Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
|Headquarters||Level 7, 2 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Parent department||Department of Education and Training|
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is a statutory authority of the Government of Victoria responsible for the provision of curriculum and assessment programs for students in Victoria, Australia. The VCAA is primarily accountable to the Victorian Minister for Education. It is also responsible to the Minister for Training and Skills and the Minister for Families and Children in relation to sections of Part 2.5 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.
The mission of the VCAA is to provide high quality curriculum, assessment and reporting that enables individual lifelong learning.
The VCAA is responsible for the Victorian Early Learning and Development Framework (VELDF) and the Victorian Curriculum. The Victorian Curriculum F–10 sets out a single, coherent and comprehensive set of content descriptions and associated achievement standards to enable teachers to plan, monitor, assess and report on the learning achievement of every student. The Victorian Curriculum F–10 incorporates and reflects much of the Australian Curriculum F–10, but differs in some important respects, most notably the representation of the curriculum as a continuum of learning and the structural design. Victorian Government and Catholic schools are required to use the Victorian Curriculum F–10. Independent schools may use the Victorian Curriculum F–10 as a model and resource for the effective implementation of the Australian Curriculum.
The VCAA has taken a leading role in expanding delivery of the Victorian curriculum internationally. The framework to support this includes a northern hemisphere timetable. In 2018, 1500 students were enrolled in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) at 30 offshore locations: 27 in China and one each in the Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu. Of these, there were 949 students who undertook at least one VCE written examination.
At the senior secondary level, the VCAA provides curriculum and assessment for the VCE and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
In 2017 VCAA issued 259,854 VCE study scores to 77,404 students. There were 50,908 VCE completions and 13,255 VCAL certificate completions.
The VCAA also administers the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) which provides an indication of the literacy and numeracy skills of students. Students in Victoria undertake the testing in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.
The VCAA showcases excellence in student work through the VCE Season of Excellence, an annual festival of works created by VCE students in technology, design, multimedia and the cinematic, visual and performing arts. It also recognises student achievement through the VCE Leadership Awards, Plain English Speaking Awards, VCAL Achievement Awards and Margaret Schofield Memorial Scholarships.
In a Year 12 VCE English examination in 2011 the VCAA instructed over 40,000 students to analyse a supposedly made-up blog that they in fact plagiarised from an opinion piece written by Helen Razer which was published in Melbourne-based newspaper The Age in 2010. Some of the comments written on the original article's webpage were also plagiarised. The VCAA apologised for this error and strengthened its practices to ensure that examination setting panels complied with copyright requirements in future.
In 2012 the VCAA caused further controversy when they published a digitally altered depiction of the painting Storming of the Winter Palace by Nikolai Kochergin in a history examination, which formed part of an image analysis question on the Russian Revolution. The altered painting depicted a BattleTech Marauder II robot participating in the storming along with the Bolsheviks in 1917. A VCAA spokesperson stated that the image was sourced from the internet, and that 5.5 percent of students had their scores adjusted due to the robot's presence. VCAA subsequently instituted a policy to ensure that future content would only be obtained from original source websites, rather than aggregator sites.
In 2016, a computer error allowed for 2075 students (approximately 2.5% of VCE candidates) to receive their ATAR score and VCE results five days earlier than they were supposed to be announced. External SMS provider for VCAA and VTAC, Salmat Digital, created an error that allowed for students to receive their results by texting VCAA and requesting their scores to be sent to them on the expected release date. This sparked outrage from parents of students who did not receive their scores, citing that they considered it "unfair". The VCAA and VTAC acted quickly to contact affected students and their schools to reassure them regarding the accidental early results release. The release of the remaining 97.5% of results took place without further issue at the planned time.
For a period of six years, culminating in 2017, the VCAA had conducted a trial aligning the use of computers in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment. This trial involved a number of schools and several hundred students to develop effective methodologies for combining the use of Wolfram Research's technologies and teaching. The trial was successful, resulting in a widespread acceptance of computer-based examinations with 700,000 Victoria students and teachers now having access to Wolfram’s educational-focused tool suite. For their efforts, the Mathematical Methods Computer-Based Exam System Team was awarded a Wolfram Innovator Award in 2017.
In 2018, there was controversy regarding students responses to a made-up restaurant review for the English exam. The use of a business name similar to that of an existing Melbourne cafe,'Calmer Cafe', and naming an author similar to the manager caused a string of negative Google reviews from Year 12 students taking the exam; allegedly in retaliation for their stress. This caused the overall star rating of the cafe to drop from 5 stars. VCAA has since been in contact with Calmer Cafe management and offered to help remove the online reviews.
- "Sloppy copy in exam raises ire". The Age. Melbourne. 10 November 2011.
- "VCE scores changed over Battle Tech Marauder confusion." The Age. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Rania Spooner, Henrietta Cook, Bianca Hall and Timna Jacks (8 December 2016). "Fear and worry as VCE results are issued days early". The Age. Retrieved 26 December 2016.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Webb, Henrietta Cook, Carolyn (31 October 2018). "A Melbourne cafe's nightmare after being in the VCE English exam". The Age. Retrieved 11 February 2019.