Students at senior secondary level have the choice of two certificates, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). The VCAL was developed in response to education and learning needs identified by the Ministerial Review of Post Compulsory Education and Training Pathways in Victoria (2000), also known as the Kirby Report. One of the findings of the Kirby Report highlighted poor senior secondary outcomes for many students.
The VCAL was accredited in 2002 and introduced into 22 selected Victorian secondary schools and TAFE institutes and organisations. Today there are over 440 secondary schools, TAFE institutes and Adult Community Education (ACE) organisations delivering VCAL to over 22,000 students.
The VCAL aims to provide students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes to make informed choices about pathways to work and further education.
The principles underpinning the VCAL are:
These principles are within the context of applied learning.
In the VCAL these principles are shown through:
The VCAL is accredited at three levels:
The three qualification levels cater for a range of students with different abilities and interests. They also provide a progression in the development of skills, knowledge and attributes.
At this level the focus is on basic and preparatory knowledge and employability skills. There is also a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills.
At Intermediate level the focus is on knowledge and employability skills development that leads to independent learning, confidence and a higher level of transferable skills.
At Senior level the focus is on knowledge and employability skills that lead to a high level of interpersonal skills, independent action and achievement of tasks that require decision making and leadership. The demonstration of knowledge and skills that apply directly to the workplace or further training is also important.
There are no formal entry requirements for VCAL. Students can enter at the level of VCAL to suit their learning needs, abilities and interests. Decisions about which VCAL level a student should be placed in should take into account the student’s literacy level, interests, goals and abilities. The decision about entry level should also take into account the student’s:
The VCAL has four curriculum areas, called strands. These strands are:
A student’s VCAL learning program must include studies in each strand.
A student is awarded a certificate when they gain credits for 10 units that fulfil the minimum requirements for their learning program. A credit is gained for successful completion of a unit of study. A unit of study can be:
Each unit of study must be justified against the purpose statement for one of the four VCAL curriculum strands.
A student’s VCAL learning program must include: