‘Crunch point’: Term 3 challenge for teachers, students

 

TEACHERS are bracing for ramped up pressure in Term 3 as Year 12 students approach the crunch point in preparing for their final exams after the disruption of COVID-19.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said teachers were preparing for an intense term Term 3 even though classes would resume as normal after the coronavirus pandemic forced schools closed during Term 2.

He said while it was always a difficult term, one of the added challenges for Year 12s was preparing for it to be the first cohort to take external exams under the new Queensland Certificate of Education - worth up to 50 per cent for mathematics and sciences and 25 per cent for other subjects.

Queensland Secondary Principals' Association president Mark Breckenridge said the big challenge for the first year of external exams for students, parents and schools was fear of the unknown.

The new Queensland Certificate of Education system (QCE) will see Year 12 students sit external exams in October and November, with an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank calculated from eligible students' five best subjects on a scale of from 0 to 99.95.

"The first time for anything it's always a challenge, for many teachers they don't know what to expect, for many students they don't know what to expect, we've been well-briefed, we've been well prepared but that doesn't mean it's a walk in the park," Mr Bates said.

"This has been a long five or six year process we've been building up to but this is the crunch point if you will, when you move towards external assessment and for finalising those year 12 studies when we get into October and November.

"When you consider where those students have already been, I mean there's significant issues with schools being closed for three weeks before year 11 and 12's comes back, all of that has added to the pressure that's been on people."

Mr Bates said he hoped Queensland has seen the worst of the pandemic and was now on a positive path forward.

Mr Breckenridge said schools would continue focusing on careful and sustained teaching and on student wellbeing as been important foundations for success for year 12's.

"Schools are very conscious of the fear of the unknown and have worked hard to ensure that students are well prepared-academically and mentally," he said.

"Significant effort has gone into ensuring that parents are provided with as much information as possible."

In light of the pandemic's disruption on schooling, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority in March cancelled one internal assessments senior students would have to complete in a bid to alleviate the pressure faced by pupils and staff.

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre, responsible for calculating students' Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, in March confirmed that eligible students would still receive the university entrance rank despite the reduced assessment.

It comes as schools can resume most normal activities in term three that were once banned under strict COVID-19 measures, including parent-teacher interviews, assemblies, camps, musicals, sport, and school formals and graduations, according to Education Queensland school guidelines.

However, strict physical distancing and hygiene measures will still remain in place for all adults in and around school grounds.

"Principals will continue to ensure high standards of health and hygiene practices at school, student and staff safety is their priority," Mr Breckenridge said.

He said while schools resume with a normal start principals were still very aware that for many families life has not returned to normal, so schools would continue to focus on student wellbeing.

"This strain on family wellbeing and resources is recognised by school principals. Parents with concerns should contact their school principal to discuss issues as they arise," Mr Breckenridge said.

 

 

Originally published as 'Crunch point': Term 3 challenge for teachers, students


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