The annual Queensland Core Skills Test for Year 12 students was completed on Tuesday and Wednesday, the third last to be held of this unique set of examinations that has well served Queensland students and educators since 1991. It is a brilliant testing of ‘core skills’ that are embedded throughout the curriculum all students complete with a knowledge requirement to Year 10 Mathematics. The test does not examine knowledge apart from the maths to Year 10, but it focuses on the skills that students will carry with them possibly for life, such as reading a graph, spatial awareness, patterns, language conventions, following instructions, etc. The core skills include writing, and this year’s two hour, six hundred word extended piece of writing in any genre apart from poetry, was on the theme of ‘The Things That Last’. There are multiple stimulus items provided in the test paper to encourage students’ writing, as the exercise is designed to have freely written responses on a topic and subject of individual choice, but with that common new theme that prevents pre-written items being memorised prior to the exam. Students with plenty of ‘knowledge’ should have more easier access to content stored in their minds; it is a brilliant, challenging task that shows the marker a student’s vocabulary, accuracy in language conventions, ability to structure, following of instructions including word length, and overall achievement of purpose. I was taken with one of our student author’s title that I read in the CCPS examination, “The Future of History”. I can assure you, that would have been a challenging piece to write, and very memorable for the marker to read!

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