Phasing Out OP Scores in 2019

Phasing out OP Scores in Queensland Schools
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Did you know? The Queensland Government has delayed its phasing out OP Scores. Now the new system will begin with students entering Year 11 in 2019, not 2018 as previously planned. In 2019 the Queensland Government will introduce new senior assessment and tertiary entrance systems.

The new systems will include:

  • a model that uses school-based assessment and common external assessment
  • processes that strengthen the quality and comparability of school-based assessment
  • a move away from the Overall Position (OP) rank to an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

What is the OP Score?

Phasing out OP Scores - students in exam

Overall Positions (OPs) are a statewide rank order of students based on their achievement in Authority subjects. They show how well students performed in their senior studies, compared with the performance of all other students in the State. We’ve written another article to give you an OP 101 lesson here.

Assessment changes

A system of 100% school-based assessment has operated in Queensland for more than 40 years. In the new system, subject results will be based on a student’s achievement in three school-based assessments and one external assessment that is set and marked by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). This is fewer assessments than students sit currently — emphasising quality over quantity.

In the new system, the external assessment results will contribute 25% towards a student’s result in most subjects. In mathematics and science subjects, it will generally contribute 50%. The school-based assessments will not be scaled by the results of the external assessment when calculating a student’s subject result. The new system will keep all the qualities inherent in school-based assessment while introducing greater consistency and the transparency of common assessments that are sat by students at all schools.

Tertiary entrance changes

A student’s OP is calculated by comparing their results in Authority subjects studied at school with those of other OP-eligible students. Subject results are scaled using Queensland Core Skills (QCS) Test results. The final QCS Test will be held in 2019.

ATARs will also be calculated by comparing student results. But instead of the QCS Test there will be a process of inter-subject scaling. Scaling is necessary so that student results in different types of subjects can be compared. The method of inter-subject scaling to be used is still to be finalised by the Senior Secondary Assessment Taskforce.

When will the new senior assessment system start?

The new senior assessment system will start with students entering Year 11 in 2019. The first students to receive an ATAR instead of an OP will graduate from Year 12 in 2020.

What’s the difference between the OP rank and ATAR?

The ATAR is a finer-grained rank order of students than the OP and is commonly used in other states and territories. It’s a number between 0.00 and 99.95 with increments of 0.05, whereas the OP consists of 25 bands. The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) will be responsible for calculating students’ ATARs.

What Do Parents Need to Know?

  • The QLD government have considered this approach after extensive research – the findings of which can be found here.
  • There are a number of schools already trialling the external assessment procedures. Find out if your school is one here.
  • After over 20 years of having an OP system, there is a considerably amount of false information floating about. Read the facts and debunk the current OP myths here.
  • You can keep up to date with the Australian Curriculum implementation by signing up to receive QCAA news for schools and QCAA memos.

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