ACT Qualifications

Formal documents issued by the Board at the end of Year 12 include:

Qualifications prior to 2015

ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and Record of Achievement

What is the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate?

The  ACT Senior Secondary Certificate (ACT SSC) consists of:

  • the certificate, detailing your years of attendance and the college you are graduating from, and
  • the Record of Achievement, that details your studies throughout college.

They are awarded to all senior secondary students who have successfully met the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (ACT BSSS) requirements. It is used by a wide variety of people including Australian and International education or training institutions, and employers. You could also provide a copy when you apply for awards or scholarships, or if applying for voluntary work with community organisations. Your ACT SSC is a very important document. Keep it in a safe place and always supply a certified copy to interested people, never the original.

Who is eligible to receive the Certificate?

The  ACT Senior Secondary Certificate is awarded to all students who

(1) complete an educational program approved by a college as having a coherent pattern of study in years 11 and 12, and

(2) meet the ACT BSSS requirements.

You can complete an ACT SSC through either a standard package or, if you are commencing college studies after your original cohort has graduated, an abridged package.

The ACT BSSS requirements for an ACT SSC standard package are:

  • a minimum of four different  A, T, M, H, C or E courses from at least three different course areas. These must include at least two A, T or M courses and one of these must be in the English course area.
  • completing at least 17 standard units.
  • completing the package in no more than five years

The requirements for an abridged package are:

  • Three courses across three different course areas. A maximum of one C or E course can be used as one of these courses.
  • A minimum of 6 points must be completed.
  • Completing the package in one or two years

What are standard units and courses?

A standard unit is the combination of lessons, assignments, excursions, tests, etc. for a subject over a specified period of time. A standard unit has a value of 1.0 and is delivered for a minimum of 55 hours, generally over one semester.

You may also be awarded 0.5 standard units which means that unit was delivered for a minimum of 27.5 hours

A course is a combination of units with a coherence of purpose. For example, English is a course but so is an approved VET program through an external provider.

What are minor, major, major-minor and double major courses?

Courses have differing types indicating the duration of study in the course. The duration of study is indicated by the labels: minor, major, major-minor and double major.

  • minors require a minimum of 2 standard units
  • majors require a minimum of 3.5 standard units
  • major-minors require a minimum of 5.5 standard units
  • double majors require a minimum of 7.0 standard units.

Please check with your college for their requirements.

What are A, T, M courses?

An A course is one which is accredited by the ACT BSSS as educationally sound and appropriate for students studying in years 11 and 12.

A T course is accredited by the ACT BSSS as providing appropriate preparation for higher education.

An M course is accredited by the ACT BSSS as providing appropriate educational experiences for students who satisfy specific disability criteria.

What are V courses ?

A V course is vocational education and training program combined with an A, T or M course. A V course leads to a vocational Certificate or Statement of Attainment as defined by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The content of the learning program is based on the competencies defined in a Training Package and follows the requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).

What are C courses?

A C course is a vocational education and training program accredited by the ACT BSSS. C courses are competency-assessed only and not reported using A-E grades.

What are E courses?

An E course is the study of a nationally recognised vocational qualification delivered by an external RTO or through an Australian School Based Apprenticeship (ASBA).

What are H courses?

An H course is designed and accredited by an Australian higher education provider and successful completion of the course will be recognised towards an undergraduate degree with that provider and the ACT SSC. H courses may contribute to the student's ATAR calculation and if the H units do not form a course they can be included with the associated college T course.

What are R units

An R unit is one which is registered by the ACT BSSS as appropriate for students in years 11 and 12 and is usually designed to provide personal development, recreational or community service activities.

What are Unit Grades?

Student achievement in A, T and M courses is reported on the ACT SSC on a 5 point A to E scale based on the A - E grade standards described in the Course Frameworks. Generic criteria that form the basis of unit grade decisions across all Course Frameworks include:

  • the student's knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles of the unit; and
  • the student's cognitive and practical skills in a wide range of situations.

Thus, in general, across all Course Frameworks, as well as representing the Course Framework specific unit grade descriptions, the letters A, B, C, D and E may be understood to indicate:

A awarded to students who have demonstrated a very high level of knowledge and understanding of the full range of concepts and principles of the unit. They have shown evidence of a very high level of cognitive and practical skill in a wide range of assessment situations

B awarded to students who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge and understanding of the concepts and principles of the unit. They have shown evidence of a high level of cognitive and practical skill in a range of assessment situations

C awarded to students who have demonstrated a sound level of knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of the unit. They have shown evidence of a sound level of cognitive and practical skill in most assessment situations

D awarded to students who have demonstrated a limited knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of the unit. They have shown evidence of a limited level of cognitive and practical skill in assessment situations

E awarded to students who have demonstrated a very limited knowledge and understanding of the basic concepts and principles of the unit. They have shown evidence of a very limited level of cognitive and practical skill in assessment situations

Other possible grades on an ACT SSC are Pass, Participated, Status and Recognition.

A Pass grade is awarded in R, E and C units when a student has satisfactorily completed the unit and achieved at least some of the competencies (C, E units).

A Participated grade is awarded in C units when a student has met the attendance and assessment requirements but achieved none of the competencies.

A Status grade is awarded when a student has been unable to complete the unit through illness or misadventure and the college does not have enough evidence to award a grade (12).

A Recognition grade is awarded when a student has completed some year 11/12 studies in other jurisdictions.

Unit grades for H units will be awarded by the university, using the descriptors from that university. These grades include High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass, Ungraded Pass and Conceded Pass.

The Tertiary Entrance Statement

What is the purpose of the Tertiary Entrance Statement?

The ACT Tertiary Entrance Statement (TES) is awarded to all students who meet the ACT BSSS' requirements. It reports information used in the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR), which is required for admission into universities in Australia.

What is needed to obtain a TES?

The Board's requirements for a TES are:

Standard Package, you must:

  • complete a minimum of 20 standard units during senior secondary studies
  • form at least four majors and one minor, or three majors and three minors from A, T, M, H, C or E courses
  • complete at least three majors and one minor classified T or H
  • sit all components of the ACT Scaling Test

Abridged Package, you must:

  • complete a minimum of 8 standard T units
  • form at least four minor courses or one major and two minors

Your college will carry out checks and provide printouts on your package throughout years 11 and 12. You can also obtain details of your academic record at Profiles Online. It is very important that you check these carefully and notify your college of any errors.

What are the Scaled Scores reported on my TES?

Course scores you have been awarded in T or H courses at your college are used by the ACT BSSS to calculate your Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). These scores are scaled to achieve comparability of students' achievements across colleges and across courses. The scaling process allows all course scores to be reported on a common scale. Your results in the AST contribute to the scaling process. The process used by the ACT BSSS is called Other Course Score (OCS) scaling.

For more details see Scaling and the ATAR.

What does the Weighting mean on my TES?

The calculation of the ATAR is based on your best three major courses plus 0.6 of the next best major or minor. Each T course you complete will be given a weight based on how much of this 3.6 it is contributing. Any other courses would have been given a weighting of 0 and not used in the calculation of the ATAR.

What does the Weighted Scaled Scores mean on my TES?

This column lists the weighted scaled score for each of the 3.6 best courses. It is calculated by multiplying the scaled score by its weighting.

What is an Aggregate Score?

Your Aggregate  Score is calculated by adding up the Weighted Scaled Scores.

Calculating the ATAR

The Aggregate Scores for all students who have met the requirements are listed in order from highest to lowest. This ranking is then converted to an age rank (ATAR) by using a table supplied by the NSW Technical Committee on Scaling. This gives a rank for ACT students as if they were part of the NSW age cohort. The ATAR calculated in the ACT is directly comparable to the ATAR calculated in NSW and the same entrance cutoffs at NSW and ACT universities apply to both NSW and ACT students. If you are applying to interstate universities, state admission centres will use the ATAR for entry to their universities. This means that interstate applicants will be able to directly compare their ranks with university entrance cut-offs irrespective of their state of origin.

For more details see Scaling and the ATAR.

The Statement of Achievement

What is the purpose of the Statement of Achievement?

The Statement of Achievement is available for students who have not achieved the requirements for an ACT SSC.

You could ask your college to print a Statement of Achievement if you were completing your year 11 and year 12 studies, leaving college to seek employment or moving interstate.

It lists the units and courses you studied during years 11 and 12 up to the time you leave. Receiving a Statement of Achievement does not disqualify you from obtaining an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate.

What is shown on the Statement of Achievement?

The Statement of Achievement groups units and grades under course names.

What does it mean if a grade is missing?

An empty grade in the grades column indicates that the unit was not completed at the time that the document was issued. If you request a Statement of Achievement while attending college, a grade will not appear in the grade column where units have not been completed.

VET Certificates and Statements of Attainment

What is a Vocational Qualification?

Many ACT senior secondary colleges offer nationally recognised vocational courses. These courses are delivered to industry standard and, provided you meet the requirements, you will be issued with a qualification that will be recognised by vocational training providers (TAFEs, CIT, etc.) and employers around Australia. For more information, see the VET section of this website.

What does Certificate I/II/III mean?

This is the certificate level of the qualification and relates to the skills exhibited by the student. The higher the certificate level the more complex the skills. Variation occurs from industry to industry. You should seek advice before comparing certificate levels across industries.

What is the Australian Qualifications Framework?

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) links all qualifications issued by the secondary college sector, vocational education and training providers (including CIT and other TAFE systems) and higher education institutions (mainly universities) across Australia.

What are Competencies?

Vocational qualifications certify what you have demonstrated you can do, and this achievement is measured through competency-based assessment. Each industry has a list of competencies and students are assessed against these competencies. Information about this is contained in the relevant industry Training Package.

What is a VET Statement of Attainment?

A Statement of Attainment is issued for the partial completion of a vocational certificate. It shows competencies achieved and the qualifications studied through an ACT College.


Prior to 2015

Prior to 2015 the ACT awarded a Year 12 Certificate as the senior secondary qualification for students who successfully completed their senior secondary studies.

Following a review of ACT Certification the senior secondary certificate changed in 2015. From 2015 onwards students receive a Senior Secondary Certificate and a Record of Achievement when they successfully complete their senior secondary studies in the ACT.

All students who graduate and are eligible for an ATAR also receive a Tertiary Entrance Statement.  This did not change in 2015.

VET certification did not change in 2015.


Brochures

What Certificates Could you Obtain? pdf icon (230.1 KB)

What's the ATAR? pdf icon (176.6 KB)