Queensland Certificate of Education

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The Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) is the certificate awarded to students completing their secondary schooling in Queensland. The QCE was introduced in 2008, to replace the Senior Certificate.[1] It is currently issued by the [Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority] (QCAA).


The Queensland Certificate of Education is generally awarded to students completing Year 12, though alternative avenues of study are available.[2]

All Queensland courses of study are awarded credits, which can contribute towards a QCE. These courses are divided into:

  • Core courses
  • Preparatory courses
  • Enrichment courses
  • Advanced courses

Core courses are the most common form of education undertaken in Years 11 and 12 and include both Authority and Authority-registered subjects. Authority subjects are those whose syllabuses are maintained by the QSA and whose results contribute to a student's Overall Position, which is the ranking used for entrance to tertiary education institutions, whereas Authority-registered subjects are developed from a Study Area Specification. Authority-registered subjects do not contribute to the Overall Position of a student.[3] Preparatory and Enrichment courses are commonly Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications, which often result in basic Certificate qualifications. Advanced courses are often university subjects completed alongside a student's regular secondary schooling.


Students are assessed based upon the subjects which they undertake. A student's final grade is given as a Level of Achievement, of which there are five:

  • Very High Achievement (VHA), roughly equivalent to an "A"
  • High Achievement (HA), roughly equivalent to a "B"
  • Sound Achievement (SA), roughly equivalent to a "C"
  • Limited Achievement (LA), roughly equivalent to a "D"
  • Very Limited Achievement (VLA), roughly equivalent to an "E"

Each of these achievement levels are split into 10 rungs, to further differentiate the achievement of individual students. A VHA10 is the highest mark a student can achieve for a subject and a VLA1 is the lowest.[4] These marks, along with the weighting of subjects (determined by students' academic performance in the Queensland Core Skills Test) is responsible in determining a students Overall Position.


In order to be awarded a QCE, a student must be awarded at least 20 credits from their studies.[5] 12 credits must come from Core courses and the rest can come from a combination of courses, and Core courses not fully completed may also contribute some credits, however the level of achievement must be a Sound Achievement or Pass. Even if failing to receive a QCE at the end of Year 12, a student may continue to work towards one, though credits expire after nine years.[6] A student's result in the Queensland Core Skills Test also appears on their QCE as a letter grade.

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