non-govt schools 2008

         Number of students
                              14,000.00
                                                                                                                                         Other 2006
                              12,000.00                                                                                                  Other 2007
                                                                                                                                         Other 2008
                              10,000.00

                               8,000.00

                               6,000.00

                               4,000.00

                               2,000.00

                                   0.00
                                                                 Year 8            Year 9            Year 10       Year 11     Year 12

                                                                       Figure 2: Student registrations by sector, 2006–2008

In Figure 3 a further point of interest is shown in the ratio of male to female students in each year
group for 2006 to 2008. Across Years 8, 9 and 10 there are more males registered than females
(between 5.5% and 6.9%), but in Year 11 the ratio has evened out considerably (0.7%) and Year
12 is showing the usual higher proportion of females remaining at school (10.4%).

                                                                                                                                    M ale 2006
                                                                                                                                    M ale 2007
                                                                                                                                    M ale 2008
                                                                                                                                    Female 2006
                                                           18,000.00                                                                Female 2007
                                                                                                                                    Female 2008
                                                           16,000.00


                                                           14,000.00
                                      Number of students




                                                           12,000.00

                                                           10,000.00

                                                           8,000.00

                                                           6,000.00

                                                           4,000.00

                                                           2,000.00

                                                               0.00

                                                                          Year 8            Year 9       Year 10     Year 11   Year 12


                                                                       Figure 3: Student registrations by gender, 2006–2008

Significant changes were made to the database during 2008 for the collection of data regarding the
participation of students. This included recording the type of Notice of Arrangement the student
was granted, the date and any relevant details. Changes were also introduced to record when a
Notice of Arrangement was cancelled, rejected or pending. This allowed more accurate reporting
of data. Changes are still underway to improve the method of uploading this information, and to
also record any results achieved from TAFE courses.

In 2008, 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 turn 17 years of age. As this is the first time the information has been collected for
two year cohorts, it is difficult to make accurate comparisons, however it can be noted that there
was a 5.5% increase in the number of students remaining at school in Year 11 (1992) compared to
2007. In 2008, 5,774 seventeen year olds were registered as engaged in programs including
employment, TAFE/RTO courses and/or apprenticeships/traineeships. Table 3 outlines the
programs in which the students were engaged.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                                                      6
Table 3: Participation of students born in 1991 (17 years old in 2008) and 1992 (16 years old in 2008)
in school and in non-school programs, 2008
                                                                  Year of birth 1991       Year of birth 1992
A. Participating students
(i)  Schooling                                                  21337                   26030
           Government                                                   12455                    15407
           Non-government                                                8853                    10571
           Home education                                                  29                       52
                                                                                                 26030
(ii)    Non-school (Notices of arrangement)                      5221                    2311
            Apprenticeship/traineeship                                   1577                      455
            Employment                                                   1150                      614
            TAFE/RTO                                                     1643                      790
            Apprenticeship/traineeship & TAFE/RTO                         118                       14
            Apprenticeship/traineeship & employment                       100                       10
            Employment & TAFE/RTO                                         194                       38
            Apprenticeship/traineeship & employment &                       9                        1
            TAFE/RTO
            Pending (ie no learning program supplied)                     301                      255
            Unspecified (no learning program supplied)                    129                       54
                                                                                                  2231
        Sub-total: students participating                                       26548                     28311

B. Non-participating students
(i)  Schooling                                                   2207                    2109
         Left secondary education (no NoA)                                376                      282
         Left provider (no NoA)                                           522                      349
         Not re-registered from previous year                            1309                     1478

(ii)    Non-school                                                300                      315
            Rejected (no learning program supplied)                        85                      128
            Cancelled (withdrawn from learning program)                    98                      144
            Left provider (awaiting further details from DET)             117                       43

        Sub-total: students not participating                                    2507                      2424

C. Other
     Children whose whereabouts are unknown                               123                      100
     Left Western Australia                                                67                       86
     Deceased                                                               8                        5

        Sub-total: other                                                         2507                       191

Total                                                                           29253                     30926

These figures taken as a ‘snapshot’ on 31/10/2008 (census date) and do not include full-fee paying students or overseas
students.

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.

Figure 4 shows the number of students born in 1991 (generally Year 12, 2008) and 1992
(generally Year 11, 2008) who applied for a Notice of Arrangement in 2008, and how many were
approved, cancelled, rejected or pending (information as at 31 October 2008).




  Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                    7
                           9,000.00                                                                   1991 year of birth

                                                                                                      1992 year of birth
                           8,000.00
                                                                                                      Total
                           7,000.00
  Number of applications


                           6,000.00

                           5,000.00

                           4,000.00

                           3,000.00

                           2,000.00

                           1,000.00

                              0.00
                                      Received       Approved        Cancelled       Pending         Rejected

                                                                     Status

                                         Figure 4: Status of Notice of Arrangements received, 2008


Continuing and future improvements
The legislation requires that all students who are of compulsory school age are monitored. This
task continues to be a challenge, as in 2008, approximately 3,300 seventeen year olds and
approximately 2,800 sixteen year olds were not registered as participating in approved programs.
This is a concern as the desired outcome of the legislation is not being achieved, with
approximately 10% of the sixteen and seventeen year olds not being recorded as participating in
an approved program.

The currency of the data continues to be an issue. For example, it can take up to 3 months for a
student who becomes an apprentice to be reported by the school to DET, and processed by DET,
and for the data to be received by the Curriculum Council.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                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, reports for extracting statistics from SIRS were designed, tested and
implemented. These reports enable Curriculum Council staff and schools to readily access a wide
range of statistics relating to offerings, enrolments and achievements.

Annually, there are numerous ad hoc statistics requests from a wide range of people, agencies and
media. If the data can not be compiled from previously published statistics reports, then the
Information Services personnel write a SQL query to extract the information from SIRS.

With the introduction of SIRS reports, schools were able to access their Year 12 students’ results
from early January 2009. These reports included detailed analysis of examination performance by
each student in each subject/course, histograms for each subject/course, and summary statistics
about school performance in comparison with the state.


Enrolment trends
There has been an upward trend in the number of students completing the Western Australian
Certificate of Education. In 2008, there were 228 (216 in 2007) 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 2002 to 2006 and in Year 11 (D code) subjects and at least two
WACE course units in 2007 and 2008. There were 12 (28 in 2007) Year 10 students who were
enrolled in Year 12 (E code) subjects in 2008. Of these, 4 (13 in 2007) students were enrolled in at
least one TEE subject/WACE course as an examination candidate.


                                               1800
                                               1600
                          Number of students




                                               1400
                                               1200
                                               1000
                                                800
                                                600
                                                400
                                                200
                                                  0
                                                      2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008
                                                                           Year


                              Figure 5: Number of Year 10 students who enrolled in
                                         subject/course units, 2002–2008

Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander student enrolments
Table 4 indicates the number of Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who
enrolled with the Curriculum Council between 2004 and 2008. The number of enrolments
increased between 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006, there was a decrease in enrolments. This
may be a reflection of the change in the method of collecting data relating to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander students. From 2007, the numbers of enrolments increased, which may have been
a consequence of the communication with schools explaining the importance of data provided to
the Curriculum Council. In 2008, there was a dramatic increase in the number of students


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                            9
identified as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander due to this information being a mandatory
requirement when uploading student demographic information to the Curriculum Council.

Table 4: Year 12 Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander enrolments, 2004–2008
                                                            Number of students
             Ethnicity
                                      2004           2005        2006          2007            2008
   Aboriginal                          351            382          337          384             630
   Torres Strait Islander               25             30           10            5               5
   Both Aboriginal and Torres
                                        13            10               7               8             16
   Strait Islander
               Total                   389           422            354              397        651


External examinations enrolments
Over recent years the enrolment numbers to sit the examinations have fluctuated, with decreases
recorded in 2005, 2006 and 2008 and increases recorded in 2004 and 2007. The 2007 and 2008
figures are unusual and could be explained by the enrolment process. In these years, Year 12
students who enrolled in either a Stage 2 or Stage 3 course that had an external examination in
that year were automatically enrolled to sit for these examinations. As such, the 2007 and 2008
figures were higher than expected and were lower once schools had confirmed their students’
enrolments in the WACE course examinations (i.e. notified withdrawals).

Table 5: Change in the number of students enrolling for the examinations, 2004–2008

           June enrolments                    2004     2005          2006            2007      2008
  Total Year 12 enrolments               21,588       21,832        21,096      21,875       21,487
  Number of students enrolled to sit
  at least one TEE subject/WACE          14,585       14,269        13,533      18,068       16,860
  course examination
  Percentage change from previous
                                              +1.6      -2.2          -5.2       +33.5          -6.7
  year (at the same time)

Table 6 provides details of the students who enrolled to sit at least one TEE subject/WACE course
examination in the years 2004 to 2008.

The number of students who enrolled (October) to sit for one or more TEE subject/WACE course
examinations decreased (by 0.9%) from 13,855 in 2007 to 13,736 in 2008. Of the 13,736
students, 6,344 (2007: 6,436) were male and 7,392 (2007: 7,419) were female; 86 (2007: 61) were
Aboriginals/Torres Strait Islanders, 6,213 (2007: 6,485) attended a government school and 6,910
(2007: 6,938) attended a non-government school, 11,308 (2007: 11,517) attended schools in the
metropolitan area, 1,815 (2007: 1,906) attended country schools and 590 (2007: 419) students
studied overseas.

Table 6: Examination enrolments, as at October, 2004–2008 (one examination or more)
  Enrolments                              2004              2005             2006            2007          2008
  Gender
  Male                                   6,353              6,322            5,881           6,436         6,344
  Female                                 7,393              7,085            6,782           7,419         7,392
  System/sector
  Government                             7,282              6,725            5,988           6,485         6,213
  Non-government                         6,046              6,261            6,161           6,938         6,910
  Overseas                                 339                391              492             419           590
  Private candidates                        79                 30               22              13            23
  Location
  Metropolitan                          11,378          11,012             10,254           11,517        11,308
  Country                                1,950           1,974              1,895            1,906         1,815
  Overseas                                 339             391                492              419           590
  Private candidates                        79              30                 22               13            23


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                10
Table 7 provides details of the students who enrolled to sit at least four TEE subject/WACE course
examinations in the years 2005 to 2008.

Table 7: Examination enrolments, as at October, 2005–2008 (four or more examinations)*
  Enrolments                          2005          2006            2007           2008
  Gender
  Male                               5,167         4,694           5,183          5,261
  Female                             5,895         6,782           6,015          6,179
  System/sector
  Government                         5,127         4,581           4,824          4,763
  Non-government                     5,534         5,397           5,952          6,085
  Overseas                             391           492             419            586
  Private candidates                    10             8               3               6
  Location
  Metropolitan                       9,028         8,407           9,313          9,376
  Country                            1,633         1,571           1,463          1,472
  Overseas                             391           492             419            586
  Private candidates                    10             8               3               6
        *Data were analysed in this way from 2005.

The figures in tables 6 and 7 show the following.
• More females were enrolled to sit the examinations than males in all years.
• The percentage change of country students enrolling to sit the examinations has fluctuated
   each year (from an increase of 1% in 2004 to a decrease of 5% in 2008). However, for
   metropolitan students enrolling to sit examinations, the percentage change was higher than for
   country students. Between 2006 and 2007, there was an increase of 12% of metropolitan
   students enrolling to sit examinations.
• There was an overall increase in the number of students enrolling to sit the examinations from
   overseas schools in 2008.
• Approximately 83% of the students who enrolled in an examination, enrolled to sit four or more
   examinations.

As indicated in figure 6, the most frequent number of TEE subject/WACE course examinations
enrolled in over the last five years was five.

Of the 41 examinations, English had the highest number of enrolments with 10,125 (2007: 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 7,488 (2007: 7,739, 2006: 7,425, 2005: 7,546, 2004: 7,702,
2003: 8,714, 2002: 8,607 and 2001: 8,002). Hebrew and Japanese: Advanced had the lowest
number of enrolments with four students each. Previously, the lowest enrolments had occurred in
Hebrew. In 2007, four students had enrolled in this subject.

                                         7000
                    Number of students




                                         6000
                                         5000
                                         4000
                                         3000                                                  2004
                                                                                               2005
                                         2000                                                  2006
                                                                                               2007
                                                                                               2008
                                         1000
                                           0
                                                1    2      3     4     5      6     7     8

                                                    Num ber of TEE subjects/WACE courses


                      Figure 6: Number of students enrolled for a specific number of
                                       examinations, 2004–2008


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                           11
In 2008, WACE course examinations were held for the first time in Applied Information Technology,
Earth and Environmental Science, English as an Additional Language or Dialect and Physical
Education Studies. The number of students enrolled to sit each of the course examinations was
1,260, 109, 1,008 and 1779 respectively.

Applications were also received from 23 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 2008, the number of students who sat at least one TEE subject/WACE course examination
(11,855) increased when compared with 2007, 2006 and 2005 (2007: 11,765, 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/courses due in part to the
increase in the number of examination subjects/courses available. Increases were recorded in 7 of
the examinations, with conspicuous increases (more than 15%) being recorded in the following
examinations: Aviation (15.2%), Calculus (17.4%) and Engineering Studies (32.1%). There was a
decrease in the percentage of students sitting for 24 of the examinations. There were large
decreases in the proportion of candidates who sat the examinations in Chinese: Second Language
(45.2%), Indonesian: Advanced (58.7%), Japanese: Advanced (40.0%) and Malay: Advanced
(62.3%). The number who sat the Indonesian: Advanced TEE has decreased for nine successive
years.

Table 8 shows the change in the number of candidates who sat the TEE/WACE course
examinations from 2004 to 2008.
Table 8: Change in the number of students who sat the TEE/WACE examinations, 2004–2008

                                                  2004     2005     2006     2007     2008

Candidates who sat at least one
examination                                      11,652   11,610   10,953   11,765   11,855
Percentage change from previous year               -6.2     -0.4     -5.7      7.4      0.8
Candidates who sat at least four
                                                 10,273   10,437    9,989   10,757   10,982
examinations
Percentage change from previous year               -6.6      1.6     -4.3      7.7      2.1
Total candidates for TEE/WACE
                                                 51,537   51,897   49,273   52,625   53,863
examinations

These figures show the following.
•     The number of candidates who sat at least four TEE subject/WACE course examinations
      between 2004 and 2008 has fluctuated.
•     Of the 13,736 candidates who were enrolled to sit one or more of the 2008 TEE subject/WACE
      course examinations, only 11,855 of these actually sat these examinations. This represents a
      13.7% absentee rate (15.1% for 2007, 13.5% for 2006, 13% for 2005 and 15% for 2004).
•     Of the 11,440 candidates who were enrolled to sit four or more of the 2008 TEE subject/WACE
      course examinations, 10,982 of these actually sat these examinations in 2008. This represents
      a 4% absentee rate (4% for 2007, 5% for 2006, and 6% for 2005 and 2004).
•     Of the 58,693 candidate/subject enrolments, there were only 53,863 candidates/subjects
      present. This represents an absentee rate of 8.2% (8.2% for 2007, 8.2% for 2006, 8.4% for
      2005 and 9.1% for 2004).

Enrolments: vocational education and training (VET)
An enrolment in a unit of competency can lead to the competency being achieved, competency not
being achieved, withdrawal or continuing enrolment. Enrolments in units of competency are
represented in tables 9 and 10. In addition, in 2008, there were 131 students (139 in 2007, 226 in

    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                12
2006; 84 in 2005 and 152 in 2004) given recognition of prior learning (RPL) in 604 competencies
(812 in 2007, 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 9: Year 12 enrolments in at least one unit of competency, 2004–2008
                                        2004          2005        2006       2007                          2008
   Number of students who
   enrolled in at least one unit of    5,889         6,329       6,411      6,192                         6,809
   competency
   Number and percentage* of
                                       5,527         6,147       6,158      6,071                          6,248
   students who studied at least
                                     (93.8%)       (97.1%)    (96.1%)     (98.1%)                        (91.8%)
   one unit of competency
   Number and percentage* of           1,052           897         443        648                          1,769
   students who withdrew             (17.9%)       (14.2%)      (6.9%)    (10.5%)                        (26.0%)
   Number and percentage* of
                                       5,106         5,689       5,742      5,662                          5,764
   students who achieved at least
                                     (86.7%)       (89.9%)    (89.6%)     (91.4%)                        (84.6%)
   one unit of competency
  *Percentage is calculated of the number of students who enrolled in at least one unit of competency.

Table 10: Units of competency studied by Year 12 students, 2004–2008
                                            2004       2005        2006                       2007          2008
   Number of units of competency in
                                           61,643     59,713      61,822                     68,479        79,392
   which students were enrolled
   Number and percentage* of units of      50,082     56,235      59,976                     65,202        71,761
   competency in which students studied   (81.2%)    (94.2%)     (97.0%)                    (95.2%)       (90.4%)
   Number and percentage* of units of
                                            4,648      3,478       1,846                      3,277         9,164
   competency in which students
                                           (7.5%)     (5.8%)      (3.0%)                     (4.8%)       (11.5%)
   withdrew
   Number and percentage* of units of
                                           39,668     46,975      57,574                     56,706        60,514
   competency in which students
                                          (64.4%)    (78.7%)     (93.1%)                    (82.8%)       (76.2%)
   achieved competency
  *Percentage is calculated of the number of units of competency in which students were enrolled.

Of the students who studied four or more TEE subject/WACE course examinations, 8% also
completed at least one VET unit of competency. This compares to 6%, 7%, 8% and 8% of
students who studied at least four TEE subject/WACE course examinations and completed
competencies in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively.


School performance data
The Year 12 performance data were released at a media conference on Thursday 8 January 2009.
The heads of the school sectors and systems made comments on the data and answered media
questions. The data released were in the same format as for 2007. 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. 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. A review of the statistics that are released to the
media regarding Year 12 school data will be conducted early in 2009.


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




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                   13
Section 4: Setting the examinations

High-quality examination papers were produced as a prerequisite for valid and credible assessment of
student achievement.

In 2008, there were 33 examinations in tertiary entrance subjects and 8 examinations in WACE
courses. The WACE courses included Aviation, Engineering Studies, English and Media
Production and Analysis, and four courses examined for the first time: Applied Information
Technology, Earth and Environmental Science, English as an Additional Language or Dialect and
Physical Education Studies. In addition to a written paper, some examinations had a practical
component (oral interview, portfolio or performance).

Examining panels appointed within Western Australia by the Curriculum Council set 28 tertiary
entrance examination papers and the 8 WACE examination papers. Each panel consisted of a
minimum of three examiners nominated by the universities and the schools sector. The remaining
five examination papers were imported from other states – Hebrew and Arabic from the Victorian
Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Modern Greek and Spanish from the Senior Secondary
Assessment Board of South Australia, and Japanese: Advanced from the New South Wales Board
of Studies.

In addition, examiners appointed by the Curriculum Council developed a two-hour test of English
language competence. This test provides students with a safety net for meeting the English
language competence standard for secondary graduation. A standards package comprising the
criteria used to determine English language competence and student work demonstrating the
minimum standard of English language competence in relation to the criteria was sent to schools to
enable them to determine which students needed to sit the test. The standard was developed in
consultation with representatives from a range of stakeholders in industry, the system/sectors and
various community agencies.

Quality control
Following an external review commissioned by the Curriculum Council after the 2007
examinations, and in anticipation of the complexities of setting a number of hybrid WACE
examinations (catering for the combinations 2A/2B, 2B/3A and 3A/3B in a single paper), the
development of papers underwent significant innovation. This involved both sample and final
papers. As in previous years, 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 expert in the relevant subject or course
    • an examinations development officer
    • the chief executive officer
    • the manager of the certification and examinations branch
    • a proof reader
    • a final checker (nominated by the appropriate ARM panel or reference group).
However, the role of the curriculum expert was expanded, greater attention given to the
development of marking keys and grids that mapped examination papers to the syllabus, and a
new system of tracking documentation was implemented.

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 errata notices
for three examinations to examination centres. For Economics, this concerned a change of
preposition for one question and a change in date-form for another question. For Human Biology, it
concerned the change in clock-time for one question and a modification of the wording of another
question. For Physics, it concerned the addition of a word to a question.

A CD-ROM containing the stimulus material for the Media Production and Analysis examination
was sent to candidates during week 7 of Term 3.

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                        14
Production of modified examination materials
To accommodate a number of candidates with specific requirements, 68 modifications were made
to examination papers according to the following specifications:
        Number       Modification
         5           Printed on pink paper
         4           Printed on green paper
         4           Printed on buff paper
         5           Printed in Arial 16-pt on A4 paper
         5           Printed in Arial 18-pt on blue paper
         9           Printed in Arial 14-pt on A4 paper
         1           Printed in Comic Sans 12-pt, on gold paper
         5           Printed in Comic Sans 18-pt, on blue paper
         5           Printed in Arial 11-pt, one-and-half space
         4           Printed with additional space to write answers
         1           Reformatted to specific requirements
         12          Enlarged to A3, printed on one side only
         6           Written descriptions of photos/images
         4           Aural recording of examinations
         4           Dotted thirds for answer spaces
         1           Modified Geography broadsheet.
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, since additional
instructions and marking guides were required for these modified papers. The total number of
modifications was 68. By comparison, 61 and 80 modified papers were required in 2007 and 2006
respectively.

All the TEE/WACE sound recordings were made at a professional recording studio that 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
2008 compared with 2007 was due to the introduction of the four new WACE courses, especially
the Physical Education Studies practical examination, and the increase in payment rates for
examinations. The cost for 2008 was $497,429, compared with $365,418 for 2007. A breakdown
of costs is given in Appendix B.

Continuing and future improvements
In 2009, examinations for 21 WACE courses, including 13 new courses, will be developed. For
each course, to cater for the variation in students’ capabilities separate Stage 2 and Stage 3
WACE examinations will be implemented.

In total, 21 TEE and 80 WACE sample and final examinations will be developed. As part of the
process of producing sample and final examination materials for new courses, a number of
changes have been planned and already are in the process of implementation:
• The timeline for examination development has been brought forward to ensure that final papers
    meet their deadlines.
• The system of recruiting examiners has been changed from one of nomination to one of
    selection through advertisement.
• The examining group that develops sample WACE papers will be the same group that
    develops final WACE papers, in order to ensure continuity of development.
• The structure of examining groups has been changed to accommodate the introduction of
    separate Stage 2 and Stage 3 examinations, with a new position – coordinating examiner –
    created to ensure linkage and difference between the stage examinations.
• The emphasis of the Examining Group Handbook has been changed from formatting to the
    construction of questions, marking keys and grids of content.
• A greater number of Council officers, with course expertise, will have more involvement in
    examination development, without compromising examination security.

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                   15
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 four 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.

In 2007 a number of issues arose with the process used to assess applications within the specific
learning disability, ADD/ADHD and psychological categories of disability. As a result of these
concerns, a review was undertaken by an independent expert in these fields. Following this review
a new decision-making process was initiated for applications in these categories for 2008.

Initially, all applications were categorised according to disability, then a panel of disability experts
determined the special examination arrangements that were appropriate to accommodate the level
of disability demonstrated. The applications from the specific learning disability, ADD/ADHD and
psychological categories were considered by a pair of specially trained assessors. This pair
comprised an educational psychologist and a school-based person with experience in
administration and education for students with learning disabilities.

The amended procedures continued to contribute to the consistency and fairness of the decision-
making process. Straightforward applications received prior to the deadline were processed
quickly with applicants advised of the outcome of their requests at the start of Term 3.

Where schools did not agree with the initial decision regarding the granting of special examination
arrangements, they were able to lodge an appeal. Appeals were considered by a specially
convened special examination arrangements appeals committee. In many of these appeals the
school provided additional evidence and the decision was reviewed in response to the new
information provided. In the majority of these cases the school should have provided the
information with the initial application. The appeals committee has recommended that in 2009 the
two-stage review process used in previous years be re-established. Requests providing additional
evidence should be treated as a request for a review, and the decision be made by the initial
assessment teams. Only those applicants without additional evidence to support an application or
requests falling outside standard policy should appeal against the decisions of the initial assessors.
An independent appeals group would consider these appeals only.

Access
The number of applications for special examination arrangements decreased marginally in 2008,
as did the proportion of applications to candidates. A total of 309 applications (327 in 2007) were


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                        16
received for 2008. This represents 2.25 % (2.36 % in 2007) of the number of candidates who were
enrolled to sit at least one TEE/WACE examination.

Table 11 shows the changes in application figures between 2007 and 2008. 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 independent schools still represent almost half of all
applications, yet this sector has only 27% of TEE/WACE candidates.

Table 11: Distribution of special examination arrangements applications, 2007–2008
                                                                                              2007                                                           2008
   School system
                     Applications                                                        %        Enrolments             %             Applications      %          Enrolments         %
  Government                                       88                                  26.9           6,415             46.6                  96       31.1           6,122           45.0
  Catholic                                         85                                  26.0           3,214             23.3                  64       20.7           3,202           23.5
  Independent                                     154                                  47.1           3,716             27.0                 148       47.9           3,678           27.0
  Overseas                                          0                                   0.0             409              3.0                   1        0.3             589            4.3
  Private                                           0                                   0.0              13              0.1                   0        0.0              23            0.2
  Total                                           327                                   100          13,767             100                  309        100          13,614            100

Figure 7 illustrates the difference in application rate between the systems/sectors, shown as a
percentage of their TEE/WACE candidate enrolment.


                                                4.5
                                                 4
                     Percentage of enrolments




                                                3.5
                                                 3
                                                2.5                                                                                                          2007
                                                 2                                                                                                           2008
                                                1.5
                                                 1
                                                0.5
                                                 0
                                                                             Governm ent           Catholic       Independent                Total


                       Figure 7: Special examination arrangements applications as a
                                   percentage of enrolments, 2007–2008

Figure 8 shows the percentage of candidates from each category of location who applied for
special examination arrangements. The proportion of metropolitan students who made application
(2.59%) was more than double that of country students (0.96%). Only one overseas candidate and
no private candidates made application in 2008.

                                                                             3.5

                                                                              3
                                                  Percentage of enrolments




                                                                             2.5

                                                                              2                                                                       2007

                                                                             1.5                                                                      2008

                                                                              1

                                                                             0.5

                                                                              0
                                                                                   Metropolitan   Country    Overseas        Private        Total
                                                                                                     Location of school/college


                                                Figure 8: Special examination arrangements applications
                                                                  by location, 2007–2008


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                                                                      17
The number of applications received from each school/college is shown in figure 9. Applications
were received from 98 (86 in 2007) schools. Most schools submit one or two applications. There
were nineteen schools that submitted five or more applications and eight schools that submitted
ten or more applications. Three schools have continued to submit applications equivalent to at
least 10% of their examination candidature.


                                                            30


                                                            25
                               Number of schools/colleges
                                                            20

                                                                                                              Government
                                                            15                                                Catholic
                                                                                                              Independent
                                                            10


                                                            5


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


                     Figure 9: Number of applications per school/college by sector, 2008

Thirteen eligible schools have been identified as not having submitted any applications during the
six years 2003–2008. These schools comprise seven metropolitan schools and six country
schools. During 2008, these schools will be encouraged to make use of the special examination
arrangements provisions, should they have eligible students.

Of the applications, 21 (6.8%) were not supported (27 in 2007 – 8.2%). This represents a slightly
lower proportion of applications not approved than last year, but is consistent with the historical
rates (4.6% in 2006, 4.5% in 2005, 7.4% in 2004). 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 21 appeals, of which 16 were upheld due to the provision of further
evidence.

Statistics for each category of disability are displayed in table 12.

Table 12: Special examination arrangements by disability category, 2008
                                Government                                              Non-government                                       Not
   Category                                                                                                                  Approved                  Withdrawn   Total
                        Male                                Female        Total       Male       Female       Total                        approved
   ADD/ADHD              4                                        4         8          18           1          19                25              0           2       27
   Hearing               2                                        1         3           1           2           3                 6              0           0        6
   Illness               4                                       14        18          11          16          27                42              1           2       45
   Fine motor           12                                        3        15          16           9          25                38              1           1       40
   Physical              3                                        2         5           1           8           9                14              0           0       14
   Psychological         8                                        3        11           6           8          14                23              1           1       25
   SLD*                 16                                        9        25          59          52         111               114             18           4      136
   Vision                5                                        6        11           2           3           5                14              0           2       16
   Total                54                                       42        96         114          99         213               276             21          12      309
 * SLD means specific learning disability


The 276 successful applications for special examination arrangements covered a total of 1,191
examinations, an average of 4.3 examinations per candidate.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                                                        18
Communicating the access to special examination arrangements
In 2008, education sessions emphasised the importance of evidence of the impact of the disability
on the student’s performance in timed assessments.
    • A series of 10 seminars was conducted for school-based personnel and other professionals
       involved with case-management of students with disabilities. The seminars were
       conducted with the assistance the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation.
    • Sessions were held in five locations for personnel from all systems/sectors, including two
       country regions, and two separate sessions were conducted for professionals working with
       students with disabilities. A total of 195 people from 101 schools plus district and central
       education offices and independent practices attended.
    • The unique needs of candidates with severe disabilities were addressed as required.
    • Individual consultations were conducted as required.

Resourcing the arrangements
A total of 69 examination centres catered for the candidates with special examination
arrangements at a cost of $28,413 for the supervision. The arrangements included allowing the
use of a scribe for candidates unable to write or type, an Auslan interpreter for a hearing-disabled
candidate and hospital supervision for an in-patient candidate. Assistance from supervisors from
the Vision Education Service of the Education Department is gratefully acknowledged.

This year a regional centre was established at Mater Dei College to cater for special candidates
from the far northern suburbs. This brought to seven, the number regional centres catering for
students with special examination needs. As in previous years, Tuart College, Canning College,
Guildford Grammar School and Kolbe Catholic College in the metropolitan area and Bunbury
Cathedral Grammar School (Bunbury) and Nagle Catholic College (Geraldton) also provided
locations for students with a diverse range of special examination conditions to sit examinations.

Continuing and future improvements
Early in 2008, a high-level review was undertaken that led to a revision of the process used to
grant special provisions in examinations in three categories of applications. The aim was to
improve the efficiency of approving applications and further enhance the consistency of decisions.
Written and anecdotal feedback have reflected that both of these aims have been achieved. The
next challenge is to address the inequities in applications from students in lower socio-economic
areas. The following specific activities will be undertaken during 2009.
•      The management of special provisions in the context of expanded examinations will also
       require considerable attention.
•      There will be continued involvement with the ACACA special provisions group to ensure
       national consistency is maintained.
•      Schools with poorly supported applications in 2008 will be contacted with the view to improving
       the quality of their applications in 2009.
•      The appeals committee has recommended that in 2009 the two-stage review process used in
       previous years be re-established. Requests providing additional evidence should be treated
       as a request for a review, and the decision be made by the initial assessment teams. Only
       those applicants without additional evidence or requests falling outside policy should constitute
       an appeal. An independent appeals group would consider these appeals only.
•      The feasibility of developing an on-line application and response process for special
       examination arrangements was discussed through the ACACA network, and referred to a joint
       project with the other states for further investigation.
•      A benchmark will be established for the amount of writing expected of candidates in an
       external examination situation. This benchmark will assist in determining if a candidate
       deemed to have impaired handwriting speed (from clinical tests) is likely to be disadvantaged
       in an examination situation. Research will be carried out based on recent examinations, with
       the results made accessible to schools and relevant professionals.


    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                  19
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 2008, the Curriculum Council conducted thirty-three tertiary entrance examinations and eight
WACE course examinations. Each subject or course had a two-and-half-hour or three-hour written
examination. Additionally, candidates in languages subjects had an oral interview while Aviation,
Drama Studies, Music and Physical Education 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 with special examination arrangements as
well as supervision of the written examinations.

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 12 subjects and two courses for approximately 3,991
candidates, while 810 Art visual diaries were marked.
In 2008, for the first time, there was practical examination in Physical Education Studies, for which
a total of 1,619 candidates were examined. Of these, 1,587 candidates were assessed in 14
different sports at 13 different venues in the metropolitan area, over six days in the Term 3
holidays. The remaining 32 candidates were permitted to be assessed in 18 other unlisted sports,
via a portfolio submission. The Physical Education Studies candidates were timetabled into group
sessions. The size of the group varied with the sport. Where possible, the groups comprised
candidates of similar sporting ability. The examination involved a series of drills. These drills were
recorded by video for later marking. The development and implementation of the Physical
Education Studies practical examinations provided significant challenges and proved to be a costly
exercise, with an overall expenditure of $554,371. As full report of this examination is attached.

During the October school holidays, 876 Drama Studies candidates were examined in the
performance component of the course at two metropolitan and five country venues Candidates
from some country areas travelled to Perth for their practical examination.

Practical examinations in Aviation were held at Kent Street Senior High School during the October
school holidays, with 57 candidates being examined via computer simulation. Examinations were
also conducted in Singapore for five candidates at St Francis Methodist School.

The interviews for the language examinations were also held prior to the written examinations.
Oral examinations also took place in Bunbury (Japanese: Second Language), Geraldton
(Japanese: Second Language) and Kuala Lumpur (German). Telephone interviews were
conducted for non-metropolitan candidates in Indonesian: Second Language (two students) and
Italian (six students). All country schools and candidates were contacted to offer them the option
of video conferencing for their language oral examinations. Video conference interviews were
conducted for Japanese: Second Language (five students) and French (one student). Candidates
in Modern Greek (11 students), Arabic (14 students) and Hebrew (three students) were all
examined by telephone as these examinations are set by interstate agencies. One candidate in
Hebrew chose to fly to Melbourne for her examination.
The Music performance examinations began on Tuesday 30 September and were conducted at
the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Hale School for metropolitan area
candidates. Some country students were examined in Busselton and Albany, whilst others

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                         20
travelled to Perth for their examinations. More than 360 students were examined on twenty-eight
different instruments, with eight candidates choosing to do two half-electives and sixteen
submitting projects as their electives option.

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 2008, two candidates were examined in Polish, using the examination set by
SSABSA, and their oral interviews were conducted by telephone.


English language competence test
The English Language Competence Test is designed to give students the opportunity to
demonstrate their capacity to fulfil the language competence component of the Western Australian
Certificate of Education. Scripts are marked as either having passed or failed. The performance
criteria and annotated student samples that represent the minimum level of English language
competence necessary to interact effectively in the broader community are used to mark the
scripts. 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 Friday 31 October 2008.
There were 74 schools (101 in 2007) that administered the test to 265 students (358 in 2007).
76% of these students (201) passed this test. This result compares favourably with 2007 when
75% of candidates passed the test.




                                                    1,600
                           Students participating




                                                    1,400
                                                    1,200
                                                    1,000
                                                     800
                                                     600
                                                     400
                                                     200
                                                       0
                                                       1994   1996   1998   2000   2002   2004   2006   2008
                                                                               Year


             Figure 10: Participation in the English language competence test, 1994 - 2008

There was a significant fall in the number of students sitting the English language competence test
in 2008. This can most likely be attributed to a change in the method by which students are able to
demonstrate they have met the minimum standard necessary for WACE English language
competence. Schools are now able to make professional judgements as to whether a student has
achieved the standard of competence by using the criteria and exemplars provided in the 2008
Guide to WACE English Language Competence to evaluate samples of student work.


Written examinations
The written examinations were held over a 15 day period between Monday 3 November and Friday
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.

Candidates from seven overseas schools located in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and
China sat for examinations in 17 subjects being offered by these institutions. Three students sat a

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                    21
total of eight examinations outside Western Australia. Two students sat their examinations in
Victoria. One student sat his examinations in China.

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 with
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.

There were 725 people employed as supervisors (128 chief supervisors and 597 supervisors) at
133 examination centres throughout the state. All metropolitan and some country chief supervisors
attended a three-hour meeting on 27 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, new multiple-choice sheets,
new script labels and new payment allocation forms.

Examination visits
During the written examinations, Curriculum Council staff made128 examination centre visits to 68
examination centres (111 visits to 60 centres in 2007). Nine metropolitan centres with a new chief
supervisor received a visit on the first day of the examinations and special consideration was given
to targeting schools that had problems or had not received a visit in 2007. Few problems were
identified by visiting staff. Overall they reported that examination venues were satisfactory,
supervisors were well organized and pro-active 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.

Candidate identification
Personalised examination timetables were produced in the same format as in 2007. 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. 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 2008 TEE/WACE examinations, 11 candidates were reported by examination centre
supervisors as having breached the examination rules. Ten of these candidates were found by the
breach of examination rules committee to have breached the examination rules.

The following items were found in the possession of candidates during the examination:
•    seven had a mobile telephone;
•    one had an MP3 player;
•    one had an unlisted calculator in a mathematics examination; and
•    one had a calculator in an examination that banned electronic aids.

In addition, one candidate dishonestly signed a declaration of authenticity stating that all Art
portfolio work submitted for assessment had been completed in 2008.



 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                        22
The breaches of examination rules committee decided that all of the candidates in possession of
mobile phones, MP3 players and banned calculators should lose 5 per cent of their examination
marks. The candidate in possession of an unlisted calculator was found not to have breached the
examination rules, as the model in use was an earlier version than those currently approved by the
Curriculum Council. The candidate who dishonestly signed the Art portfolio declaration of
authenticity was found to have breached the examination rules, and lost 50% of the practical
examination mark.

Two candidates in possession of mobile phones appealed the committee decision. One of these
candidates had their appeal upheld because the phone was turned off and was in a bag at the
front of the room when the alarm activated.

Resourcing the examinations
The cost of ensuring efficient and effective conduct of the examinations for all candidates in 2008
was $556,961. This is a 24% increase on the figure for 2007 ($450,362). Refer to Appendix B for
a breakdown of costs. This increase in cost was due to introduction of five new WACE course
examinations and general Consumer Price Index (CPI) costs associated with printing and
stationery.

The increased costs associated with production, conduct and marking of the examinations are
reflected in the increased average cost per candidate increasing from $48.42 in 2007 to $69.44 in
2008.

Continuing and future improvements
The following activities will be undertaken.
•     To minimise the disruption to schools, practical examinations will begin during Week 1 of the
      Term 3 holidays. Schools have been advised to inform their students of these arrangements.
•     In 2009, the number of practical examinations will increase. There will be a performance
      examination for Dance, an interview for Aboriginal Languages, Aboriginal and Intercultural
      Studies, English as an Additional Language or Dialect and a portfolio for Media Production
      and Analysis and Materials Design and Technology.
•     Video-conferencing will be encouraged for all country candidates in language examinations.
•     During 2009, analysis of the training requirements for supervisors will be undertaken. The
      number of examination candidates will increase due to changing WACE requirements, so too
      will the nature of the candidates sitting examinations change. There may be an increase in
      the number of candidates who are not necessarily focused on their examinations. Training of
      supervisors to deal with candidates who fit this category will need to be undertaken so that
      minimal disruption occurs within an examination.
•     An increase in the number of candidates sitting the examinations also impacts upon the
      coordination necessary to ensure examination papers are distributed to the examination
      centres. More security boxes, stationery and possibly extra packing and sorting staff will be
      required.
•     The breach of examination rules policy will be revised to include the following clause:
      (ii)   False declarations: Cancellation of part or all of the examination raw mark where the
             candidate falsely declares that the work presented for external assessment is their own
             and/or that it conforms to the specifications of the subject/course.
•     Schools will be advised to ensure that when signing a student’s declaration of authenticity
      form (e.g. for Art visual diary, Drama performance) the material is the student’s own and
      conforms with the specifications of the subject/course.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                  23
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.

In 2008, the Council introduced two electronic marking initiatives to accommodate country markers
and to be more time-efficient.

More than 900 teachers and university lecturers marked the practical and written examinations in
2008. Under the direction of chief markers nominated by the examining panel, marking began on
30 September 2008 with Drama Studies performance examinations and concluded on 8 December
2008 with the completion of reconciliation for all written examinations and final checks by chief
markers.

Practical examinations
Details of marking of practical examinations in 2008 are set out in table 13. Twelve TEE subjects
and two WACE courses had a practical component and 262 teachers, university lecturers and
coaches under the direction of chief markers and marking team leaders 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. Two markers flew to Singapore to examine candidates in
Aviation 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 SACE of SA and VCAA which set these examinations.

Table 13: Marking of practical examinations, 2008
                                            *
                                  Centres                                                             Markers
 Subject/course                                     Candidates**   Supervisors   Exam days                           ***
                                 M     C    O                                                  Applied Appointed Total

 Art                                  N/A                810             N/A         N/A         31       17       18
 Music                            2    2        -        365              5             9        35       28       29
 Drama Studies                    2    5        -        876              9             9        36       29       30
 Aviation                         1    -        1         62              1             3         2        4        6
 Chinese: 2nd Lang                1     -       -         16              1             1         2        3        4
 French                           1     -       -        345              2             3        20       21       23
 German                           1     -       1         87              2             2         7        8       10
 Indonesian: 2nd Lang             1     -       -         64              2             1         7        6        9
 Italian                          1    -        -        172              2             2         9       10       11
 Japanese: 2nd Lang               1    2        -        190              3             2        15       11       12
 Arabic                           1     -       -         14              -             1               N/A
 Hebrew                           1     -       -          4              -             1               N/A
 Modern Greek                    1     -        -         11              -             1               N/A
 Physical Education
                                13     -        -       1619            52              9        47       95     110
 Studies
          Total                 27     9        2       4635             79           44       211      237      262
*     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 2008                                                                               24
Written examinations
Public confidence in the tertiary entrance and WACE examinations is of utmost importance and, to
ensure this, the chief marker, curriculum officers and examination officers 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.

Following the introduction of online marking of the Media Production and Analysis scripts in 2007,
an independent review of the process was undertaken. This review highlighted the need for
improved marker training, marking that involved mainly short answer questions, and modifying the
reconciliation process.

In the light of this review it was decided that Calculus, Biology and English as an Additional
Language/Dialect, would be marked using ePEN software. The markers involved began trial
marking in October. This training proved to be useful. In November, 4,115 examination scripts
were marked online. The process proved to be positive and worthwhile for markers of Calculus
and Biology while EALD markers encountered problems and needed an extension of the marking
timeline. The online management was provided by Pearson Research and Assessment based in
Victoria. A report of the online marking can be found in Appendix J.

Examination marks were collected using teleform technology for established subjects with the
exception of Accounting. New courses had marks collected using an online marks collection
system. Markers used a computer to enter the marks directly onto the student’s marks collection
form on the screen and submitted the marks on completion. The courses involved were Aviation,
Applied Information Technology, Accounting, Earth and Environmental Science, Engineering
Studies, Media Production and Analysis, and Physical Education Studies. Reconciliation marks
were also collected electronically. With further refinements in 2009, the goal of increased security,
accuracy and speed will be achieved through this initiative. A report of the online marks collection
can be found in Appendix I.

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 2008 examinations involved the marking of 53,831 written scripts (52,551 in
2007, 49,273 in 2006) by 720 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.

Curriculum Council policy requires that, with the exception of subjects/courses with less than five
markers, marking teams for written examinations should include at least five new markers.
Engineering Studies and Italian had the largest percentage of new markers (66% and 55%
respectively). Four new courses were examined in 2008: Applied Information Technology, Earth
and Environmental Science, English as an Additional Language or Dialect and Physical Education
Studies. A total of 65 new markers were utilised to mark these new courses. Overall 208 (28%)
written markers were new in 2008, compared with 21% in 2007.


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                    25
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 253 candidates requested a results check in 458 examinations. This represents 0.8% of
the 53,866 examinations undertaken by candidates. Two errors were detected. By comparison
with previous years, 2007 had 632 checks (1.2%) and eight errors while 2006 had 431 checks
(0.9%) and two errors. The number of candidates requesting results checks has returned to the
same levels as those prior to 2007.

To date (29 January 2009), 126 candidates have submitted applications seeking a breakdown of
their examination scores in 281 examinations (129 candidates in 343 examinations in 2007).
Applications for statements of raw examination marks close on 13 March 2009.


Requests for scripts
Candidates who sat the examinations in 2008 were given the opportunity to purchase copies of
their examination scripts. Scripts are made available to candidates when all the processes
connected with the examination results have been completed. 205 scripts were requested by 84
candidates, which raised revenue of $2,387.50 ($3,157 in 2007 from 99 candidates).


The cost of marking the examinations
The total cost of marking the 2008 examinations was $2,394,002. This is a significant increase on
the costs for 2007. The cost of marking the written scripts was $1,719,177 compared to
$1,580,561 in 2007. The introduction on online marking for three subjects/course (Calculus,
Biology and English as an Additional Language/Dialect) required the creation of software to allow
markers to mark the scripts online. The cost of the ePEN software was in excess of $100,000.

The most significant reason for the increase in cost of marking the 2008 examinations was due to
the introduction of the Physical Education Studies practical examination. This component of the
examination cost $524,763 to mark.

The cost per candidate for the marking of an examination in 2008 ranged from $27 for Economics
to $350 for Physical Education Studies. See Appendix B for a breakdown of the marking costs for
examinations.


Continuing and future improvements
The following proposals are being considered for marking in 2009:
•     Extending online marking to include Discrete Mathematics and Applicable Mathematics as
     well as Biology, Calculus and EALD.
•    For all remaining subjects and courses, the marks are recorded using online marks collection
      technology.
•     A more comprehensive training program will be introduced for chief markers




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                 26
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 14, 15 and 16 provide statistics on sickness/misadventure applications received over the
past four years.

Table 14: Sickness/misadventure applications by sector and gender, 2008

School type                          Female                 Male                   Total              Enrolments*
Government                     111       40.2%        74       40.9%        185       40.5%          6,122 (45.1%)
Non-government                 164       59.4%        106      58.6%        270       59.1%          6,880 (50.6%)
Overseas schools                 1        0.4%          1       0.5%           2        0.4%             589 (4.3%)
           Total               276                    181                   457                              13,591
*    Number of school candidates enrolled to sit TEE/WACE (as of 2/12/08) – excludes totally private candidates.

In 2008, the number of applications received was 457, which represents a significant increase
(34%) on the number of applications received in 2007. Fluctuations from year to year are usually
the result of unpredictable and random events. However, this year the increase can be accounted
for by the large number of applications received from Physical Education Studies candidates
unable to complete the practical component of the examination due to illness/injury.




    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                     27
Table 15: Outcome of sickness/misadventure applications, 2005–2008
                                                   2005                          2006                       2007                 2008

All subjects accepted                        413      88.0%             317         86.6%            292       85.4%       405         88.7%
No subjects accepted                          39          8.5%              35          9.6%          31           9.0%     34          7.4%
Some subjects accepted                        17          3.5%              14          3.8%          19           5.6%     18          3.9%
               Total                         469                        366                          342                   457


Table 16: Sickness/misadventure applications by location, 2005–2008
                                    2005                             2006                            2007                       2008

Metropolitan area            403           86.0%            284             77.6%              253          74.0%         382          83.6%
Country                        63          13.4%             79             21.6%               84          24.5%          73          16.0%
Overseas                        3          0.6%                  3          0.8%                5            1.5%          2            0.4%
       Total                 469                            366                                342                        457

Of the 991 applications (relating to individual examination performances rather than candidates)
approved for written papers, 561 (56.6%) 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 three group claims considered by the committee. All claims related to situations within
the school that impacted on all students in a particular subject. Two claims were approved. The
third was declined as it related to a deficiency in teaching.

Appeals
There were four appeals lodged in 2008. These were considered by a specially convened appeals
panel. All appeals were dismissed, with the committee’s original decision upheld.

Continuing and future improvements
The Sickness/ Misadventure committee expressed concern about the large number of applications
from Physical Education Studies candidates unable to complete the practical examination,
compared to candidates sitting other subjects/courses with a practical component (see table 17).
The committee recommended that these students should have access to an alternate form of
assessment when it was obvious prior to the end of semester 1 that they were unable to attempt
the practical component of the course due to long-term injury. The approval rate for Physical
Education Studies candidates (4.5%) was over double the rate for Drama Studies candidates (2%)
and nearly six times that of Music (0.8%). Table A26 shows the overall application rate for each
subject/course.

Table 17: Sickness/misadventure applications approved for the practical component only
                                                                                                Number of
                    Subject/course                           Enrolment                                                    % of enrolment
                                                                                          applications approved
Art                                                                   791                             2                                0.3
Aviation                                                               53                             0                                  0
Drama Studies                                                         844                            17                                2.0
French                                                                324                             3                                0.9
German                                                                 86                             0                                  0
              nd
Indonesian: 2 language                                                 64                             2                                3.1
Italian                                                               179                             0                                  0
            nd
Japanese: 2 language                                                  192                             0                                  0
Music                                                                 354                             3                                0.8
Physical Education Studies                                           1641                            73                                4.5
Small candidature languages                                            46                             0                                  0




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                            28
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 2008 examination papers have been evaluated statistically and commented on by the public.


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 63-64).

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 13 subjects/courses (nine in 2007) the marks
spanned 90 or more percentage points and in a further nine subjects/courses (15 in 2007) the
range was 80–89. Subjects/courses with a range of 70 to 80 were: Biology, Engineering Studies
Stage 3, French, German, Italian and Physical Education Studies. Only one subject/course with a
candidature greater than 100 had a range of less than 70 percentage points, which was Earth and
Environmental Science, with 105 candidates spanning only 61 marks.
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: Advanced, Chinese: Second Language,
Indonesian: Advanced and Malay: Advanced, which all had a range of less than 70 percentage
points. Most notably, the range for Indonesian: Advanced was lowest at 34.

Level of difficulty
TEE/WACE examiners were asked to set examinations that would result in mean raw marks in the
range 55–60%, with 58& being the ideal because it is the mean score of the scaled mark scale
employed by the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre. Fourteen examining panels (19 in 2007, 15
in 2006, 13 in 2005) achieved the desired level of difficulty.
Five subjects (three in 2007) had comparatively easy papers with mean raw marks above 65 -
Chinese: Second Language (74.29), English Literature (65.28), German (66.26), Indonesian:
Second Language (66.42) and Music (67.70). Biology (63.70), Calculus (64.26), Italian (63.65)
and Malay: Advanced (63.10) also had high mean marks. Examiners of these subjects will be
asked to consider this when developing their papers in 2009.
Accounting (48.52), Aviation (47.83), Engineering Studies Stage 21 (49.49) and Physical Education
Studies2 (45.81) had comparatively difficult papers, and examiners of these subjects/courses will
be asked to consider this when developing their papers in 2009.

Reliability
Overall, the reliabilities of all the examinations in 2008 were high, considering that they were
untrialled tests. They ranged from 0.58 to 0.99 (0.63 to 0.98 in 2007). Eleven subjects had a
higher reliability in 2008 than in 2007, while eighteen had lower reliabilities. Two subjects had
reliabilities the same as those in 2007. The largest increase in reliability (from 0.61 in 2007, to 0.99
in 2008) occurred in Chinese: Second Language. This increase was not significant because of the
small number of candidates (17 in 2008, 31 in 2007). The largest decrease in reliability in 2008
occurred in Music, for which the reliability of 0.70 was 0.28 below the 2007 value.


1
  The Engineering Studies examination comprised three separate examinations which have been internally scaled to
produce this score.
2
  The Physical Education Studies examination comprised three separate examinations which have been internally scaled
to produce this score.

    Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                             29
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 0.79 (0.85 in 2007) and ranging from 0.43
to 0.96 (0.67 to 0.94 in 2007). An overall judgement that the external examinations assessed the
same achievements as the school-based assessments seems reasonable.


Summary of new examinations
Applied Information Technology
This year was the first year in which this course was externally examined. The structure of the
examination catered for candidates enrolled in 2A/2B, 2B/3A and 3A/3B units, with common
questions in Sections One, Two and Four and stage-specific questions in Sections Two and Three.

With a high separation index of 0.90, the linked examination design was a valid discriminator of
candidate ability. The mean examination score was 53.41% and a good range of marks were used
(4–87). In terms of scaled scores, candidates for this course achieved an average score of 50.81
(course loading of -7.19).

Aviation
Although 2008 was the third year in which this course was externally examined, it was the last time
that a combined Stage 2/Stage 3 examination format will be used, and significantly, the written
examination was restructured to take up 2 ½ hours, to conform with other examinations having a
practical component.

Some features evident in 2007 continued in 2008: the size of the examination cohort again
increased, up to 53 (44 in 2007); the mean examination score increased to 47.55 (compared with
the 2007 mean of 44.54); and candidates again scored significantly better on the practical
component than on the written component of the examination. In 2008, the range of marks attained
by the cohort improved (8–80%), but the course loading fell to -7.81 (-6.36 in 2007).

Earth and Environmental Science
WACE Earth and Environmental Science was externally examined for the first time in 2008. The
examination paper contained three available options (2A/2B, 2B/3A and 3A/3B) for candidates,
with common questions in each of the sections, as well as linkages between pairs of options.

The mean of the entire examination was 57.22%, close to an ideal level of difficulty. With a high
separation index of 0.89, the examination was deemed to be a valid measurement instrument. The
high concurrent validity of 0.84 also indicates that the external examination measured the same
construct as internal assessments set by teachers, a pleasing result for a course being examined
for the first time. Candidates for this course achieved an average scaled score of 53.03 (course
loading of -4.97).

Engineering Studies
This was the second year in which this course was externally examined, and the last time that the
Stage 3 paper will have significant overlap of items with the Stage 2 paper.
The mean examination score of 52.86 was significantly improved over the 2007 mean of 43.18.
The mean scaled score (53.81) and subject loading (-4.19) were also significantly improved over
the 2007 equivalents (51.07 and -6.93 respectively).

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                 30
As in 2007, the complexity of the examination paper, with six stage and context combinations,
required that raw examination results for each combination had to be rescaled to place them all on
the same scale before conducting the usual processes of standardisation, moderation and scaling.

English
This was the third year in which WACE English was examined. Over 9,000 candidates sat the
examination – by far the largest cohort for any course/subject examination. The structure of the
examination was the same for all students, from 2A to 3B. The paper was generally acknowledged
by the majority of markers as being a fair paper that addressed the key concepts in the course and
allowed for discrimination among candidates. The level of difficulty was well pitched with a mean
score of 58.39%, just slightly above the ideal of 58%. The range of marks was excellent – 97 to 1
– and statistical analysis showed that the internal reliability of the paper was very good. The
loading for the course was -1.81.

English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D)
This year was the first year in which this course, which replaced the subject English as a Second
Language (ESL) was externally examined. If the number of candidates who sat the ESL
examination is compared with the number of candidates who sat the EAL/D examination, there
was a significant increase in the size of the candidature from 693 in 2007 (ESL) to 949 in 2008
(EAL/D). The mean examination score was 60%, which was slightly higher than the recommended
mean score of 58%. The average scaled score received by candidates was 53.60 with a course
loading of -4.40.

Media Production and Analysis
This was the second year in which this course was externally examined, which may account for the
increase in the size of the candidature from 933 in 2007, to 1,240 in 2008. The structure of the
examination was common for all candidates (2A–3B) which followed the design of 2007. The
mean examination score in 2008 (51.39) was higher than the mean examination score in 2007
(46.77). The range of raw examination marks was 4–88. Candidates for this course received an
average scaled score of 53.88 (course loading of -4.12) which was similar to the average scaled
score of 53.95 (course loading of -4.05) in 2007.

Physical Education Studies
The WACE Physical Education Studies course was examined externally for the first time in 2008.
The examination consisted of a written paper worth 70% and a practical examination worth 30% of
the total examination. The average score for the total examination was 45.15%. The marks ranged
from 5% to 78%.

The written examination was a 2½ hour paper designed to sample syllabus content for three
groups of students; those who had studied either 2A/2B , 2B/3A or 3A/3B stages in Year 12.
The mean for the written paper was 43.67% indicating that the paper was difficult for students.
There was some concern that the examination brief restricted the degree to which the higher level
3A/3B content could be sampled curtailing these candidates the opportunity to show their superior
knowledge.

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 online examination
evaluation service was activated at the beginning of the examination period and closed on 28
December.
Appendix C is a compilation of the online comments about the 2008 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



 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                31
panel/reference group, will convey this feedback to the respective panels. A summary of the
frequency of comments by subject/course is given in table 18.
The summaries of comments presented in Appendix C are taken directly from the on-line
submissions. No attempt has been made to verify either the correctness of comments or whether
they are representative of general views.
.
Table 18: Distribution of evaluation comments on examination papers, 2008
                                Subject/course                No. of comments
                     Accounting                                       5
                     Applied Information Technology                   2
                     Art                                              1
                     Chemistry                                        1
                     Economics                                        2
                     English                                          9
                     English as and Additional                        1
                     Language/Dialect
                     Geography                                       1
                     History                                         1
                                  nd
                     Japanese: 2 Language (Oral)                     1
                     Physical Education Studies                      9
                     Physical Science                                1
                     Physics                                         1
                     Political and Legal Studies                     1
                                     Total                          36

Conclusions
The low level of adverse public comment for all subjects/courses must be regarded as positive. Of
the 36 comments received:
    • 10 contained comments (in reference to 7 subjects/courses) that were only positive or were
       largely positive with minor particular issues being raised;
    • 26 contained comments (in reference to 10 subjects/courses) which were negative about
       papers, with the majority concerning English and Physical Education Studies.
Statistical evidence from the 2008 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.

It may be concluded from the evidence that the 2008 examination papers provided valid and
credible assessment of the appropriate Year 12 subjects/courses.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                   32
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.

When assessing students for tertiary entry, fairness requires that student marks for each subject or
course must have the same unit value, regardless of the subject or course from which they are
derived and regardless of the school attended. This is required because the final marks in subjects
and courses must be capable of fair 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                Scaled Mark
                                                                           Mark
                                                                Standardised      Standardised
                                                               Moderated School   Exam
                                                               Assessment




      Raw
   Examination                Standardised
                              Examination



                                                                       Decile Place




                                   Figure 11: Marks adjustment process

This marks adjustment process is computerised, but manual calculations are routinely conducted
to ensure accuracy at every stage of the process. These integrity checks in 2008 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 Tertiary Entrance Rank, 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 or course for over twenty years, this perception still
persists.

In courses where there were significant optional parts (e.g. Applied Information Technology, Earth
and Environmental Science and Physical Education Studies) and/or significantly different
contextual parts (e.g. Engineering Studies) the raw examination marks were ‘standardised’ through
the use of Rasch analysis.

Statistical moderation
Statistical moderation is the process that ensures that, for each particular subject or course, school
assessment marks at each school are placed on a common state-wide scale of marks. These


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                            33
‘moderated’ assessment marks fairly contribute to calculations of combined scores, from which
scaled scores for a subject or course and, ultimately, Tertiary Entrance Ranks are calculated.

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
or course at a school. The Curriculum Council has provided schools with summaries of mean
school assessments and mean moderated assessments that they have used to refocus their
standards and help them to avoid unrealistically raising students’ expectations regarding the
external examinations.

In 2008, the process for removing anomalous performers from the statistical moderation population
was changed. For the first time, the anomalous performers at the top end (i.e. those candidates
whose examination performances were significantly greater than might be suggested by their
school assessments) were left in the population. The only students removed from the moderation
population were those candidates whose examination performances were significantly greater than
were suggested by their school assessments.

Small group moderation
Schools and colleges offering subjects/courses where it was anticipated that there would be fewer
than to 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 19, it is evident that around 50% of schools/subjects enter
into small group partnerships.

Table 19: School/subject cohorts, 2000–2008
                    Total no. of      No. of school/subjects in small group   Percentage of school/subjects in small
    Year
                  school/subjects                 partnerships                         group partnerships
    2008              2,941                          1,539                                    52.3
    2007              2,744                          1,462                                    53.3
    2006              2,618                          1,405                                    53.7
    2005              2,637                          1,444                                    54.8
    2004              2,621                          1,332                                    50.8
    2003              2,648                          1,414                                    53.4
    2002              2,592                          1,261                                    48.6
    2001              2,590                          1,236                                    47.7
    2000              2,559                          1,034                                    40.4

In 2008, 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 continuation of the recent trend of
an increasing number of partnerships that 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 study the same set of 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
41), adjustments must be made between subjects and courses; otherwise, candidates taking
difficult subjects or 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. A new process was introduced to cater for the small candidature interstate examinations of


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                 34
Modern Greek, Japanese: Advanced, Arabic and Hebrew. The outcomes of scaling, for all
subjects and courses, are detailed in tables A20 and A21 contained in Appendix F.


Continuing and future improvements
A proposed revision of control points for the standardised distribution created much discussion
during 2008. The agreed new distribution will be implemented in 2009. Significant features of the
new standardised distribution include a revised mean of 60 marks and a continuous distribution of
standardised marks from zero to 100.This new distribution should assist schools’ interpretations of
examination statistics and, in particular, moderation and scaling statistics.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                 35
Section 11: 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).

The period 2007 to 2009 is a transition time when students can achieve a WACE by studying
combinations of TEE and WSA subjects and WACE course units. During this time the WACE
requirements have been revised to incorporate the full range of achievements. In 2008, the
following modifications were made to the 2007 WACE requirements:
• Inclusion of endorsed programs. Students could include up to 50% of their WACE
     requirements from endorsed programs (including VET). Previously it was only 40%.
• The number of endorsed programs that could be used to calculate the C grade average
     increased to three. Previously, only two out of eight subjects could comprise endorsed
     programs for calculating the C grade average.
• Removal of the C grade average for the determination of the English language competence
     standard. In 2008, the standard was defined by work samples. SIRS defaulted to indicate that
     if a student had achieved at least one C grade in an English course unit, then they had
     achieved the WACE English language competence standard. There were 146 Year 12
     students who met the standard requirement by work samples.

The four public universities required, for the first time, that from 2008 onwards, school leavers must
achieve a WACE. This was introduced as the universities dropped the breadth requirement (list 1
and list 2) for the TER.


WACE achievement
In 2008, 18,853 Year 12 students were eligible for the Western Australian Certificate of Education
(WACE). Of these 18,092 achieved the WACE. Table 20 indicates that there has been a steady
increase in the percentage of students who achieved a WACE since 2003.

Table 20: Achievement of a WACE, 2002–2008
                        2002       2003        2004     2005     2006      2007       2008
    Eligible for a    18,457     18,883       18,697   19,243   18,817    19,121    18,853
    WACE
    Achieving a
                      17,202     17,576       17,671   18,300   18,041    18,357    18,092
    WACE
    Percentage of
                         93.2       93.1        94.5     95.1     95.9      96.0       96.0
    eligible cohort


In 2008, there were 362 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who were eligible for a
WACE. Of these, 312 achieved a WACE. The collection of data relating to Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander status has been unreliable in past years. Therefore, caution should be taken when
interpreting the figures in table 21 below.

Table 21: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement of a WACE, 2002–2008
                      2002     2003        2004      2005    2006     2007     2008
     Eligible for a
                        281      296         315      358      295      286       362
     WACE
     Achieving a
                        224      222         264      305      265      251       312
     WACE
     Percentage
                       79.7       75        83.8      85.2     89.8    87.8      86.2
     achieved

The achievement of WACE continues to be a significant issue for schools as they aim to have their
name appear in the First 50 school performance tables that are published in the media. To assist


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                         36
schools monitor their graduation rates a range of SIRS reports were developed. These reports
listed:
• full-time Year 12 students who would receive a WACE
• full-time Year 12 students who would not be receiving a WACE.
• all students enrolled at the school, identifying them as being either part-time or full-time.
Schools were able to run these reports after they had uploaded their Year 12 achievement data.
The reports could be run as many times as necessary to confirm that the uploaded Year 12
achievement were accurate.

As in 2007, 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. Six
applications (173 in 2007) from one school were received. The committee considered the study
program of each student and decided that the reason that these students did not meet the WACE
requirements was not due to the change in WACE rules by the Curriculum Council.


VET achievement
More Year 12 students are achieving VET units of competencies and qualifications, as evident
from tables 22 and 23 below. However, the accuracy of VET achievements is questionable as
several audits of the data reveal that schools are uploading to SIRS, enrolment and achievement
data that does not match with the Registered Training Organisations (RTO). In light of this finding,
a declaration form which required the Principal and each of the RTOs to endorse the accuracy of
the data was introduced. This form was not well received by the RTOs. Following the receipt of
the data and declaration form, the Council undertook spot audits on over twenty schools. Despite
these initiatives, since the publication of the Year 12 results, it has become evident that there are
still errors in schools’ VET data.

Table 22: Use of VET subject equivalents to achieve a WACE, 2002–2008
                     2002      2003      2004      2005     2006    2007         2008
     Eligible for a
                      N/A       263        314       515     545      751          857
     WACE

Table 23: Achievement of VET qualifications, 2004–2008
                                  2004        2005      2006         2007       2008
     Number of qualifications    1,840        2,726     2344         3,337      4,633
     Number of students         1,569        2,066     1,782        2,401       3,323
     Number of qualifications
     achieved through a            169         275        77            55         91
     traineeship


Certification changes for 2008
The wording printed on the statement of results was changed to reflect that the verification of VET
and endorsed program achievement must be undertaken with the provider. The explanatory notes
on the reverse side of the statement of results and WACE were updated to reflect the change in
WACE requirements and the reporting of course achievement.


Statements of equivalence
The Curriculum Council has legislative responsibility for archiving Year 12 achievements and for
the determination of equivalence for secondary qualifications achieved overseas. These
equivalence statements are required for people seeking entry into TAFEWA, university or
employment. The process involves the person’s overseas qualifications checked through an
international educational comparisons data base. This information is then aligned with Western

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                   37
Australian standards. There were 605 applications processed during 2008. Table 24 shows that
the majority of the applications were received towards the end of the year.

Table 24: Applications for statements of equivalence, 2008

                                              Month             Number
                                      January                     20
                                      February                    20
                                      March                       32
                                      April                       52
                                      May                         41
                                      June                        54
                                      July                        20
                                      August                      46
                                      September                   80
                                      October                     80
                                      November                    60
                                      December                   100
                                      Total                      605


Publication of Year 12 results
On 22 December 2008 (from 7:35pm onwards) Year 12 students were able to access their results
from the web. From 7:35pm on this day to midnight 22 December 2008, the site was visited by
6,410 students (5,664 in 2007) who accessed their results and viewed 14,074 results pages
(12,505 in 2007). The busiest hour occurred between 8:00 pm–9:00 pm on 22 December with
2,433 hits by 1,293 visitors.

The www.year12results.wa.edu.au website was a joint venture between the Tertiary Institutions
Service Centre and the Curriculum Council. To access results, a student’s Curriculum Council
number and date of birth were required. Results on the website were the same as those printed on
the statement of results.

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 23 December 2008.

Table 25: Number of statements of results issued, 2002–2008
                        2002       2003        2004     2005       2006     2007     2008
    Year 12            19,806     20,407      20,517   20,577     20,018   20,330   20,188

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 2008;
• order forms for the 2008 TEE/WACE examinations which included an application for results
   checks, order form for TEE/WACE examination scripts and order form for statement of raw
   examination marks;
• ‘Your marks’ brochure; and
• an Access Careers 2008 brochure (produced by the Department of Education and Training).

To ensure delivery on Wednesday 24 December 2008, the certificates for WA country and north-
west were lodged at the Perth Mail Centre at 7.30 am on the morning of Tuesday 23 December
2008 and the certificates for Perth metropolitan area were lodged at noon on Tuesday 23
December 2008.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                  38
Associated costs
Statements of results and Western Australian Certificates of Education were printed in-house and
the collation and dispatching outsourced. The base stock for these certificates was designed and
printed in the corporate colours in a manner that minimises the risk of 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.

The cost to produce the Western Australian Certificate of Education and statement of results in
2008 was $42,640.54 (for 2007 the amount was $41,686.82). The increase in cost was due in part
to an increase in the cost of collating and dispatching the certificates (from $4,726.83 in 2007 to
$5,256.74 in 2008) and an increase in the postage (from $21,072.69 in 2007 to $22,861.80 in
2008).

Continuing and future improvements
In 2009, the following activities will be the undertaken:
• developing standard statements for reporting on the course report;
• refining the course report layout;
• developing the SIRS program for the printing of the course report;
• trialing for the printing of statements of results for students who exit school on an approved
    notice of arrangement;
• designing the base stock for the course report and statement of results.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                  39
Section 12: 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 1,030 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, was
calculated for all eligible candidates. The top ranked candidate was recommended for the Beazley
Medal: TEE and the top 40 candidates for a general exhibition.

Two new general exhibitions were introduced in 2008. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
student with the highest Curriculum Council award score was granted one of the new awards. The
student for whom English was their second language or dialect and who had the highest
Curriculum Council award score was granted the other new general exhibition.

WSA awards
There were 58 wholly school-assessed subjects/courses (54 in 2007) listed for the awards in 2008.
Included in this number were five courses that had awards available for non-examination
candidates, three of which had awards for the first time. For these subjects/courses, schools
supported their outstanding students to nominate for an award. A total of 107 different schools
(100 in 2007, 110 in 2006, 105 in 2005) nominated 637 students (655 in 2007, 796 in 2006, 768 in
2005) for awards in 55 subjects/courses (51 in 2007, 53 in 2006, 50 in 2005). Some students
nominated for more than one subject. There were 62 students (56 in 2007, 90 in 2006, 84 in 2005)
who nominated for at least two subjects with 9 of these students nominating for three subjects.
Four students nominated for more than three subjects. Appendix H contains subject nominations
and an historical perspective. There were 8 subjects/courses (5 in 2007, 6 in 2006, 6 in 2005, 6 in
2004) that either had no nominations or in which no students were short-listed for interviews. Of
the 637 nominations received, 421 students were short-listed.
To continue to address the short timeframe available for the processing and timetabling of student
nominations, teleforms were used to register student nominations.
Panels representing the systems/sectors invited students to demonstrate their understanding of,
and achievements in, the subject/course through an interview, performance and/or submission of a
portfolio of work. There were 45 subjects/courses (45 in 2007) where interviews (including
performance) were required by the students. Another five subjects/courses (Art and Design,
English, Senior Science, Music in Society and Media Production and Analysis) required students to
only to submit work.
Interviews and review of work were held over a five-day period during the week commencing
Monday 20 October 2008 at six different venues (6 in 2007 as well). This involved 120 panel
members (107 in 2007) selecting award recipients from the 421 students (478 in 2007, 623 in
2006, 574 in 2005) whose nominations were short-listed.
Country students were given the choice of attending an interview in Perth or having an interview
via videoconferencing. The number of video-conferences decreased marginally with 28 (29 in
2007, 52 in 2006, 33 in 2005) set up for country students in eight different locations (nine in 2007).
Six of the country students interviewed via video-conference were recommended for certificates of
distinction, with two of these also being recommended for a subject exhibition. This year there
 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                         40
were also four requests for teleconferences. Three students interviewed via teleconference were
recommended for a certificate of distinction, with one of these students 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 short-list of students for the Beazley Medal: VET. The committee
granted the Beazley Medal: VET to the student who:
• had achieved more Curriculum Council awards than the other two short-listed students;
• was the only one of the three students to be awarded a certificate of excellence demonstrating
   that she had achieved a consistently high standard throughout her senior secondary schooling;
• had a coherent VET program with all of the units of competency contributing to the same AQF
   qualification; and
• had achieved a Certificate III in Business.

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 Aviation, German and Indonesian: Second
Language, was the committee granted a subject /course exhibition and certificate of distinction in
these subjects/course due to the high raw exam mark and combined mark. The committee
granted a certificate of distinction in Chinese: Second Language, Chinese: Advanced, Indonesian:
Advanced and Malay: Advanced due to the high combined mark.

Reviewing the policy and guidelines
The Awards Working Party met on one occasions during 2008. Following advice from the
Curriculum Council and a sub-group of the Awards Working Party, the group finalised the policy
and guidelines for 2009 and 2010. The 2010 Curriculum Council’s Exhibitions and Awards policy
and guidelines features the following:
• introduction of a set of awards to specifically recognise achievement in VET
       o Beazley Medal: VET
       o VET exhibitions
       o Certificates of distinction (VET)
• continuation of awards for outstanding achievement in WACE courses
       o Beazley Medal: WACE
       o Course exhibitions
       o Certificates of distinction
• revised criteria for the granting of certificates of excellence.


Announcement of the winners
The Minister for Education and Training announced the winners of the Beazley Medals at Kings
Park on Sunday 4 January 2009. The full list of award winners was published in The Sunday Times
on Sunday 4 January 2009.

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 Wednesday 11 February 2009 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


 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                   41
committed by 15 different organisations to assist with the conduct of the awards ceremony. In-kind
sponsorship has been committed by two organisations.


Summary of award winners
A Curriculum Council award was received by 749 students. A total of 1,030 (997 in 2007,1,086 in
2006,1,069 in 2005, 1,043 in 2004, 1,071 in 2003, 1,029 in 2002, 1,046 in 2001 and 999 in 2000)
awards were made in the categories shown in table 26.

Table 26: Number of exhibition and award winners, 2008
                                                                        Number
                                          Award
                                                                        awarded
                 Beazley Medal: TEE                                         1
                 Beazley Medal: VET                                         1
                 General Exhibitions                                       40
                 General Exhibition (Aboriginal and Torres Strait           1
                 Islander)
                 General Exhibition (English as Second Language/            1
                 English as a Second Dialect)
                 Subject Exhibitions                               55      57
                     TEE/WACE subjects/courses 33
                     WSA subjects                          22
                 Special Subject Awards                             2
                     TEE/WACE subjects/courses               2
                     WSA subject                             0
                 Certificate of Distinction                       386     398
                     TEE/WACE subjects/courses            282
                     WSA subjects                         102
                 Special Certificate of Distinction                12
                     TEE/WACE subjects/courses             12
                 Certificate of Excellence                                531
                                           Total                         1030




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                42
Section 13: 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, achievement of the WACE 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 2008 examinations began in August with The West Australian’s TEE Extra
feature that included frequently asked questions and study tips from subject experts and former
high-achieving students.

Media coverage in October included timely advice from the Council to candidates and their
parents.

During the examination there were newspaper articles on the English and Physical Education
examinations but most enquiries were about the examination arrangements and timetable.

The Curriculum Council awards and exhibitions eight-page liftout feature was coordinated by The
Sunday Times. The newspaper had a large picture on the front page of Beazley Medal winners,
Binu Jayawardena and Emma Hudson. The liftout contained stories on the highest-ranking girl,
Imogen Forbes-Macphail and a strong performance by Hale School which had seven students in
the top 40. Following targeted distribution of the awards data to local and regional media, most
papers ran stories about local winners. By mid-January, nearly 40 stories had appeared.

The release of school performance data at a media conference on 8 January 2009 was attended
by news teams from four television stations and reporters from The West Australian and The
Sunday Times.

A summary of the media coverage for the 2008 TEE period follows:
• TEE Extra colour liftout in The West Australian (15/08/2008);
• eight page colour lift-out in The Sunday Times honouring Curriculum Council award winners
   (4/01/2008);
• coverage by the four TV stations following a media conference at Kings Park on Sunday 4
   January 2008 at which the Premier, the Hon. Colin Barnett MLA, congratulated the Beazley
   Medal winners;
• extensive coverage by metropolitan and regional print media throughout January highlighting
   Curriculum Council award winners;
• the school performance data media conference held on 8/1/2008 was attended by all four TV
   stations, The West Australian and The Sunday Times. Coverage included ‘How your school
   rates’ (10/1/2008) in The West Australian. A story in The Sunday Times linked student results
   to how hard their teachers worked and compared government and non-government schools.


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 48 calls recorded. 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.

 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                            43
Post-examination results counselling
This year the post-results counselling commenced on the same day as the results were published
on the web (Tuesday 23 December 2008). The individual student results were available on the
Curriculum Council website prior to students’ statement of results being dispatched.

Thirteen 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. There
were 423 enquiries made by telephone, email and interview compared with 538 following the 2007
TEE. Of these enquiries, 13 (21 for 2007) were through interviews and 33 (32 for 2007) were
emails. The main area of concern related to school assessment and the achievement of the
WACE.

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.

                        140

                        120
   Number of contacts




                        100
                                                                                                                       Telephone
                        80                                                                                             Em ail

                        60                                                                                             Interview

                        40

                        20

                         0
                              23-Dec-08   24-Dec-08    29-Dec-08    30-Dec-08 31-Dec-08        02-Jan-09   05-Jan-09
                                                                   Dates of counselling period

                                                      Figure 12: Post-results counselling, 2008



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 32 written and verbal complaints
received in 2008. The majority of these complaints related to the new courses, Physical Education
Studies (10) and English (9).


Awards ceremony
Academic excellence is recognised by the Curriculum Council through the awards it offers to senior
secondary students. In 2008 there were 1,030 awards, granted to 749 students. Recipients of the
awards are to be presented with them at the Curriculum Council’s awards ceremony to be held on
Wednesday 11 February 2009 at The University of Notre Dame. More than 2,500 people have
been invited to attend the ceremony.




 Certification and Examinations Report 2008                                                                                44

								
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