Our Year 12s this week are sitting their final set of school examinations, designed to keep them in silent, thinking isolation to ensure there is no plagiarism and it is the student’s original work. There is nothing new in this, but nevertheless, this is an important principle that will be further strengthened in 2020 and beyond as these examinations at end of year will be set beyond the school, by the Qld Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) in Brisbane, and made available to all schools in Term 4, 2020 for student assessment. All students in a particular subject’s exams will sit this exam simultaneously across Qld, just as the outgoing Qld Core Skills Test was completed at exactly the same time in all Qld schools by Year 12. In relating this examination experience to the real world of work, there is the added time pressure to complete in a designated span of time. This is rather like a deadline, such as is the pressures for any journalist or writer, to submit on time. It seems increasingly that people are working in front of their device, wherever that is located at the time with greater mobility; but even for part time or Consultant employment, deadlines, and performance criteria must be met. So Term 4 2020 with fifty percent of a course’s grade coming from an exam in a Maths or a Science subject (twenty five percent in all other subjects), from an entire course’s content, is a significant additional pressure for young students. That is one reason why Qld Year 11 students early in Term 4 have experienced a rehearsal in their subjects’ exams at the end of their Year 11 courses’ completions, in readiness for Term 4, 2020. There will be major changes students and high schools will have next year in the assessment of their performance. This more centralised testing possibly more closely replicates university education assessment, and also the high stakes performance requirements that the world of employment demands of people. In a competitive environment of employment, pressures and demands of employees are increasing. Teachers feel these pressures from the assessment world of NAPLAN and Year 12 testing, just as students experience. All performance includes some stress and anxieties as mostly the testing content is unknown, and isolation and time pressures are added. We are very fortunate in Australia, and in Queensland that our standards of living are high, unemployment is relatively low, and access to tertiary education is available to all for progression in a person’s learning and skills. Coping with the associated stresses and anxieties is one of those skills that individual people need to learn and experience. However, speaking personally, I look forward to the fun of dressup Halloween Night on Friday. Dr Dirk Wellham – Principal

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