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The GAT in 2022

The GAT is changing.

From 2023 we will be transitioning the VCE and VCAL to a new integrated senior secondary certificate. As part of the reform of the VCE and VCAL system, Victorian senior secondary students will this year have their literacy and numeracy skills measured against new standards in a reformed GAT.

The new standards will indicate whether students have demonstrated the literacy and numeracy skills typically expected of someone completing their secondary schooling – giving another indication of their readiness to move onto further education, training or employment

The 2022 GAT will be held on Wednesday 7 September. The slightly later test date provides the time required to ensure the revised GAT is valid and reliable, and for teachers and students to understand the changes – with the test expected to return to its traditional June date from 2023.

The reformed GAT follows a comprehensive review conducted by the VCAA. It will see Victoria join other jurisdictions who already incorporate literacy and numeracy standards as part of their senior secondary reporting. The GAT will provide specific information on each student's key skills for life beyond school.

Key changes

Split arrows

The GAT will be split into two sections:

  • Section A will assess literacy and numeracy skills
  • Section B will assess skills in mathematics, science, technology, the arts and humanities, with an increased focus on critical and creative thinking skills
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All students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3 –4 sequence will be required to sit Sections A and B. Senior VCAL students will sit Section A

Calendar

The GAT will be held on Wednesday 7 September

 

What is staying the same

  • All students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence will be required to sit the GAT
  • GAT results will continue to be used to check that VCE external assessments and school-based assessments have been accurately and fairly assessed. If a student does well in the GAT, they are likely to do well in their other assessments
  • No special study will be required. Past study of subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and History prepares students for the GAT by building their general knowledge and skills in writing, numeracy and reasoning

Your questions answered

Please check back on this page as new questions will be added over time.

General

What is the purpose of the GAT?

The GAT is an essential part of the VCE assessment process. While it is important that students attempt the GAT, the test does not count directly towards their VCE. GAT results are used to check that VCE external assessments and school-based assessments have been accurately and fairly assessed. The GAT is used because its results are a good predictor of final assessments for VCE studies. If a student has done well in the GAT, they are likely to do well in their other assessments.

GAT results may play a part in determining the final score for a VCE external assessment, if a student has a derived examination score approved for that assessment.

From 2022, the GAT has an additional purpose of measuring student literacy and numeracy skills.

Why is the GAT changing?

The Victorian Government is reforming career education and senior secondary pathways. From 2023 we will be transitioning the VCE and VCAL to a new integrated senior secondary certificate.

As part of the reform of the VCE and VCAL system, Victorian senior secondary students will this year have their literacy and numeracy skills measured against new standards in a reformed GAT.

The new standards will indicate whether students have demonstrated the literacy and numeracy skills typically expected of someone completing their secondary schooling – giving another indication of their readiness to move onto further education, training or employment.

Who will sit the GAT in 2022?

Students enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence will be expected to sit Sections A and B of the GAT. Students enrolled in Senior VCAL will be expected to sit Section A only. If students are enrolled in Senior VCAL as well as one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence, they will be expected to sit Sections A and B.

Why are Senior VCAL students expected to sit Section A of the GAT in 2022?

Senior VCAL students are expected to sit Section A of the GAT in 2022 as part of ongoing education reforms in Victoria.

Section A of the GAT will assess the literacy and numeracy skills of Senior VCAL students against new standards.

What will Senior VCAL students get from sitting Section A of the GAT?

Senior VCAL students will receive a statement indicating whether they have met the literacy and numeracy standards. It will provide an additional opportunity for Senior VCAL students to demonstrate their skills and level of achievement.

Will the GAT be a pen-and-paper assessment?

Yes. In 2022 the GAT will be a pen-and-paper test, i.e. not online.

Will students be allowed to take a calculator or dictionary into the GAT?

Information about authorised materials for the GAT will be provided during Term 1.

How many students sit the GAT?

Approximately 85,000 students sit the GAT.

How many more students will be doing the GAT in 2022?

Approximately 5,500 Senior VCAL students will also sit Section A of the GAT in 2022.

How have the literacy and numeracy standards been established?

The VCAA used a systematic multi-step approach to establish standards using educationally relevant expert panels and measurement professionals. The standard-setting process included academics, teachers, curriculum and subject matter experts.

How are literacy and numeracy skills currently assessed in Victoria?

Literacy and numeracy skills are developed and assessed over the course of students' education. There is a wide range of assessments conducted that measure student attainment and progress over their schooling (e.g. NAPLAN). The GAT will provide an additional measure of literacy and numeracy skills as students complete their senior school education.

What happens if a student does not meet the literacy and numeracy standards?

Students will be given the opportunity to resit the test if they do not meet the standards.

All schools have in place programs that support students who may be at risk well in advance of sitting the GAT. In government schools, this includes the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support initiative specifically designed to help students in need of additional support. In addition, each school gets an allocation of Equity Funding based on their cohort's needs, to be used to directly support any of these at-risk students.

What was the purpose of the GAT 2021 school trials?

School trials held in 2021 informed the final test design for 2022. This was an important component of quality assurance to ensure the GAT will meet its intended purpose.

If a VCE student completes the GAT in Year 11 because they are undertaking one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence, will they be expected to sit the GAT again in Year 12?

Yes, if they are enrolled in one or more VCE or scored VCE VET Unit 3–4 sequence.

What will students be able to show potential employers?

Students will be able to show their GAT statement of results to employers, which will indicate whether they have met the literacy and numeracy standards.

Will there be special provision (e.g. alternative formats) for the GAT?

Yes. There is a broad range of special examination arrangements available for students. Schools will need to apply for these arrangements on behalf of students using the VCAA's Special Provision Online system.

Can a student apply for an exemption from the GAT if affected by illness and unable to attend on the scheduled GAT day?

Yes. Schools apply on behalf of the student using the VCAA's 'Application for authorised absence from the General Achievement Test (GAT)' form.

Timing

When will the GAT be held in 2022?

The GAT is scheduled for Wednesday 7 September. The timing of the sessions will be confirmed in Term 1.

Why can't the GAT take place in June 2022, as usual?

The impact of COVID meant that the required GAT trials were interrupted, and the 2021 GAT was held in October, almost four months after the scheduled June date, affecting the analysis timeframes and finalisation of the test for 2022.

The GAT trials are critical. They ensure the GAT is valid, reliable, functions as expected, and delivers on establishing standards for literacy and numeracy.

When will the sample items be available?

The sample items are now available.

When will test materials be delivered to schools?

Materials will be delivered at an appropriate time before the administration of the GAT.

Results

Will students get individual results for Section A of the GAT?

Yes. Students will receive a GAT statement showing whether they have met the literacy and numeracy standards.

Will schools get feedback about student performance in the GAT?

Yes. Schools will receive information about student performance in the GAT.

If a VCE student does not sit the GAT, will it impact their final results?

While the GAT is important, it does not directly count towards a student's final VCE results. The primary determinant of a student's final study score is based on their achievement in the graded assessments of that study.

Every year there are instances where students are unable to complete the GAT and the VCAA has established processes to ensure fair results for such students. The absence of GAT results does not prevent a student from achieving strong study score results.

If a Senior VCAL student does not sit the GAT, will it impact their final results?

No. The literacy and numeracy components (Section A of the GAT) do not impact the award of the VCAL.

Will the literacy and numeracy measure affect a student's VCE or VCAL results?

No. The literacy and numeracy standards are measured independently and are not included in the calculations of VCE results or awarding of the VCAL. Obtaining a senior secondary certificate is not contingent on a particular literacy and numeracy outcome in the GAT.

Support

How will schools and teachers be supported in implementing the new GAT?

Sample items are now available to enable teachers and students to become familiar with the question types included in the GAT.

The VCAA will conduct a series of webinars about the GAT from Term 2. Further information will be provided during Term 1.

A dedicated email address is available for specific enquires: VCAA.GAT@education.vic.gov.au

What preparation do teachers and students need to do to be ready for the revised GAT?

Teachers and students can become familiar with sample items and support materials.

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