International Education Journal

Special SACE Issue


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A critique of the SACE Review panel's report on community views

Kelvin Gregory
School of Education, Flinders University


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The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), introduced in 1992-93, is a credential and formal qualification within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). SACE was recently subjected to a review that led to a series of significant recommendations. These recommendations came out of a process that began with the Review Panel scrutinising existing SACE structures for continuing validity and effectiveness. This paper critically examines claims made by the Review Panel of a resounding confirmation of the need for reform. Since the panel's claims are built upon qualitative data (community submissions), they are critiqued using widely-accepted standards for qualitative research. In particular, this paper examines the panel's evidence regarding "academic creep", the dominance of the academic pathway, and issues regarding the Tertiary Entrance Rank. The findings suggest that the panel's case for reform may apply more to government schools than to the SACE itself. This paper concludes that the case for reform is poorly developed and largely supported by research lacking transparency and unsuited to making generalisations.

Qualitative research, curriculum, education policy, post-compulsory education


Gregory, K. (2006). A critique of the SACE Review panel's report on community views. International Education Journal, 7 (6), 834-848.

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