In last week's Calling I wrote the first part of a two section article on rank orders, subject achievement indicators (SAI) and scaling.

In this week's article I will outline how the results we generate at school are scaled using our performance on the Queensland Core Skills Test.

The point of using an external test to scale our results within school is to ensure comparability from subject to subject and from school to school.

For example the subject Mathematics B is more difficult than the subject Mathematics A. Is it fair if a student receives a VHA for Maths B and another student receives a VHA for Maths A that they are counted as the same? I think it's reasonable to say no. It is quite likely that a student who received a VHA in Maths A would receive a lesser result had he have undertaken Maths B.

Hence the scaling process. As indicated last week, no matter what the subject all students will be rank-ordered from first to last with the top student receiving an SAI of 400 and the bottom student an SAI of 200.

What happens now involves the use of data which shows St. Patrick's performance on the QCS Test. The QCAA will look at all the students in each individual subject and work out a QCS mean score for all the boys in the Maths A, B or C classes, which shows their performance as a cohort on the QCS Test.

The same is calculated for Economics, English, Physics, Biology, etc etc. The QCS mean scores are used to scale the SAI numbers in each subject. The stronger the mean score, the better it is for the students in that subject.

This calculation is used to create a "scaled SAI". The 400 - 200 SAI will now be adjusted. The best five subjects (or 20 semester units) are added up and averaged to give one number. This number is called an overall achievement indicator (OAI). Once done, the first part of a two-part process is completed.

After the completion of the first stage of scaling and the creation of a provisional OAI, this number is scaled again using the whole school mean score for the QCS Test. It is from here that the final OAI is created and the OP score is calculated from that.

As you can see, it is important for our students to perform not only in their individual subjects but also in the QCS Test in September. A lot of work will be done this year to assist the boys with the demands of the test. The Year 11 study periods on Wednesday afternoons has also been designed with this test in mind.

It is essential that the Year 12s and Year 11s embrace their preparation and study sessions. Success in the QCS Test is vital when considering final OP scores. If you are keen to discuss more, please contact me. I would also encourage Year 12 students to attend the lunchtime QCS practice sessions. These helped last year's cohort a great deal. They have commenced this week on Thursdays. It would be great to see a large turnout throughout the year.

Mr Chris Campbell - Assistant Principal - Curriculum