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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1871..


Education

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (4.23): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) recognises the success of the ACT's senior secondary education system;

(2) acknowledges continuous assessment provides for a high degree of integrity in the assessment process;

(3) notes there is no educational merit in changing the ACT's college system and continuous assessment model; and

(4) places on the record its opposition to the Howard Government's unnecessary intervention in the ACT education system.

There is no doubt that the ACT has the best education system in Australia. ACT students have consistently ranked higher than the national average in educational benchmarks, and the ACT college system has been recognised for its high level of success. Despite the ACT's outstanding educational record, in July this year the federal education minister, Julie Bishop, wrote to my colleague the Minister for Education and Training, Andrew Barr, requesting that the territory introduce external year 12 exams by as early as 2009 or risk losing $30 million of recurrent funding each year.

This is little more than a pre-election stunt and a commonwealth grab for power. For more than 30 years, the continuous assessment system has been used to assess students in the ACT. Unlike the Northern Territory and other states, the ACT and Queensland do not have public examinations or external exams such as the HSC—the Higher School Certificate—but assess students continuously over the two years of their college life. Continuous assessment is seen as a fairer system of assessment than external exams, as it takes into account not just the regular internal exams and other forms of assessment to check knowledge of subjects and intellectual development, but all of a young person's abilities, interests and achievements.

The ACT's Year 12 Certificate is highly regarded around Australia as a qualification for young people seeking work or further education. It has the same status as similar certificates issued elsewhere in the country. Ms Bishop is seeking uniformity for uniformity's sake, at a time when the Howard government will do anything to win the next federal election. The ACT community has shown its strong support for the college sector and continuous assessment, and I do not believe they wish to see this successful approach thrown out at the whim of a federal minister. Julie Bishop has not provided any educational argument for changing the ACT's extremely successful college system. Until we see an educational argument for change, we should continue to support the strong system we have.

We have the best education system in the country. Our college system and model of continuous assessment serve our students well as they move beyond school into further education or the workforce. There are countless benefits in the continuous


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