Minister Ellery yesterday announced a new, third, pathway to achieving the WACE for senior high school students in WA. Students beginning Year 11 in 2020 will now have another option to achieve their Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2021. Currently to achieve their WACE, students must complete a minimum of five courses in Year 12, of which a minimum of four must be Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) courses (ATAR pathway) or complete four General Courses with a Certificate II or higher (General Pathway with Vocational Education and Training (VET).
Now students can select a third study pathway of five General Courses to complete their WACE. General courses are 50 subjects offered across all learning areas, and include English, Mathematics Essential, Accounting and Finance, Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry and Physics and align closely to ATAR courses. For General Courses, in addition to ongoing assessments set by schools, the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) sets an external common assessment that all students sit in Year 12. Students who choose General Courses can enter employment, vocational education and training or choose a university pathway. With the introduction of this third pathway, all other requirements to achieve a WACE remain unchanged - a literacy and numeracy standard, breadth and depth requirement (20 units or the equivalent and a combination of list A and B courses) and an achievement standard (a minimum number of C grades). In October last year, Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery asked SCSA to consult with school leaders, training providers, industry, parents and students. These changes are a result of this consultation. The changes to senior secondary vocational education and training follow two wide-ranging reports, from the Office of the Auditor General in 2016 and the Education and Health Standing Committee in 2017.