The Victorian Certificate of Education (often abbreviated VCE) is one credential available to secondary school students who successfully complete year 11 and 12 in the Australian state of Victoria. The VCE is the predominant choice for students wishing to pursue tertiary education. An alternative to VCE is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learnings (VCAL), a vocational based senior secondary school qualification.
The Victorian Certificate of Education is generally taught in years 11 and 12 of secondary education in Victoria; however, some students are able to commence their VCE studies in year 10 or earlier if the school or institution allows it.
All VCE studies are organised into units. VCE subjects typically consist of four units with each unit covering one semester of study. Each unit comprises a set number of outcomes (usually two or three); an outcome describes the knowledge and skills that a student should demonstrate by the time the student has completed the unit. Subject choice depends on each individual school. Units 3/4 of a subject must be studied in sequential order, whereas units 1/2 can be mixed and matched. Students are not required to complete all the units of a subject as part of the VCE course, meaning they are able to change subject choice between years 11 and 12.
On completing a unit, a student receives either a ‘satisfactory’ (S) or ‘non-satisfactory’ (N) result. If a student does not intend to proceed to tertiary education, a ‘satisfactory’ result is all that is required to graduate with the VCE. If a student does wish to study at a tertiary level then they will require an ATAR. In order to gain an ATAR a student must satisfactorily complete three units of any subject in the English field (at least one English field subject is compulsory) and twelve units in any other subjects.
A student who satisfactorily completes units 3/4 of a VCE study is eligible for a study score of between 0 and 50. Study scores are calculated by VCAA, and indicate a student’s performance in relation to all other students who undertook that study.
In Victoria, ATAR is derived from mapping a student’s aggregate score to the national averages. This score is used by university and tertiary education programs as a clear and intuitive ranking to select prospective applicants for their programs.
Did you know? Melbourne was the capital city of Australia for 26 years between 1901 and 1927 before the capital became Canberra. It was almost called ‘Batmania’ because of one of its founders, John Batman. In 1956 Melbourne became the first city outside North America or Europe to hold the Olympics. Now, Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world.