Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

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The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) is the graduation certificate awarded to most students in Australian high schools, and is equivalent to the High School Diploma of North America and the A-Levels of the United Kingdom. Students completing the SSCE are usually aged 16 to 18 and study full-time for two years (years 11 and 12 of schooling). In some states adults may gain the certificate through a Technical and Further Education college or other provider.

The curriculum, assessment and name of the SSCE is different in each state and territory. The government of each determines these themselves, although the curriculum must address mutually agreed national competencies.

State and territory SSCEs
State SSCE title Abbreviation
New South Wales Higher School Certificate HSC
Victoria Victorian Certificate of Education
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning
Queensland Queensland Certificate of Education QCE
South Australia South Australian Certificate of Education SACE
Western Australia Western Australian Certificate of Education WACE
Tasmania Tasmanian Certificate of Education TCE
Australian Capital Territory Australian Capital Territory Year 12 Certificate
Northern Territory Northern Territory Certificate of Education NTCE

Universities Australia generates a nationally standardised final score for each SSCE student called the Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank (ENTER). Universities and other Higher Education providers typically use this mark as the main criterion in selecting domestic students. The ENTER score is known as the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, and the Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) elsewhere. Queensland has its own ranking system called Overall Position(OP).

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