International Education Journal

Special SACE Issue


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The case for an Australian Certificate of Education

Geoff Masters 
CEO, Australian Council for Educational Research


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The Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training on May 2005 commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research to investigate and report on models and implementation arrangements for an Australian Certificate of Education. There are ten different certificates currently available across the six states and two territories of Australia that provide a senior secondary school qualification. The first recommendation made by the Review is for national agreement on what should be taught in each school system. The second recommendation is for students across Australia to be assessed against the same standards. This requires the development of natural so-called 'achievement achievement standards' in each subject assessed. A third recommendation is that students are required to demonstrate acceptable levels of achievement of a few key capabilities. A final recommendation is that further work needs to be done to explore how employability skills may be assessed in a consistent way as part of the Australian Certificate of Education. In conclusion, it is emphasised that there is need for a 'common currency' or common language for reporting all senior secondary subject results. There is also a need for national debate on what Australia senior secondary school students should be learning during their final years of secondary schooling, regardless of where they live. 

Australian Certificate of Education, achievement standards, key capabilities, employability skills, senior secondary schooling


Masters, G. (2006). The case for an Australian Certificate of Education. International Education Journal, 7 (6), 795-800.

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