About the Review

ACER's Report of the Review

Redesigning the secondary–tertiary interface, Queensland Review of Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance (Second Edition, October 2014)

Extract: Recommendations and major features of proposed design

Extract: Recommendations

Redesigning the secondary–tertiary interface: Proposed new architecture

Queensland Government's draft Response to the Review


Report to government

ACER's interim report was provided to the state Minister for Education, Training and Employment in May 2014, a draft of the report uploaded to the ACER website in September 2014, and the final report submitted to the Minister in October 2014. There are 23 recommendations: seven on tertiary entrance, eleven on senior assessment and reporting, and five on implementation.

Government response

In January 2015, the Queensland Government released its draft response to the review report. The draft response provided in-principle support for a number of key proposals outlined in the review including the retirement of the current OP system. The draft government response was then subjected to further consultation with key education stakeholders and the broader Queensland community. Consultation continued until the end of March 2015 via an online survey and written submissions. The results of consultation will inform the development of a final Queensland Government response for release in mid-2015. There was state election at the end of January 2015, which resulted in a change of government.

Opinion of the reviewers

That the system’s weaknesses have been identified mean that change is important and necessary. The nature of the weaknesses and the fact that those weaknesses are now in the public domain means that change cannot be delayed.

Government announcement of new system

The Palaszczuk Government will introduce new assessment and tertiary entrance systems for senior students from 2018.

Frequently asked questions

We often hear questions about the recommendations of the review or features of a system based on the recommendations of the review. Answers to some of those questions will be posted to this site. The answers will be chatty not formal. Please note that government decisions about the report’s recommendations may have made some of the questions and answers redundant.

FAQ 1: Subject Results are reported on a 60-point scale? Why 60?

FAQ 2: Why is there no statistical moderation in the redesigned system?

ACER post-Review writings

Masters, G.N. & Matters, G.N. (2014, November). "A new deal for end-of-school assessment", Education Review. Educational Media.

Op-Ed piece (Masters & Matters): Nothing 'experimental' about proposed OP changes, published in The Courier Mail 21.1.15 as "Assessing the value of changes to year 12 examination system" http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/answering-the-critics-of-year-12-assessment-changes/story-fnihsr9v-1227191132676

Matters, G.N., 2015. "Translating rich learning assessments into certified results and university selection devices". Paper presented at ACER 2015 Research Conference, Learning assessments: Designing the future, Melbourne,  16–18 August 2015.

ACER thanks contributors to the Review

ACER would like to thank key stakeholders, interested parties and the broader community for their engagement, insights and contribution to this Review. At the completion of the primary consultation phase through to June 2014, we have received more than 2200 responses to the survey, nearly 100 formal submissions, conducted 4 significant stakeholder forums (involving almost 300 key stakeholders and interested parties), and participated in approximately 50 meetings with key stakeholders and their constituents and/or committees, both by request and on invitation. We have also made numerous presentations at conferences and attended other key forums around Queensland to gain input and discuss the progress and directions of the Review.

The insights and contribution of all are greatly appreciated and are invaluable in informing the Queensland Review of Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance.

Terms of reference

The Terms of Reference for the review are vast and some of the issues are universal. ACER’s approach is to look to the future, and the findings of the review will no doubt have relevance beyond Queensland.

Review of Senior Assessment and Reporting and Tertiary Entrance Terms of Reference

Closed consultation meeting – 18 June 2014

ACER Joint Investigators Geoff Masters and Gabrielle Matters met with the CEOs (or equivalent/delegates) across the Queensland education sector, including the Director-General of the Department of Education ,Training and Employment, the three schooling sectors, universities and other providers, QSA, QTAC, parent groups, principal associations and teacher union representatives to discuss the proposed recommendations. This meeting provided an opportunity to further clarify, identify support and outstanding aspects for further consideration in the final stage of the Review.


Note 1 – External assessment, external exams:  What's the difference?

Emerging Directions and Details: Presentation by Dr Gabrielle Matters and Professor Geoff Masters + Q&A session 29 April 2014

This significant event provided an opportunity for key stakeholders and interested parties to hear the direction and details of proposals for senior assessment and tertiary entrance in Queensland and take part in a Q & A session with the ACER Reviewers, Dr Gabrielle Matters and Prof Geoff Masters.

A copy of the presentation from this event is available. Disclaimer: Please note, the presentation outlines the details and directions of ACER's deliberations at this stage of the Review for the purposes of stakeholder consultation and is subject to change as the Review progresses. The information provided does not represent ACER or Government policy.

Dr Gabrielle Matters' presentation 29 April 2014 - Emerging Directions and Details

The consultation process

Key stakeholder organisations are the primary audience for ACER's consultation plan. Other interested parties may access this information and are encouraged to contribute to current discussions about senior assessment and tertiary entrance in Queensland.

Review report

ACER's Report of the Review of Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance will be delivered to the Office of the Minister for Education, Training and Employment on or about 19 September, which is later than scheduled due to reviewers' intervening personal circumstances

The Consultation Process (uploaded 25 February 2014)

Calendar of events 2014

The period February 2014 to June 2014 will concentrate on the engagement aspect of the consultation process.

Meetings with three school sectors During February
Consultation process document released 25 February
Focus questions released 28 February
Meetings of reviewers with universities March onwards
Key stakeholder forum (by invitation) 13 March (4:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
Deadline for written submissions 24 April
Presentation + Q&A session with ACER Reviewers (invitation to key stakeholders and interested parties) 29 April (5:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
Closed consultation – ACER with the CEO/president or equivalent of each key stakeholder organisation 18 June (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm)

Conclusion of the review
Report delivered to the Minister

31 July
19 September

Focus questions

Focus questions (uploaded 27 February 2014)

ACER’s deliberations to date (as at March 13.3.14) have been expressed as a set of eight focus questions. These questions relate to school-based assessment; external assessment; moderation; finer scale for school assessments; separation of responsibilities at the secondary−tertiary interface; scaling and the construction of rank orders; and governance. Each of these questions is in three parts: first, a statement of the reviewers’ suggestion; second, a general question to prompt an answer; and, third, a specific question related to the suggestion in action.

These questions have three purposes:

  • To summarise ACER’s interim position on a subset of the TORs;
  • To form the basis of discussion with key stakeholder organisations and other interested parties; and,
  • To provide a structure that might be useful for written submissions to the review.

Written submissions

The deadline for submissions was 24 April 2014. Submissions are now being reviewed. Peak bodies and the broader community were invited to respond to the set of focus questions through written submissions. 

Review progress

This page will be updated with information and papers periodically as the Review progresses. Further information about this project including the Terms of Reference, consultation process, research and background papers, and media coverage can be accessed via the links on the left hand side of this homepage or click on the links below.

The consultation process

Papers and research


Recommended readings

Please address any queries regarding this work by email to Moamar.Nur@acer.edu.au