26 September 2023

Students to ‘GAT’ a look at school test questions

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Victorian students, their families and teachers can now access sample questions for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s (VCAA) new-look General Achievement Test (GAT).

Announced by the Minister for Education, James Merlino, the new GAT, to be held on 7 September, is part of the State’s reform of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) system into a new integrated senior secondary certificate.

Mr Merlino said this year’s test would be split into two sections, with example questions for Part A now available.

“[Section A] will explicitly report students’ literacy and numeracy scores against new standards to bring the Victorian GAT in line with similar tests in other States and Territories.

“Section B will look similar to the old GAT content: assessing skills in English, maths, science, technology, the arts and humanities – with an increased focus on critical and creative thinking skills,” he said.

“Students will now also receive information about whether they have demonstrated literacy and numeracy skills expected of someone completing secondary school.”

Mr Merlino said that while the new standards would be reported on students’ VCE or VCAL certificates, they would not contribute to a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) unless required to calculate a score, “for example, if a student requires a Derived Examination Score after missing an exam due to illness.”

“As in all previous years, no special study will be required for the GAT,” the Minister said.

“Past study of subjects like English, maths, science and history prepares students for the test by building their general knowledge and skills in writing, numeracy and reasoning.”

He said both sections of the new GAT would include 15 minutes of reading time, with Section A to include two hours of writing time and Section B to include 90 minutes of writing time.

Mr Merlino said all students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE Vocational Education and Training (VET) Unit 3–4 sequence were required to sit both sections of the GAT and, for the first time,­ Senior VCAL students would the GAT, “required to complete Section A only.”

The VCAA’s example GAT questions can be accessed at this PS News link.

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