South Australian Certificate of Education 2018

The SACE is currently undertaken by around 63,000 students in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Malaysia, Vietnam, Vanuatu and China. The review makes 16 substantial recommendations. Key recommendations include removing the compulsory 10-credit research project from stage 2 and replacing it with a redesigned 10-credit research project at stage 1 of the SACE, with options for a specialised research project for students wishing to focus on vocational, service or entrepreneurial pathways. An optional 20-credit version of the research project would also be available in stage 2 as a stand-alone subject.

With 70 points at stage 2 currently required for SACE attainment but 90 required by SATAC to receive an ATAR for tertiary admission, an implication of this recommendation is that many students would be likely to undertake five stage 2 subjects in order to receive an ATAR for university entrance, in line with other states and territories. Early discussions with the SACE Board have suggested that this change would be feasible for SACE stage 1 students in 2021, with the potential for voluntary early-adopter schools making the move in 2020, pending consideration of transition arrangements.

Other notable recommendations include developing industry-led framework subjects in the curriculum, such as cybersecurity and healthy ageing and improvements relating to the recognition of vocational education and training. I note that recommendation 9 of the review, which seeks to remove all VET certificate III subjects from counting towards a student's accreditation for the ATAR, is not consistent with government policy and will not be supported.

Discussions with the SACE Board have indicated that alternative remedies may be preferable to deal with the concerns raised in the review. The Marshall Liberal government has made a commitment to South Australians to strengthen vocational pathways for students, and certificate III courses are an important and valuable inclusion for many students.

In relation to the balance of recommendations, the SACE Board has indicated that they would like a further period of time to give them their full consideration and provide further advice to the government. I am sure that others may seek to provide further advice to the government as well, and we will offer a full response to the recommendations next year. In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with the SACE Board to ensure continuous improvement every year, as is always the board's goal. Already planned enhancements, such as the transition to online examination formats, will continue.

I wish to pay particular tribute to Wendy Johnson for conducting this review. She undertook a mountain of work, providing thorough consultation opportunities, and has written a detailed and well-researched report for the government and the SACE Board to consider. I am very pleased to release this review today, which will be available this afternoon via the education department's website.