The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is awarded to students who have successfully completed their senior secondary schooling in the state of South Australia.
The SACE curriculum is also taught in Northern Territory secondary schools, where it is known as the Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET).
To get the SACE, students must gain 200 credits from a range of subjects that they take, usually over two years. 20 credits is equal to a full year subject, while 10 credits is equal to a semester long subject. There are two stages: Stage 1, which most students do in Year 11, and Stage 2, which most students do in Year 12.
Students may attain a partial SACE certification by gaining the minimum number of credits, yet bypassing the ATAR system. However, this approach will not qualify the student to enter university, nor TAFE.
Completion of the SACE is a general requirement to get into universities and colleges of technical and further education (TAFE colleges) in South Australia, nationally and internationally. The certificate also provides many study options for students who want to follow a different pathway into the workforce, such as undertaking apprenticeships while still at school.
There are two stages of the SACE:
- Stage 1, which most students do in Year 11, apart from the Personal Learning Plan subject, which most students do in Year 10
- Stage 2, which most students do in Year 12.
Each subject or course successfully completed earns ‘credits’ towards the SACE, with a minimum of 200 credits required for students to gain the certificate.
Students will receive a final grade from A to E for each Stage 1 subject and A+ to E- for Stage 2 subjects. For compulsory requirements, to gain their SACE they will need to achieve:
- a C grade or better at Stage 1
- a C- grade or better at Stage 2.
The compulsory requirements are:
- Personal Learning Plan (10 credits at Stage 1)
- Literacy – at least 20 credits from a range of English subjects or courses (Stage 1 or Stage 2)
- Numeracy – at least 10 credits from a range of mathematics subjects or courses (Stage 1 or Stage 2)
- Research Project – an in-depth major project (10 credits at Stage 2)
- Other Stage 2 subjects totalling at least 60 credits.
The remaining 90 credits can be gained through additional Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or Board-recognised courses (such as VET or community learning) of a student’s choice.
SACE results are announced in December each year. Governor of South Australia Commendations are awarded to people who receive merits in 90 Stage 2 credits (including Research Project) or achieved an A in 70 or more credits and displayed “Excellence in the development of one or more SACE capabilities”. Merits are awarded to students who receive an A+, and have displayed “exceptional achievement” (less than 2% of students taking a subject) in individual subjects in their Stage 2 SACE results. Prizes are awarded to the top student in certain subjects, including:
- Music (Don Maynard Music Prize)
- Physics (The Bronze Bragg Medal)
- Chemistry (The Way College Prize)
- Biology (The Hardwicke College Prize) and
- English Studies (The Tennyson Medal)
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