A world of learning inside and outside school

Young people learn within school and through work, training, community activities and using technology. The SACE is designed so that students can develop their skills both within and beyond school. It supports young people to engage in work, training, education, and community and civic life. The SACE enables young people to gain credit points towards their SACE based on quality standards, by tapping into a ‘world of learning’ that could include:

  • TAFE and other VET (vocational education and training) studies
  • university studies and courses from interstate and overseas
  • courses undertaken by means of the internet or other distance education technologies
  • community learning
  • work experiences and other roles such as being caregivers or participants in community service organisations

What is the SACE?

The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is a qualification awarded to students who successfully complete their senior secondary education (Years 11 and 12). The SACE helps students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed – whether they are headed for further education and training, university, an apprenticeship or straight into the workforce. The certificate is based on two stages of achievement: Stage 1 (normally undertaken in Year 11) and Stage 2 (Year 12). Students will be able to study a wide range of subjects and courses as part of the SACE.
As part of the SACE students will:

  • receive credits for many different forms of education and training (such as academic subjects, learning a trade, TAFE, vocational training and
  • community service) provided they are recognised by the SACE Board
  • be able to return to their studies at any time in the future to complete the SACE without losing credit for work already undertaken
  • receive A-E grades in every Stage 1 and Stage 2 SACE subject
  • be expected to gain and demonstrate essential skills and knowledge for their future, focusing on communication, citizenship, personal development, work and learning
  • have 30 per cent of their work in every Stage 2 subject externally assessed. This will be done in various ways, including exams, practical performances and presentations
  • have outside moderators check the school-assessed parts of Stage 2 subjects to ensure consistent grading across the State

Capabilities - Skills and Knowledge

At the heart of the SACE is the teaching of a range of essential skills and knowledge, called Capabilities. These have been confirmed by tertiary educators, school leaders, employers and others as being keys to the success of young people beyond school. They include:

  • ability to communicate with others
  • understanding of social and political issues p
  • ersonal skills, including self-awareness and self-confidence
  • practical attributes required to be productive and creative at work and in the community
  • critical thinking, processing information and applying knowledge

The requirements to achieve the SACE

To gain the SACE students must earn 200 credits. Ten credits are equivalent to one semester or six months’ study in a particular subject or course. Some elements of the SACE are compulsory. These are:

  • a Personal Learning Plan at Stage 1 (usually undertaken in Year 10), worth 10 credits
  • at least 20 credits towards literacy from a range of English/English as a Second Language studies at Stage 1
  • at least 10 credits towards numeracy from a range of mathematics studies at Stage 1
  • a major project of extended studies called the Research Project at Stage 2, worth 10 credits
  • completion of at least 60 additional credits in Stage 2 subjects and courses
  • The importance of the compulsory elements is reflected in the requirement that students must achieve either an A, B, C or equivalent in these subjects to complete the SACE successfully.
  • In addition to the compulsory elements, students will choose from a wide range of subjects and courses to earn the remaining 90 credits to gain the SACE. These include subjects and courses from either Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Personal Learning Plan (PLP)

Young people who have a sense of purpose and ‘know where they want to go’ are more likely to engage in learning and be successful. The Personal Learning Plan is a compulsory Stage 1 SACE subject, normally undertaken in Year 10. Students need to achieve an A, B or C or equivalent in their Stage 1 PLP to successfully complete the SACE. Students will consider their aspirations and research reliable career information to help them make appropriate subject choices and map out their future. Students will work towards goals they need to achieve as they progress through school towards work, training or further study. The Personal Learning Plan will help students:

  • identify and research career paths and options (including further education, training and work)
  • choose appropriate SACE subjects and courses based on plans for future work and study
  • consider and access subjects and courses available in and beyond school
  • review their strengths and areas they need to work on, including literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) skills
  • gain skills for future employment
  • identify goals and plans for improvement
  • review and adjust plans to achieve goals
  • The Personal Learning Plan contributes 10 credits towards the SACE.

Research Project

At Stage 2, students will undertake a Research Project. The Stage 2 Research Project is compulsory and students need to achieve an A, B or C or equivalent to successfully complete the SACE. The Research Project is designed to give students time to do a rigorous and detailed study of an area that attracts their interest. The Research Project will test the capacity of students to research, work independently and demonstrate skills in a range of areas. The ideas for the study might come from:

  • subjects or topics in which they have an interest or passion
  • involvement with community organisations
  • the workplace

Literacy and numeracy

Literacy and numeracy requirements are compulsory for the SACE, with a requirement to achieve an A, B or C or equivalent at Stage 1. There are a number of ways for these requirements to be achieved, including a range of English and mathematics courses. Literacy and numeracy will be integrated across the curriculum through a range of ‘Capabilities’ which will enable students to demonstrate what they know and can do.

How is the SACE assessed?

The SACE is a certificate with separate, distinct subjects and rigorous performance standards. Assessment of the certificate is based on performance standards and reported by levels of achievement. The performance standards give teachers and assessors strict criteria to determine whether a student’s performance falls within or outside a particular level of achievement.

Stage 1 of the SACE is assessed by teachers. Stage 2 is assessed on the basis of 30 per cent external (beyond the school) assessment and 70 per cent moderated teacher assessment for all subjects. Quality assurance systems are in place across the state to ensure consistency and quality of standards. Statistical information to support quality assurance is available for both teacher moderation and the external assessment process. An A to E scale is used to report student results at both Stage 1 and Stage 2 levels.

University or TAFE entry

All student results and marks are provided for calculation and reporting of the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) to inform university and TAFE selection processes. The universities and TAFE will continue to set their entrance requirements. The ATAR for 2012 tertiary entry will be calculated using results from three full-year tertiary entry subjects plus results from a fourth full-year tertiary entry subject or other studies recognised as equivalent by the SACE Board and universities.