BENDIGO schools say more support will be needed for year 12 students with the potential for extra anxiety around the revamped general achievement test.
The GAT has been redesigned by the state government to better measure and report literacy and numeracy levels of VCE and VCAL students.
All year 12 students will sit the revamped test from 2021 with the results to help potential employers decide on the job readiness of young people.
Catherine McAuley College director of learning and teaching Matthew Angove said he worried the availability of GAT results would mean employers decide on a person's job readiness based on one day of their school life.
"I worry employers might make a decision on someone being the right person for a job - whether it is as a chef, an aged carer or a construction worker - that they make that decision on a test students have done in three hours on one day," he said.
Mr Angove said there was always a need an desire to improve literacy and numeracy skills in students.
"Teachers always want to improve those things," he said.
"I can understand why it is being introduced it but I don't think it will achieve the outcomes it is supposed to achieve. It won't led to better literacy and numeracy. Extra tests mean more student anxiety."
Mr Angove said the VCAL certification is primarily designed as a vocational pathway for students who aren't generally looking for university or TAFE straight out of school.
"Some reasons they do that pathway is that it is a lot more of a 'real life' sort of thing. They're not sitting to do academics, which they can be anxious about," he said.
"So I worry what could happen if those students go on to year 12, drop out and don't receive a (VCE or VCAL) certificate."
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Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said he hoped year 12 students dropping out wouldn't be the case but said more support would be needed for some students.
"For students who need additional support, the Department of Education put in place support for students not hitting the national benchmarks according to the year 9 NAPLAN (results)," he said.
"Students will get individual support and I anticipate VCAL students might be nervous for (this change) but the responsibility with schools is to support students and help manage that experience.
"The GAT is not tied to a certificate, students will still able to get their certificate. All that happens is the final statement includes a statement on the literacy or numeracy level from the GAT.
"We will need to reassure students around the fact they can still can successfully complete their certificate (regardless of the GAT score)."
The structure of the GAT will change with the traditional three-hour test to be split into a two hour component and a 90 minute compant for students enrolled in one or more VCE Unit 3 and 4 sequences.
Reading, writing and numeracy standards will be assessed with students to receive a statement showing how they performed on standards typically expected of those entering the workforce after school.
"Breaking the GAT into two parts will make it easier for students to demonstrate their skills and abilities," state education minister James Merlino said.
"We are also making sure that students get the individualised and tailored support they need to boost their literacy and numeracy skills."
"This is something industry groups and employers have called for, and will ensure students finish school with the skills they need for workplaces or further study."
Mr Pearce said he hoped sample questions would be available for students to help understand what to expect from the GAT.
BSSC's most recent figures show about 11 per cent of students that completed year 12 in 2018 went straight into the workforce with the remainder taking up university, TAFE or apprenticeship pathways.
"Other students leave earlier (than year 12) but the test will not be relevant for them because they won't sit it," Mr Pearce said. "What we're all trying to do keep kids in school longer to widen options for those students.
"The flipside is who is using that information. It's driven by concern from employers and is most relevant for students going directly to the workforce with employers looking for work readiness.
"A majority (of students) go to university or TAFE environments and a statement of (literacy or numeracy) levels are not relevant for them."
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