Board of Senior Secondary Studies

Board of senior secondary studies letter

Section B: Organisation overview and performance

B.1 Organisational overview

The Board of Senior Secondary Studies (the Board) was established in 1991 and the Board of Senior Secondary Studies Act 1997 (the BSSS Act) was enacted in January 1998.

The key functions of the Board are to:

  • provide students with ACT Senior Secondary Certificates, Tertiary Entrance Statements and vocational certificates
  • maintain the credibility and acceptance of courses through a regular accreditation program
  • monitor and support the validity of assessment in years 11 and 12
  • improve the comparability of standards across the Territory through moderation procedures
  • gain the widest possible recognition for the credentials awarded by the Board
  • service the information needs of the community.

The Board is committed to:

  • a general education of high standards providing equal opportunity for all students to the end of year 12
  • freedom of choice of courses for students supported by expert advice
  • senior secondary college responsibility for course development
  • senior secondary college responsibility for the assessment of its students
  • shared responsibility for education
  • open access to information.

Twenty five ACT colleges and eight schools located in China, Fiji, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are approved to deliver courses certificated by the Board. These are listed in Appendix C. Black Mountain School commenced delivery of Board registered year 11-12 courses in February 2015. Our Lady of the Sacred Heart International School, New Ireland, PNG commenced delivery of Board accredited year 11-12 courses in February 2015. In June 2015 Weifang Hanting No 1 High School, Shandong, China received Board approval to commence delivery of Board accredited year 11-12 courses from September 2015.

The Board's goal is to provide a high quality curriculum, assessment and certification system that supports:

  • all young adults to achieve an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate or equivalent vocational qualification
  • high levels of achievement in literacy and numeracy
  • improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged students
  • effective transitions from school to post-school pathways.

In 2013 the Board developed a new strategic plan to guide its activities for the period 2014-2016. The key focus areas for the Board are:

  • an informed and effective response to international, national and local initiatives
  • a high quality, high equity curriculum, assessment and certification system that caters for all students.

During 2014-2015, the Board continued to provide advice to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on the senior years' Australian Curriculum and to discuss with ACARA implementation of the curriculum in the ACT. The Board commenced a trial implementation of ACT year 11-12 courses embedding the Australian Curriculum from the beginning of 2014. The ACT is one of three jurisdictions to have commenced delivery of year 11-12 courses embedding the Australian Curriculum. The others are South Australia and Western Australia. From the beginning of 2016 all colleges will deliver the Australian Curriculum in English, history, mathematics and science.

The Board commenced a Review of Year 12 Certification in 2014 and appointed a committee to investigate a range of key issues including the types of certificates, the minimum requirements, the literacy and numeracy requirements and the recognition of outside learning. The committee made ten recommendations to the Board in August 2014. All recommendations were approved including an increase in the minimum requirements for the award of the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and the introduction of a course in English as a requirement.

The Board commenced a Review of senior secondary curriculum in 2015 and appointed a committee to investigate a range of key issues including a vision statement, design specifications for courses, organisation of course frameworks and the purpose and scope of registered units. The committee will deliver its recommendations to the Board in October 2015.

Processing of year 12 results occurred on schedule and certificates were issued to ACT colleges on Sunday 14 December 2014 for distribution to students. Over 11,000 certificates were produced by the Board for students in year 12 and over 1,000 vocational qualifications were issued for students in year 10.

Key focus areas over the next year will include preparation for the full implementation of courses embedding the Australian Curriculum, the implementation of recommendations coming from the Review of Curriculum, the introduction of a Unique Student Identifier (USI) for all students seeking VET qualifications and the investigation of online literacy and numeracy testing.

Internal accountability

Board membership

The BSSS Act (s8) creates a board with a broad membership of 14 from the many stakeholders in senior secondary education. Members, other than the Director-General of the Education and Training Directorate, are appointed by the Minister for Education and Training for a period of up to three years. Members can be reappointed if they are eligible. The Chair and one member were reappointed in January 2015.

The Australian National University nominee appointed from 2013-2015 resigned in February 2015 and the ACT branch, Australian Education Union nominee appointed from 2013-2015 resigned in February 2015, nominees from both organisations have been submitted to the Minister for appointment.

Remuneration for Board members

The Chair is the only member eligible to receive remuneration, at a rate determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal.

Ethical standards

Prior to appointment, Board members are provided with the Bowen Code of Conduct as a guide to ethical behaviour. Members sign a declaration that they have read and agree to observe the principles of the code, and agree to disclose all conflicts of interest that arise during their term on the Board. The Board meeting agenda has declaration of conflicts of interests as a standing item. ACT public servants on the Board are also bound by the ACT Public Sector Management Act 1994.

Table BSSS 2: Board Membership as at 1 July 2014
Member Affiliation Initial appointment Appointment expires Meetings attended July-Dec 2014
Ms Rosemary Follett AO Chair 1 January 2012 31 December 2014 3/3
Ms Sue Maslen Canberra Institute of Technology 11 April 2014 31 December 2016 3/3
Ms Louise Mayo Vocational education and training organisations 17 May 2011 31 December 2016 2/3
Professor Richard Baker Australian National University 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 3/3
Professor Robert Fitzgerald University of Canberra 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 2/3
Ms Rita Daniels Association of Independent Schools 25 June 2009 31 December 2014 3/3
Mr David Wentworth-Perry ACT Branch, Australian Education Union 11 April 2014 31 December 2016 2/3
Mr Angus Tulley Catholic Education Commission 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 3/3
Mrs Kerrie Grundy ACT Principals' Association 19 November 2013 31 December 2015 3/3
Mr Hugh Boulter ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 3/3
Ms Julie Sengelman Association of Parents & Friends of ACT Schools 11 April 2014 31 December 2016 3/3
TBA ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry    0/3
Ms Judy van Rijswijk ACT Trades and Labour Council 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 1/3
Ms Leanne Wright Delegate of the Director - General, Education and Training Directorate July 2012 Ongoing 1/3

The Board has six scheduled meetings each calendar year. The Board met on three occasions from July-December 2014.

Table BSSS 3: Board Membership as at 30 June 2015
Member Affiliation Initial

appointment

Appointment expires Meetings attended Jan-June 2015
Ms Rosemary Follett AO Chair 1 January 2012 31 December 2017 3/3
Ms Sue Maslen Canberra Institute of Technology 11 April 2014 31 December 2016 2/3
Ms Louise Mayo Vocational education and training organisations 17 May 2011 31 December 2016 2/3
Professor Richard Baker Australian National University 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 1/3
Professor Robert Fitzgerald University of Canberra 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 0/3
Ms Rita Daniels Association of Independent Schools 25 June 2009 31 December 2017 3/3
TBA ACT Branch, Australian Education Union    0/3
Mr Angus Tulley Catholic Education Commission 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 3/3
Mrs Kerrie Grundy ACT Principals' Association 19 November 2013 31 December 2015 2/3
Mr Hugh Boulter ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 2/3
Ms Julie Sengelman Association of Parents & Friends of ACT Schools 11 April 2014 31 December 2016 2/3
TBA ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry    0/3
Ms Judy van Rijswijk ACT Trades and Labour Council 1 January 2013 31 December 2015 1/3
Ms Leanne Wright Delegate of the Director-General, Education and Training Directorate July 2012 Ongoing 1/3

The above Board has met on three occasions from January to June 2015.

Standing Committees

The Board appoints committees and panels to provide advice on specific matters. The main standing committees and their roles are listed below. Membership of these committees in 2013 and 2014 is included in Appendix B.

Table BSSS 4: Board Standing Committees and their Roles
Committee Role
Curriculum Advisory Committee To advise the Board on national and ACT curriculum matters and overall direction of curriculum in years 11 and 12.
Assessment and Certification Committee To advise the Board on assessment and certification policies and procedures, and the overall direction of assessment and certification in years 11 and 12.
Vocational Education and Training Committee To advise the Board on vocational education and training issues, particularly those relating to national agreements and post-school linkages with the VET sector; and to provide advice on VET initiatives for secondary education.
Accreditation Panels To advise the Board on the accreditation and registration of year 11-12 courses, which have been developed by teachers, industry and business groups, tertiary institutions and other organisations.

Board Secretariat

The Board secretariat is managed by the Director of the Board and consists of 10 other staff; six teachers and four administrative officers, all employed through the Directorate. The Director reports to the Board on its legislated functions and to the Directorate on ministerial, financial, audit, human resource and other corporate functions.

Community engagement and support

The Board facilitates community input through representation on committees, course writing teams, accreditation panels, working parties and at consultation forums. Groups represented include parents, teachers, principals, tertiary institutions, industry, business and unions.

The Board web site was redeveloped in 2014 to provide improved functionality and compliance with WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines. At its June meeting the Board approved the opening of Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide alternative channels of communications with the wider community.

The Board encourages and welcomes both positive and negative feedback and is committed to responding to complaints in a timely and positive manner. This enables staff, students, parents and community members to contribute to the Board's continuous improvement strategy. The Board's Feedback and Complaints policy is available on its website. The Board received no formal complaints in 2014-15.

B.2 Performance analysis

An informed and effective response to international, national and local initiatives

The Board has continued to provide and facilitate ACT feedback on national curriculum and reporting initiatives through formal responses, teacher participation in curriculum development and surveys, consultation and membership of national working parties. The Board has made contributions to the Review of ACARA, the Review of VET in Public Colleges and the Review of the Interstate Transfer Index (ITI).

Two courses across two senior secondary Australian Curriculum subjects were written by teachers. They are ESL and Geography. Colleges may trial these courses with a view to full implementation in 2017.

A high quality, high equity curriculum, assessment and certification system that caters for all students

In 2014-2015, course frameworks in the Arts and Geography have been revised and endorsed by the Board. Thirty seven courses were approved for delivery to year 11-12 students from 2015 and 16 teams are currently developing courses for implementation from 2016. These courses are reviewed by expert panels of teachers, representatives from tertiary institutions, industry and the community, which provide advice on accreditation to the Board. A list of the panels that met to consider courses in 2014-2015 is included in Appendix B.

The Board has continued its focus on the enhancement of assessment in colleges. Feedback on the quality and effectiveness of school-based assessment and consistency in the application of grade achievement standards has continued to be provided to colleges through system wide moderation. Over 1,000 senior secondary teachers from the ACT and overseas participated in each of the Moderation days in August 2014 and March 2015.

Year 12 outcomes 2014

In 2014, 4,569 students met the requirements for an ACT Year 12 Certificate. This included 4,405 students enrolled in ACT colleges, including CIT Pathways College, and 164 students enrolled in overseas colleges. In the ACT, this represented 91.5 percent of year 12 students compared with 94.8 percent in 2013. There was a decrease in the percentage of males and females achieving a Year 12 Certificate from 2013 to 2014.

Of the Year 12 Certificate receivers, 2,912 students also achieved a Tertiary Entrance Statement (TES), having met the requirements for university entrance and calculation of an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This included 2,788 students enrolled in ACT colleges and 124 students enrolled in overseas colleges.

One hundred and fifteen students (49 females, 66 males) from 16 colleges completed an H course through the Australian National University Secondary College or the University of Canberra Accelerate Program in 2014. Of these students, 12 completed a course in Mathematics, 18 in Physics, 30 in Chemistry, 20 in Conservation Biology, 24 in Japanese, 4 in IT and 3 in Design. Seventy one students (68 percent) used their scaled H course score in their ATAR calculation.

To achieve an ACT Year 12 Certificate, students are required to study a minimum of 17 standard units, which form at least three accredited courses from different course areas. However, it is pleasing to see that a large majority of students are studying more than the minimum number of units across a broader range of course areas. In 2014, 76.1 percent of Year 12 Certificate receivers (Standard Package) completed 20 or more standard units and 76.6 percent of Year 12 Certificate receivers completed five or more accredited courses from different course areas. These percentages are similar to those in 2013.

Figure BSSS 1 displays the percentage of Year 12 Certificate receivers achieving a TES from 1999 to 2014. In 2014, 59.1 percent of ACT students receiving a Year 12 Certificate also received a TES. This is lower than in 2013.

Figure BSSS 1: Year 12 Certificate receivers with a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 1999 to 2014 ear 12 Certificate receivers with a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 1999 to 2014

Source: ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies
Note: From 2006 students classified as Mature Age are included in the data.

Figure BSSS 2 illustrates the Range of ATARs across Colleges for 2014.  illustrates the range of ATARs across colleges for 2014.

Source: ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies
Note:

  1. The names of the colleges are listed in Appendix C.
  2. The central line in the box represents the median ATAR.
  3. The block indicates the spread of 50 percent of the scores.
  4. The single vertical line indicates the spread of the next 15 percent of scores.
  5. 5.Circles represent individual results in the top and bottom ten percent of ATARs.

The horizontal lines show an ATAR of 80 (green) and an ATAR of 65 (Red).

Of students in the ACT who achieved an ATAR, 74% achieved an ATAR of 65 or more.

The following table gives the percentage of Year 12 Certificate and TES receivers who completed an accredited course in the nominated areas.

Table BSSS 1: Selected Courses on Year 12 Certificates and Tertiary Entrance Statements, 2013 and 2014
Course Area

Percentage of ACT Year 12 Certificate receivers who completed a course in the area

2013

Percentage of ACT Year 12 Certificate receivers who completed a course in the area

2014

Percentage of ACT TES receivers who completed a course in the area

2013

Percentage of ACT TES receivers who completed a course in the area

2014

English/English as a second language (ESL) 97.8 96.9 99.7 99.7
Mathematics 90.6 91.3 91.7 94.4
Information Technology 10.3 10.1 10.2 10.9
Sciences 42.2 43.5 54.8 57.2
History 17.2 16.5 21.2 20.0
Languages 15.5 15.9 20.6 21.7

Source: ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

Whilst the minimum number of courses from different course areas required for an ACT Tertiary Entrance Statement is two T and/or H courses, 63.8 percent of ACT students used scaled course scores from four different course areas in the calculation of their ATAR. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from the 2013 cohort.

There are no compulsory courses in the ACT, however, the above data shows that 96.9 percent of ACT Year 12 Certificate receivers and 99.7 percent of TES receivers completed a course in English/ESL, and 91.3 percent of ACT Year 12 Certificate receivers and 94.4 percent of TES receivers completed a course in Mathematics.

The Board recognises on a student's Year 12 Certificate the contribution of learning undertaken outside the college environment during years 11 and 12. In 2014, 1,190 students received such recognition under Recreational Activities, 930 students received recognition under Community Involvement and 186 students received recognition under Recognition of Outside Learning.

The Board issues vocational Certificates to years 10 and 12 students who have completed vocational qualifications through colleges as Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). In 2014, this included 605 year 10 students and 1,136 year 12 students. Of these students, 21 completed an Australian School-based Apprenticeship with their college as the RTO.

The following figure displays the number of students receiving vocational certificates issued by the Board for each RTO by year level in 2014. It should be noted that students may have received more than one vocational Certificate.

Figure BSSS 3: Number of Students receiving Vocational Certificates, 2014 by College and Year Level Number of students receiving vocational certificates, 2014 by college and year level

In addition to vocational studies undertaken during years 11 and 12 in colleges, vocational programs undertaken with external RTOs can contribute to the requirements for year 12 certification and be included on the ACT Year 12 Certificate. In 2014, vocational qualifications achieved through an external RTO and registered by the Board were recognised on the Year 12 Certificate as an E course. In 2014, seven students were awarded an E course. The E courses were in the areas of Business and IT.

In 2014:

  • 366 year 12 students achieved a vocational qualification through an external RTO, which was recognised on their Year 12 Certificate
  • this is an increase compared to 2013 of 41 students.

Students may receive recognition for more than one vocational qualification completed with external RTOs.

For more information contact:
The Director
Board of Senior Secondary Studies
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
(02) 620 57181

bsss.enquiries@act.gov.au
http://www.bsss.act.gov.au

Appendix A: Sections not covered elsewhere in this report

Section Title Reporting
Ecologically Sustainable Development Covered within Directorate report.
Risk Management and Internal Audit Covered within Directorate report.
Fraud Prevention Covered within Directorate report.
Legislative Assembly Inquiries and Reports There were no direct implications for the Board in Legislative Assembly committee inquiries and reports in 2014-2015.
Auditor- General and Ombudsman Reports Covered within Directorate report.
Public Interest Disclosure Covered within Directorate report.
Freedom of Information Freedom of information requests are processed through the Directorate. The Board received no Freedom of Information requests in 2014-2015.
Human Rights Act Covered within Directorate report.
Territory Records Act Covered within Directorate report.
Legal Services Directions Covered within Directorate report.
Notices of Non Compliance Covered within Directorate report.
Bushfire Risk Management Covered within Directorate report.
Commissioner for the Environment Covered within Directorate report.
Human Resources Management Covered within Directorate report.
Learning and Development Covered within Directorate report.
Work Health and Safety Covered within Directorate report.
Workplace Relations Covered within Directorate report.
Staff Profile Covered within Directorate report.
Financial Management Covered within Directorate report.
Financial Statements Covered within Directorate report.
Capital Works Not applicable.
Asset Management Covered within Directorate report.
Government Contracting Covered within Directorate report.
Statement of Performance Not applicable.

Appendix B: Board committees that operated in 2014-2015

Curriculum Advisory Committee 2014  
Mr Angus Tulley Chair
Ms Melissa Planten Education and Training Directorate
Ms Jennifer Blackall ACT Principals' Association
Ms Gina Galluzzo Catholic Education Office
Mr Andrew Wrigley Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Ms Julie Sengelman Association of Parents & Friends of ACT Schools
Ms Amanda Bichard ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations
Ms Joy Terry ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dr Jenny Chesters University of Canberra
Assessment & Certification Committee 2014  
Ms Rita Daniels Chair
Mr Ken Gordon Education and Training Directorate
Mr Peter Clayden ACT Principals' Association
Mr Paul Carroll Catholic Education Office
Mr John Folan Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Mr Matt Williams ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations
Mr John Stenhouse Co-opted member
Ms Lyn Mernagh Co-opted member
Vocational Education & Training Committee 2014  
Ms Sue Maslen Chair
Ms Belinda Muir Catholic Education Commission
Ms Meredith Joslin Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Ms Helen Witcombe ACT Principals' Association
Mr Vince Ball ACT Industry Training Advisor
Ms Jennifer Carmichael Canberra Institute of Technology
Ms Anne Brown ACT Trades and Labour Council
Ms Beth Peters ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Helen Uren-Randall ACT Teachers in Vocational Education Association
Ms Ann Goleby Education and Training Directorate
Mr Matt Williams ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations
Curriculum Advisory Committee 2015  
Mr Angus Tulley Chair
Mr Martin Hine Education and Training Directorate
Ms Melissa Planten ACT Principals' Association
Ms Kathy Holding Catholic Education Office
Mr Andrew Wrigley Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Ms Julie Sengelman Association of Parents & Friends of ACT Schools
Ms Amanda Bichard ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations
TBA ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Dr Jenny Chesters University of Canberra
Assessment & Certification Committee 2015  
Ms Rita Daniels Chair
Mr Ken Gordon Education and Training Directorate
Mr Peter Clayden ACT Principals' Association
Mr Paul Carroll Catholic Education Office
Mr John Folan Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Mr Matt Williams ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations
Mr John Stenhouse Co-opted member
Ms Lyn Mernagh Co-opted member
Vocational Education & Training Committee 2015  
Ms Sue Maslen Chair
Ms Belinda Muir Catholic Education Commission
Mr Tim McNevin Association of Independent Schools of the ACT
Ms Helen Witcombe ACT Principals' Association
Mr Vince Ball ACT Industry Training Advisor
Ms Ann Ehsman Canberra Institute of Technology
Ms Anne Brown ACT Trades and Labour Council
TBA ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ms Helen Uren-Randall ACT Teachers in Vocational Education Association
Mr David Miller Education and Training Directorate
Mr Matt Williams ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations

Accreditation Panels 2014-2015

Accreditation Panel Panel Chair School
Geography Ms Anne Curran Merici College
ESL Ms Kirsten Vizjak UC Senior Secondary College, Lake Ginninderra
Chinese Ms Yani Tian Dickson College
German Ms Rhiannon Richards Canberra Girls' Grammar School
Indonesian Mr Kristofer Feodoroff Office of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies
Italian Ms Luciana Ciaccia St Clare's College
Japanese Ms Heidi Vellnagel Canberra Girls' Grammar School
Spanish Ms Tina Rodriguez St Francis Xavier College
French Mr Frank Keighley Hawker College
Contemporary Transitions Ms Marie Uren Canberra College
Social and Community Work Ms Marie Uren Canberra College
Tourism and Hospitality Ms Kaeren Sutherland Hawker College
Live Production and Services Ms Joella Keech UC Senior Secondary College, Lake Ginninderra
Hindi Mr Kristofer Feodoroff Office of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies

Appendix C: Institutions approved to deliver Board certificated courses

Public colleges Code
Black Mountain School BMTS
Canberra College CBRC
Dickson College DCKC
Erindale College ERNC
Gungahlin College GNGC
Hawker College HWKC
Lake Tuggeranong College TUGC
Melba Copland Secondary School COPC
Narrabundah College NARC
The Woden School WODS
University of Canberra Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra LGNC
Non-Government colleges Code
Brindabella Christian College BBCC
Burgmann Anglican School BASS
Canberra Girls' Grammar School CGGS
Daramalan College DARC
Marist College Canberra MARC
Merici College MERC
Orana Steiner School ORAC
Radford College RDFC
St Clare's College STCC
St Edmund's College EDMC
St Francis Xavier College SFXC
St Mary MacKillop College MKCC
Trinity Christian School TRCC
Other ACT institutions Code
CIT Pathways College CITC
Australian National University (ANU) Extension Program ANUC
Canberra School of Music, ANU MUSC
University of Canberra UNCC
International schools Code
Sekolah Cita Buana, Jakarta, Indonesia CBJC
Australian International School, Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia JAIC
Port Moresby International School, Papua New Guinea POMC
Kimbe International School, Papua New Guinea KIMC
Coronation College, Lae, Papua New Guinea LAEC
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart International School, Papua New Guinea OLSH
International School, Suva, Fiji ISSC
Weifang Hanting No 1 High School, China (first certification December 2017) WFHT
Outside Private Providers
Canberra Dance Development Centre
Polish Language School
Spanish Language and Culture Program in Australia
The Australian School of Contemporary Chinese