VCE Modern Language Assessment To Be Made Fairer

20 November 2019

The Andrews Labor Government is making VCE modern Language assessments fairer.

The new changes announced by the Minister for Education James Merlino enable differentiation between students who have spoken a language as a ‘first language’ or are learning it as a ‘second language’.

Two levels of Language are already being used successfully in VCE Japanese, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese. VCE Chinese students have four levels available: First Language, Second Language, Second Language Advanced and Chinese Language, Culture and Society.

Under the changes for other modern languages, First and Second Language students will still follow the same curriculum and sit the same examinations. The changes will simply ensure there is equity in assessment and there is no disadvantage for Second Language students.

The current VCE First Language studies are for students who have spent some time as a resident and/or have had significant experience of studying the language in a country where it is the major language of communication.

A student will be considered a Second Language student if they have had no more than seven years of education in a school where the language is the medium of instruction. This same criterion is currently used for VCE Japanese Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese Second Language studies.

The changes will be implemented by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and introduced in 2021 for the study of VCE Unit 3 and 4 languages. This will allow students coming through in Years 9 and 10 now to make informed choices about selecting language studies in VCE.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“Learning a language expands your horizons – I want to encourage all Victorian students to take their language studies through to their VCE. These changes will make it fairer for all VCE Language students.”

“Learning a language connects students to other cultures, opens doors around the world and creates future career opportunities.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Jenny Mikakos

“We are blessed with a strong multicultural community here in Victoria and it’s important that how we assess language skills at VCE reflects that.”

“A fairer system means more Victorian students regardless of their cultural background and existing language skills will be encouraged to study a second language – including Greek - at VCE.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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