Testing Times At School

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I finished year 12 in 1993, back in the dark ages. I wrote- wrote, not typed- essay after essay for English, modern history, ancient history etc etc. My eldest finished year 12 in 2019 and my son is currently in year 10. They have far less homework than I had. They read fewer books, and the level of comprehension is much lower. My kids are all A-B students, and are not stretched at all.

A Parent in SA. About Grade 10 at Public school.

With so much content to deliver we do not go in depth. Content is fashionable, rather than grounded in basic principals. The expectations in my subject are greater than a bachelor degree. Example- yr11/12 students write a 10,000 word report whereas the largest I wrote in my degree was 2500. QLD recently implemented ATAR and yet did not seek support from our southern states/ colleagues who have a wealth of experience. My senior students have to be taught how to structure paragraphs in my subject. Creative writing in English does not support their creative writing. This also takes extra time away from content.

A Teacher in QLD. About Public school.

The curriculum leaves leaves little scope for individual interpretation. It seems to be one answer only, no room for discussion in how the answer was discovered. The workload is massive, at an age where relationships are being explored, friendships are experimented, add in casual work and learning to drive the workload is unquestionable almost impossible to manage

A Parent in TAS. About Grade 11 at Public school.

Ok, I chose year 12. However I am a primary school teacher of 27 years. My husband is a high school head teacher of PDHPE, also of 27 years. I have three kids that have gone through the public education system, that my husband and I teach in. Our eldest is 18- just finished year 12 in nsw. We now have a uni student, a student in year 11 and one that just started year 7. We have a lot of expertise. A lot of experience. A lot to say. I am absolutely ashamed of the system I work in. Why do I stay? For the kids that deserve it!!! I really appreciate you putting yourself out there to take on such a huge job. I am happy to speak to you. Number is xxxxxxxxxx

A Teacher in NSW. About Grade 12 at Public school.

Every week, every term is a race to teach and cram as much as we can into our student’s learning time. It is a juggling act of deciding what to prioritise and invest the most time on in order to prepare students for assessments (many of which are way beyond or too complex the necessary skill level). Students are constantly pushed to engage more, keep up and retain large amounts of information in order to survive. There is rarely time to review or go back over concepts or topics and if you have students who are falling behind, teachers are expected to push harder to catch them up, support, demand rigour and differentiate where possible. If you ask for help or suppprt, admin rarely have a solution or recognition of issues as they are under pressure themselves to present high standards and test scores that make their schools look great!

A Teacher in QLD. About Public school.

I am a teacher and a parent of a student in Yr 12, with 14 yrs experience teaching, so I taught under the OP and now the ATAR/QCE systems. I see some strengths and weaknesses in the current General Senior syllabuses. Strengths: - consistency of language and the expectations are very clear and transparent (if you are a teacher and know how to interpret the ISMG). - Only 4 pieces of assessment contribute to ATAR (in the OP system, there was a range in the number of assessments per subject (i.e. up to 6 for some subjects), and per schools could also decide how many tasks were set. So for the same subject some schools gave students 4 tasks, while others gave students 6. - More consistency across the school sector in task construction and expectations. In the OP system, teachers wrote tasks and collected student reponses. Sometimes there was a broard range of expectations between schools - i.e. one school might set an exam that was much easier than another (for example). At the end of Yr 12, both the task and responses were "verified". It could be very heartbreaking for a student to think they were in the VHA band all year, only to be told at the end that their work was more in the HA band. In the QCE system, the tasks are endorsed before they are given to students, and then the marks are confirmed at set times in the year, so students go into their final exams with a clear understanding of their progress to date. Weaknesses: As there are very set expectations, there are very few avenues for schools to make adjustments for their particular cohort - for example, schools with a higher number of EALD students could set tasks with more simplistic language. Becuase of this, I believe the current QCE is inherently biased against EALD students and students who are not confident in literacy. Schools can offer EALD English as well as General English, but for smaller schools, this may not be practicable. This is a cause of a lot of the stress student's feel. If (as a teacher) I am to prepare my Yr 12 students for their external exams in October/November and give them time to do practice tests and revise, I have to finish teaching all the appropriate content before the end of Term 3. I can choose to cram 4 terms worth of learning into 3 terms, or I can start teaching Yr 12 work in Yr 11. Many schools are taking this option. However, this has consequences for Yr 11. Do I cram 4 terms worth of content into 2 or 3 terms, or do I start teaching Yr 11 work in Yr 10? Once again, many schools are opting to start Yr 11 work in Yr 10. What we have to remember is that students cognitive abilities are still developing, and therefore by pushing the teaching of content and skills "down" we are expecting students to exhibit thinking skills that they are not yet developmentally capable of. Once again a source of stress and anxiety. The timing of when we have to submit work for confirmation (particularly the IA3 - last task) is in mid August (Term 3 Week 6). If I am to have all the marking of this task finished in time to submit the grades for confirmation, students must have compelted the tasks by week 4 (or 5 if I am a fast marker and I am not cross-marking). Counting back time again to make sure I can give feedback on their drafts, I need student to submit drafts by weeks 2 or 3. Counting back the class time allocation, often means that students are given assignments before the holidays, with the due dates being after the holidays. This does not mean that students are expected to work on their holiday (but many do, especially if they want to reduce their workload in Term 3). I find this time point particularly hard for the students, as they will have up to 6 tasks (assignments or exams) to complete very early in Term 3. Another weakness is that the external exams for some subjects contribute to 50% of the overall ATAR (science and maths), but for others (humanities, english, the arts) the external exam contributes to 25% of their ATAR. I don't feel that this is equitable and discourages students from pursuing STEM subjects. Where the EA counts for 50%, it covers 2 semesters of work. Therefore students are being assessed on content they have learned 12 months earlier. Even Universities don't assess 12 months worth of learning in one exam. I have a big issue with how the subjects are scaled to generate the final ATAR. Even between subjects in the same discipline, there can be different scaling (i.e. Physics scales up, Biology scales down). The ISMG's within a discipline have the same expectations, so why is the scaling different? Underpinning Concerns: The QCE/ATAR was designed to be transparent and academically rigorous to ensure that there is equity between schools. I think it has achieved that. However, there are few avenues for schools to offer support for their students who need extra support to meet the minimum academic standard. Some students are encouraged to move into a VET pathway becuase they are not "cognitively" ready to meet the academic standards (at the end of Yr 10), even if ultimately they want to go to University. The QCE/ATAR system is making schools teach in a very "academic" focussed way in order to prepare students for the challenges of Yr 11 and 12, as a result there is a lot of 'teaching to the test'. This goes against what we know about engagement in learning, that students learn best what they are interested in and what is relevant to them. There is some room for contextualised learning in the General Syllabuses, but not much, and many teachers are so overwhelmed with trying to deliver the amount of content, that there is little time left over for personalising and contextualising information. I have more to say, but I think that is enough for now!

A Teacher in QLD. About Grade 12 at Private school.

My daughter dropped psychology after stage one as it was so intense and hated it despite wanting to be a psychologist!! Has just started first year psychology at university and finding it so much more enjoyable and easier content yet nearly didng go down this path thanks to stage 1 psych!!! . Why is the curriculum at school going way beyond a students capability hence putting them off their desired pathways!! Also I’m a school nurse and the stress the ATAR is putting on students is horrendous. My job is predominantly dealing with mental health, stress and burn out. The ATAR is about bums on seats in private schools….. not nurturing well rounded capable young adults !!! Change this mentality!!! My new direction for my very smart sons is to enjoy school, participate in all activities, be kind and considerate and don’t chase the ATAR….

A Parent in SA. About Grade 12 at Private school.

The curriculum is far too complex. The time we actually have to teach each primary subject scrapes the surface of each learning area. So much time is wasted picking through what we have the time to cover. The curriculum is a round hole and there lots of square pegs.

A Teacher in WA. About Public school.

I am not a year 11/12 teacher, but I am a primary school teacher. I know our curriculum has just been reviewed and they r going to or have recently released the "new" version. This could b the same case. They may not be so receptive to more changes. All teachers are under the direction of their principals and some principals may have made adjustments to the curriculum. Some teacher may have made the necessary changes in their own classes and are supported by admin or hiding it from admin.( As their professional skills allow them to know what is needed and what is unnecessary). Some teachers may also not want to complain or be seen to be complaining. I also question how many teachers the "stakeholder" asked?

A Teacher in QLD. About Public school.

The curriculum is too much, the pressure is too much the expectations is too much. Our beautiful girl was planning to be a vet, she was doing so well but the pressure was immence, to the point of unbearable and the fear of failure was crippling. It developed into severe anxiety which she still has. The curriculum was beyond anything parents could help with and we couldn't afford tutoring. We had no one that could help as the level was well past 1yr Uni standard. We had a family tradgegy happen just before exams and we couldn't get any special considerations apart from a separate room as all forms for SEAS had to be submitted in March. MARCH!! As if life conforms to those ridiculous dates. We were at crisis point and were just trying to get her to survive so we made the decisionwith her to pull her from exams which exploded her dreams in an instance and the school system isn't set up to support as well as it needs to. Her mental health was always going to be worth more than her education. She couldnt get straight into uni, would have had to spend a couple of years doing a side door entry which she doesn't want to do as the pressure and expectations of Y11/Y12 is scaring our kids out of further education. She doesn't want 5+ years of "year 12". We are supposed to set our kids up for success no matter their path, not set them up to struggle with unrealistic curriculum and expectations. We have to do better. We have to change our VCE system and access to university.

A Parent in VIC. About Grade 12 at Public school.

The new QLD syllabi are so content heavy that I can no longer ‘teach’ for understanding…. Rather, irrespective of comprehension.. every lesson I deliver new content. I teach yr 11 and 12 Maths. The pressure of 50% of results coming from the external exam is stressful. Some schools have already worked out how to the the ‘edge’. The INCONSISTENCY of what internal assessment tasks are endorsed is becoming soul destroying. Fellow colleagues in different schools are instructed to ‘maximise’ their internal marks. I understand we all want what’s best for our students but some stories are that marks are given not earned. Because there is no mechanism (that I know of) that looks at the wide discrepancies of students internal V external mark… the system is already flawed. QCAA haven’t listened to Teachers….. if they had, then both Students and Teachers would not be so stressed and disillusioned.

A Teacher in QLD. About Grade 12 at Private school.

The amount of time and pressure to achieve is insurmountable! No wonder today’s youth have such high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide! No amount of counseling or mentoring will take away the impossibly high standards… my daughter is adamant on achieving A’s in all her subjects, she works incessantly and with such dedication but I have deep concerns for the lack of balance… she has no time to pursue recreational activities, sport or even a part-time job because all of her spare time is spent studying and working on assessments. The school system is breeding workaholics, it is detrimental and unsustainable. It affects the whole family because of the stress it places on everyone. It affects relationships, it affects mental health and well-being, it affects physical health and the immune system. A lot of high schoolers are literally burned out, and they’re only teenagers! I studied a bachelor of psychology and a bachelor of health science at university during the 90’s and the science my daughter’s have learned in high school has been the same as what I learned in 2nd and 3rd year uni. It’s absolutely ridiculous! The curriculum needs to allow for work life balance, it currently does not!

A Parent in QLD. About Grade 11 at Private school.

There is too much pressure on the kids. The expectation of what they should be producing in assignments is equivalent to someone who is at least 2nd or 3rd year into a degree. The level of critical thinking required and the execution of those thoughts onto paper, backed by research, is in my opinion beyond the average child’s capacity. If they are not able to do so, they do not pass. There is pressure from the school and the teachers. Their nervous systems are strung out, and many hold the belief that they will never amount to anything unless they can successfully write a uni assignment. I also don’t agree with the 3hrs of homework every night. I’m interested in teaching my daughters life skills, like preparing meals, washing, cleaning and how to be organised. This is impossible when they get home from school and spend all time at home completing homework and assignments. I have 1 child, out of 4, left to finish school. She is in yr 8 and is already begging me to let her leave in yr 10. She comes home from school wiped out and by the end of the term looks like an empty shell. It’s not sustainable. I am tempted to let her leave in yr 10 as I witnessed what my older 3 went through and I choose mental health over perceived academic success.

A Parent in QLD. About Private school.

My son was tested at 15 with an IQ of 125. However he had ADD so struggled with focus - even with medication he found year 11 so stressful he began feeling nauseous daily - he did not complete and dropped out. 1 year later and the sense of failure has so overwhelmed him that he still has severe anxiety. I was stunned to hear that the grade 12 English primary piece of work was analysing Shakespeare. There is not even an option of another novel - my husband who is a qualified accountant can’t cope with Shakespeare so probably wouldn’t have passed English now. You must be able to analyse Shakespeare to pass standard English…really. I strongly feel that our currently schooling system is designed only for high achievers and the rest just fall through the cracks and drop out - no longer is grade 12 pass achievable to an average student or even a smart student that doesn’t “fit” with a standard university brain.

A Parent in QLD. About Private school.

I work with in a ‘prestigious’ Brisbane private school supporting students with disability. In my experience, these students are widely seen as a liability, not by the teachers themselves but by the governing body of the school including the school principal themselves. As a school, we appear to ‘celebrate’ excellence across all areas of life (on social media) but behind the scenes these students are encouraged to move to other schools or sit out NAPLAN as they do not make the ‘data’ look good. A real issue I have with the current way that 11 and 12 is run is that all the accommodations that teachers must make for students with a disability from Prep to 10 are suddenly either no longer allowed or are EXTREMELY hard to gain approval for. All through their schooling students are told that teachers will do whatever they can to support them and remove barriers to learning but then on 11 and 12 we pull the rug out from under them. In my mind it is discriminatory and completely unfair.

A Teacher in QLD. About Private school.

The content of the curriculum for the VCE is too much. The study design asks teachers to design assessment that is diverse and requires a different set of skills than sitting an exam. Eg - a media analysis for psychology, no tests allowed. Whilst this is great kids get to show a range of skills, the reality is over 66% of their mark relies on an exam of a whole years content, none of which will include media analysis skills. The teacher graded work also gets moderated against the exam score so the way teachers assess doesn’t count for much, it is still the exam that matters. The sciences in VCE used to have semester based exam and less content. As a teacher for over 20 years the pressures have definitely increased for students and teachers

A Teacher in VIC. About Private school.

That we require student to either earn or learn but for some of the students still at school the written component of subjects such as Art, Manual Arts and Hospitality, Rec are setting students to fail.

A Teacher in QLD. About Public school.

Our daughter doesn’t know that she wants to do when she leaves school. She’s not particularly academic and struggles with mild social anxiety however has a consistent peer group who she’s known since year 4/5. She doesn’t know what she wants to do when she leaves school. She doesn’t have a casual job but does adhoc babysitting and likes being around kids. She is terrified of working in hospitality and would prefer a retail job like Kmart. She doesn’t want to go to university. We’ve always told her there is no pressure and to do just do her best. Her older sister left school at the end of year 10 as she hated it. She’s been working full time in hospitality ever since and is living independently at 18. Despite both being university educated, my husband and I just want our kids to be happy. We have been pretty dissatisfied with the high school education system as parents. Neither of our kids have ever been ‘engaged’ and they were both open to it. They don’t have teachers who they will remember as awesome down the track like I did. I feel like we as parents are literally counting down their years at high school just like they are/were. When selecting her subjects for year 11&12, we encouraged our daughter to choose subjects that she is naturally good at and/or enjoys. We also suggested she choose a TAFE cert 3 so she had a qualification when she finished school. She decided to do childcare because she doesn’t mind looking after kids. English is compulsory and she chose standard English after initially considering the ‘easier’ non-ATAR English as she’s not a reader and English has always been hard for her. (Her year adviser said she might as well do standard English as all the subjects she had chosen apart from childcare were ATAR subjects.) The only subject she really enjoys is history and she got a B in year 10 history so she selected modern history. She got an A in PDHPE and cooking in year 10 so she selected those subjects. For her 6th subject she chose Community and Family Studies because the content looked interesting and she’s got an interest in psychology and social work. She has almost finished term 1 of year 11 and she’s already stressed, particularly when it comes to modern history which she is not enjoying but used to love. Teachers keep telling her how critical the next two years are and reinforcing the ATAR aspect of the subjects they’re teaching. Who cares I say? She’s having nightmares about the HSC exams already and she’s not even aiming for a TER, just aiming to finish school. Some of the stress is associated with her anxious personality but I don’t think the teachers are helping with some of their commentary. It’s like she’s being robotically moved through a curriculum with no soul. Some of the assessments are crazy….not hard necessarily but just redundant. Eg. for modern history she has to submit a draft essay on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sounds perfectly legitimate but the actual assessment is she has to reproduce it in the classroom in an hour. So she has to memorize the essay and rewrite it in an hour. She’s getting marked on whether she can do that? What is that testing?? So far, the only thing she’s looking forward to is the school ski trip in July holidays - her inclusion on that camp is a blessing.

A Parent in NSW. About Grade 11 at Public school.

I am a relief teacher and when I go into ATAR classes I often see Stressed out kids who tell me they have no time for their sports and jobs from the need to study and in many subjects there seems to be low pass marks.

A Teacher in WA. About Private school.

School is great and supportive doing what they can to support mental well-being and balance. The ‘suicide six’ of maths science ATAR subject combinations is a horrific label for those wanting the best ATAR. The first chemistry assignment for year 11 is above what I did in university. The expectations for English are at university level and certainly don’t reflect literacy skills needed. As a year 11/12 English teacher to transferred to primary and now a curriculum leader in a PS- what is expected from the curriculum for my daughter is irrelevant to the developmental requirements. At no stage in the F-10 syllabus is there the rigour and requirement to operate at the transitional level to support the jump to ATAR. That makes it harder and more stressful. The F-10 curriculum focuses on students demonstrating what they know. My family’s experience with ATAR so far is that it isn’t a show us what you know situation, it’s a manipulate Knowledge that your time poor teacher is under curriculum pressure to pump at you and then demonstrate reasoning and problem solving with high level content. No one can do this as a novice with knowledge. The metaphorical sausages ( same dimensions) that this system has and is pumping out don’t have any of the ‘soft skills’, their resilience is crumbling and it is just surviving. There is a job for everyone and there is a pathway to higher learning without an ATAR of 98.00. Society and the media and this ‘be better than everyone’ mentality that high achieving students are forced into is so unhealthy, it takes a whole family effort to nurture through. If I could work part time to ease the load I would. I definitely won’t be looking for personal promotions until my kids finish high school because my family needs the kindness, patience and buoyancy of both their parents. Single parent families must find this very hard. Don’t even get me started on the expectations that everyone gets a tutor? If everyone needs a tutor, it’s too hard! These tutors aren’t necessarily experts int ehir field, they are recently graduated kids who got coached through it themselves. How flawed and inequalible is it for families and students who can’t afford? How can they get a leg up to change their future if at the age of 15/16, they are financially didadvantaged because of a tutor to spoon feed answers. That. Is. Wrong. We are very fortunate in our house that between us as parents we can help with every subject except for French and will be able to for the duration. But it’s making us (as intelligent and high achieving adults) really think hard. They are not adults, they are 15/16/17. Adults buckle under this sort of pressure. Why the hell does our society inflict it on kids. They. Are. Kids. As I tell my sweet high achieving girl, we much rather you to be passing, stable, balanced and able to work in the outside world than continue to get straight As. She is starting to see and with encouragement is learning to play the long game. I haven’t even started on kids who learn differently like our other child who is in Year 9. A curriculum and assessment process that is dictated by literacy demands of tertiary is skewed. Definitely skewed. Learning from the eldest, our youngest will be strategic and savvy re selections. I didn’t think I had much to say but I got on a roll. This needs to change. As a parent and a curriculum leader, society’s quest to to do right by kids is setting them up for a hard road. PS. New F-10 curriculum coming released in term 2. It isn’t less. Content descriptors combined so there is the same workload but less dot points if that makes sense. There will be backlash-‘ consultation process’ last year was tell us what you think but this is what we’re planning. It will go down like a lead balloon for teachers.

A Parent in QLD. About Grade 11 at Private school.

I am a senior lawyer at a Brisbane firm. I completed high school 20 years ago this year. I remember the pressure and stress I was under in my senior years. One assessment in particular stands out - an English assessment where we had to memorise and recite Shakespeare. Despite being an excellent student (I was dux of my school), I stumbled on a passage, forgot my words and couldn’t recover. I ran out of the classroom in tears, to the sniggers of my classmates. I knew I would be marked down, and it felt like 2 years of senior schooling went down the drain with that one piece of assessment, which we had to memorise and perform in front of our peers, not all of whom wished to see their fellow classmates succeed… Fast forward to last month, which was CPD (continuing professional development) season for lawyers (we need 10 ‘points’ for learning during a year). These are usually done by attending seminars. I attended 4 one-hour seminars put on by Brisbane’s best and brightest lawyers. Some of these lawyers are recognised as the best in the business. Not ONE of the presentations was given without speaking notes. Every single speaker at any conference I have been at since I was admitted as a lawyer has had either/or/both speaking notes and PowerPoint slides. Why do we expect our year 12 students to rote learn speeches and Shakespeare when, in the real world, no one needs to memorise lines - unless you are a stage actor. It’s absurd that our kids will put more emphasis on memorising the words than understanding their message and appreciating the art. I cannot stand Shakespeare and I can only think it has to do with the fact there was so much damn pressure to memorise ancient lines. All I recall of Shakespeare is the dread and anxiety I felt - not the poignant messages in his texts. I hated my senior years, and I was School Captain and dux, and I worked casually because I didn’t come from a family who had the means to fund a senior student (driving lessons, fuel, having enough money to socialise when you weren’t studying). I went to a pretty low achieving Catholic school and even with straight As, the best OP I could get was a 4. The highest in our year was a 3, because we were “brought down” by the weighting that used to occur with QCS. I got the exact same marks as a friend who went to a more exclusive private school (all VHAs, same subjects) and he got a 2. I was embarrassed by my final score - so much so I lied about it when I started university (funnily, no one has asked me since what OP I got). I went on to get a Bachelor of Communications, was a journalist for 4 years, got an honours degree in law. Last year I completed my Masters in Law with a 6.667 GPA - this was something I did in my spare time when I’m not working, raising 3 (soon to be 4) children. The reason I say all this is because I found a MASTERS DEGREE IN LAW from Queensland’s top uni to be less stressful, less all consuming than year 11 and 12. I wish I knew then what I knew now. While I have enjoyed some success in my career, I thought “small” because I didn’t think I could be a doctor or a veterinarian or a scientist because “I wasn’t good at” maths B. It never occurred to me that I could study finance because I couldn’t study economics at school - it wasn’t offered. How different my life would have been if I’d become an investment banker or a doctor. But, our kids leave school wearing labels and with preconceived ideas about what we can and can’t do based on two years of schooling. It’s maddening. I spent quite a bit of time travelling overseas in my early 20s (including a semester abroad at an overseas uni) and what struck me is that for all the bloody pressure, Queensland (and Australia?) is not producing well-rounded, curious, capable students. My goodness, if you ever need proof of this, have a conversation with a cadet reporter or the work experience kid (Madonna knows!!). Half of them could not even tell you the context of the fall of the Berlin Wall. So much of my schooling was an exercise in rote learning. Interestingly, when I went to law school - a degree that is very heavily based on examinations that are worth a substantial portion of the grade - we didn’t walk into the exam room empty handed. We were allowed 5 pages of notes, and while I am sure we all wear glasses now thanks to the size 2 font we used, it turns out that the work that goes into condensing 12 weeks of heavy content and case law into 5 pages was a great exercise in distilling the important points from the fluff. All school taught me to do was memorise content. It didn’t teach me how to engage with the content, understand it, and apply it in my life. My children are only primary school and pre-school age, but I’m already concerned about their education. We delayed my son’s entry to school because if he’d gone off to school when he was eligible, he would still only have been 4 years old. He started this year and just turned 6 years old, and there are several 4 year olds in his class. As a prep teacher, how do you cater for a two year age difference in students?! That is a huge developmental gap. I hear so many parents “red shirting” their kids so they start later, but how is that fair for the families who don’t have a choice but to send their kids to school as soon as they can thanks to the exorbitant cost of childcare? Those kids are “competing against” kids two years older right from the get-go. There is an incredible book called “The Outliers”. I’d highly recommend it, if you haven’t read it. Opportunity and privilege have a compounding effect. We’ve intentionally avoided elite schools for the pressure (the “suicide six” is strongly encouraged in Brisbane’s top catholic boys school, and that little colloquialism says everything we need to know about the current school system), but I still worry that my children will be under a huge amount of pressure, be competing against these kids who are pushed to their limits for places at university and scholarships (don’t even get me started on scholarships - the full scholarships go to the highest achieving students, who usually come from elite schools, and who haven’t had to hold down a job during their senior years. Meanwhile, the kids who could really use financial help with uni miss out because they just can’t compete). I have not ruled out pulling them out of school and having them complete their senior years in 3 months at TAFE to avoid the pressure and heartache. The whole system is broken.

A Parent in QLD. About Private school.

Gee where does one start… poor subject selection and I know this differs from one school to the next but why? All schools should have a broad range of subjects for students in senior schooling, they are expected to pick these subjects in year 10 and just do them. Not enough real subjects being taught, everyday life matters aren’t being taught they are being let down by all these subjects that are there to fill gaps which comes back to poor subject selection. Timeframes of getting work done, it’s pressure on the kids do drafts , the drafts are expected to be the end assessment practically or otherwise you don’t get the appropriate feedback to assist with improving for the final assessment… the time frame the teachers take to return drafts is terrible. The kids have strict time frames to hand these back but teachers will think nothing of it to only hand them back giving kids an unrealistic amount of time to actually finish. This is most likely due to teachers workload but unfortunately it’s also due to the attitudes of some teachers not giving a crap. Teachers that are forced to teach classes they don’t understand the subject matter themselves or enjoy make the worst teachers … to think it’s ok for them to research pdf of info or a power point that the students just copy from, how is this teaching them anything. They tell You that they are there to support your child, no they aren’t if your child isn’t an straight A student or a student that barely passes they fall into this gap where they just Coast along and there is very little help unless you are lucky to find that gem of a teacher amongst them all. The curriculum is failing the students, the teachers are failing the students and the government is failing the teachers it’s a vicious cycle that needs to change for the sake of our future kids… school shouldn’t be something that is viewed as scary or mind numbing or an necessity they do or as Them counting the days until they are done because their anxiety is to high and a reminder is needed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The thing is I believe that teachers / schools / education department forget that by the time they get to yr 11 and 12 they are dealing with young adults that are already driving, working in the real word for whatever reason they need to, they are already having to face dealing with bosses and co workers etc but yet they are still treated as children. Theses kids understand that there has to be rules but they would get more out of there students if they treated them as the young adults they are and no longer pubescent kids starting yr 7. The world has changed , times have changed and this is one area that is so far behind it’s ridiculous. Thank you and good luck

A Parent in QLD. About Grade 12 at Public school.

Our eldest is in Year 11 at a Private school on the Gold Coast. Although he is academic, the amount of work and expectation on him is massive. I also do not understand why Christian Studies is compulsory for year 11 & 12! Why should this subject be necessary and counted instead of allowing him to choose something that he is actually interested in and helpful for him in the years ahead after school??! What about life skills? Real life learning and ways to cope and thrive in the real world. Learning to read a speech word for word is not something we need in the real world last time I checked. These last 2 years of school are built up with a lot of pressure, expectation, and at times dread. This is not what I want for my children. What worries me even more is that we have two other children to go through this current system - currently in years 9 & 6. I am deeply concerned that the way things are going, we'll be lucky to keep them at school and not home school or for them to drop out altogether as a result of the pressure. Our daughter in Year 9 has anxiety and panic attacks leading up to tests. Breaks down when she comes home depending on what pressure she has received at school from particular teachers about how she is going or rather how she should be. As if all children fit into the same category! Hey mental health is being affected and her memories of school are fast on the slippery slope of being miserable due to the workload. Couple that with friendship issues, growing up, country and world issues. The cracks are already there and we're asking more of our young ones than ever before! Don't get me started on our boy in Year 6! Let's just say that we know already he is very different and in a system where it's celebrated for fitting in and learning one way. He is the square peg expected to fit into a round hole and he will not cope with the workload - let alone understand the majority of it. And so here we have more mental health issues, no doubt a tutor because he's just meant to know how to cope. Weren't you born that way child? We'll be lucky to keep him at school until Year 10 and honestly, why would I subject our child to stay any longer anyway? We want our children to thrive not only survive in THEIR own way and learning style. I could go on however I think my point has been made. Thank you for collecting this information.

A Parent in QLD. About Grade 11 at Private school.

For a different view point, I’m a course coordinator and lecturer at a prestigious university in a program that requires 95-97.5 ATAR score to enter. It’s a full time degree (and by that I mean course work is scheduled for significant hours of the day, generally 5 days a weeks) over the 4 years of the programme. They’re enrolling to study in what is a high responsibility, high pressure profession. Students entering from high school are not equipped with the skills to cope. They can’t manage their own time, they don’t know how to study effectively, and they’re not resilient. They tend to be of the thinking that any level of stress is bad; it’s not, it’s not normal, they just do not know how to cope with it. Aside from these issues they’re entitled, don’t know how to communicate effectively verbally and in writing, and overwhelmingly are not prepared for tertiary level education. It has been a theme at the tertiary level for some time now that school students are not being prepared adequately for the expectations of university study. They have no concept of the expectations of the real world, and not only do they struggle at university but this also translates to the workplace. Comparatively, students from overseas or domestic students who have completed a year or two of university study before entering our degree cope much better. Our school system is failing to prepare the current generation for the realities of adulthood.

Someone in QLD. About Private school.

Maths and physics are so difficult they require four hours of tutoring each week. Architecture at college is so advanced that many of the kids apparently get bored in first year uni cos they have done it all before. English is so formulaic that it feels to me it has squashed a love of language. So much work now compared when I was at the same school 30 years ago. I loved it. I loved learning. My kid has done eight weeks of Year 11, done five exams and five major assignments. Welcome to college!

A Parent in ACT. About Grade 11 at Public school.

This is a community project by Rebecca Sparrow and Madonna King, in a bid to ensure our teenagers get the best education possible. Between us, each year, we speak to thousands of students and even more parents. This aims to bring together some of those stories in the hope authorities will listen to those voices that might not be heard.

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