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The New Queensland Certificate of Education System – Syllabus and Assessment

Queensland Certificate of Education System’s syllabus and the format of assessment were changed in 2019. It is important that students planning to study there understand the changes that have occurred and how it will affect them. If you are thinking of studying in Queensland, these are a few important changes you must be aware of.


  • Starting 2019, the QCES syllabus has defined course content in detail. The course has been organized into four units, in increasing order of difficulty.
  • In-class teaching will be given increased importance.
  • The new assessment requirements and guidelines will be used for all assessments, both internal and external.
  • Teams of subject experts along with practicing teachers will form learning area reference groups that will constantly monitor the relevance of subject-wise syllabus to contemporary research and practices. The objective is to ensure that all syllabi are current and relevant.
  • While this system will cause syllabi to be continually revised, the changes will be gradual and over a period of time so that the continuity of the learning process is not disrupted and pressure on students is not increased.


  • There will now be a total of four assessments in each subject, all of which will count towards the final grade awarded in that subject.
  • Three of these assessments will be school-based, but the results will be confirmed externally by independent teacher-assessors trained and accredited by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).
  • One assessment will be external and the result of this will be added to the total of the 3 internal assessments.
  • In most subjects, the external assessment will contribute to 25% of the total marks/result. However, in the case of science and mathematics, the contribution will be 50%.
  • Schools will create their own assessment instruments based on the learning units prescribed in the syllabus.
  • The school-based assessment instruments and processes will be assessed and approved by the QCAA.
  • The QCAA will ensure that the standard of school-based assessments is comparable across all schools in the state.
  • The external assessment will be the same for all schools in the state.
  • It will be administered under the same conditions and at the same time.
  • The results will be based on a marking scheme approved by the QCAA.
  • The school-based and external assessments are independent of each other but all the assessments together will determine how well a student is progressing in a subject.
Understanding the new Queensland syllabus and assessment procedure requires an understanding of and experience in the Australian education system in general and the Queensland system in particular. Without this, trying to link the new policy with the ground realities that students, especially foreign ones, will have to face, can easily result in misconceptions and misunderstandings about what is involved and what is required of students. The right way to understand and prepare for the Queensland system is to join a coaching institute that offers relevant and real preparation for students interested in studying in Queensland. The understanding and confidence that will come from this will go a long way towards scholastic success.
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