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College Terminology


Program of study in a particular subject area e.g. Beginning Japanese, Media.

A Courses

A classification is given to courses that have been deemed by the Board to be educationally sound and appropriate for students in years 11 and 12.

T Courses

T classification is given to an accredited year 11 and 12 course that is considered by the Board to prepare students for higher education.

M Courses

M classification is given to an accredited course which is considered by the Board to provide appropriate educational experiences for students who satisfy specific disability criteria.

C Courses

C classification is given to a Board accredited vocational education and training program appropriate for students in Year 11 and 12, which is delivered and assessed by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) approved by the BSSS and registered by the national VET regulator ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) under the ASQA 2015 Standards for Registered Training Organisations.

W Units

Within vocational programs, Structured Workplace Learning units will be classified as W units.

H Courses

H classification is given to a year 11 and 12 course which is designed and accredited by an Australian higher education provider and where successful completion of the course will be recognised towards an undergraduate degree with that provider.

E Courses

E classification is given to a Board registered course which leads to a nationally recognised vocational qualification (Certificate or Statement of Attainment) that is delivered by an external Registered Training Organisation.

R Units or Courses

R classification is given to a registered unit or course that is appropriate for students in years 11 and 12, and is usually designed to provide personal development, recreational or community service activities.

Vocational Programs

Vocational Programs accredited by the Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS) may be classified as A, T, M, E or C.


Timetabled spaces each week for classes to operate. Students need 5 lines or 20 hours of timetabled contact as a minimum.


Courses are made up of units, which can either be a semester in length (1.0 standard unit) or a term in length (0.5 standard unit).

Standard Unit

A standard unit has a value of 1.0 and comprises a minimum of 55 hours of structured learning activities or one semester.

BSSS Certificates

Formal documents issued by the Board of Senior Secondary Studies at the end of year 12 include:

ACT Senior Secondary Certificate

To be awarded an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate a student must complete a coherent pattern of study which includes a minimum of 17 standard units forming at least four different courses (A or T or M or H or C or E) in a period not exceeding five years. There may be one break in study of up to one year. A maximum of two C or E courses can be used.

Tertiary Entrance Statement

The Tertiary Entrance Statement (TES) reports a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and information on the T or H courses the student studied. To be awarded a TES a student must complete a minimum of 20 standard units of which 18 standard units must be classified as A or T or M or H or C or E of which at least 12.5 standard units must be T or H. These units must be arranged to form at least 3 majors and 3 minors or 4 majors and 1 minor course with a maximum of one C or E course. Of these courses at least 3 majors and one minor course must be T or H. The student must also sit the ACT Scaling Test (AST) in their final year of study. These studies must be completed in no fewer than 3.5 semesters and no more than 5 years.

Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)

A student’s ATAR is calculated from the student’s best 3 T or H major scaled course scores plus 0.6 of the next best scaled course score. These scaled course scores are added to form the Aggregate Score. Students are then ranked based on their Aggregate Score. The ATAR is calculated based on this rank and information supplied by the NSW Technical Committee on Scaling.

Vocational Certificates

Vocational certificates bear the Nationally Recognised Training logo and are achieved by students meeting the requirements as described in the relevant training package. Vocational certificates issued by the BSSS include Statements of Attainment, Certificate I, Certificate II, and in some colleges Certificate III.

An ACT Senior Secondary Certificate contains a complete record of a student’s achievement in accredited and registered units. Vocational certificates report the relevant competencies demonstrated by the student.

For vocational certificates, the following principles apply:

ACT Senior Secondary Statement of Achievement

The ACT Senior Secondary Statement of Achievement is a certificate that may be issued to students at any time during years 11 and 12. The record lists the units studied by the student, grouped in courses, and where appropriate the unit grades. Personal skills and qualities covered by references are not included on the record. It is made available on request to students.

Early Exit - ACT Senior Secondary Certificate

Students who have gained 17 standard units by the end of their third semester or middle of their fourth semester may apply to be released from the college ahead of other year 12 students. Having qualified for an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, these students may then decide to enter the next stage of their career by commencing full time training (e.g. at CIT) in their fourth semester or commencing full-time work.