Students completing the SACE/NTCET may be eligible to count learning experiences other than SACE/NTCET subjects towards their qualification.
SATAC’s member institutions may also agree to these studies being used in the calculation of the university aggregate/ATAR as part of the flexible option.
Studies that have been approved by the SACE Board as recognised learning at Stage 2 level are referred to SATAC for consideration as Recognised Studies.
Rules for Recognised Studies
For learning to count towards the university aggregate/ATAR as Recognised Studies, a number of conditions must be met.
Recognition by the SACE Board
For studies to be approved as Recognised Studies they must first be approved by the SACE Board as counting toward the SACE/NTCET at Stage 2 level.
Nature of study
Under normal circumstances only academic studies or vocational training will be recognised. Life experiences and community involvement will generally not be recognised.
Level of study
Studies must be at the same (or higher) level as SACE/NTCET Stage 2 subjects in terms of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)*.
VET awards must be completed qualifications at AQF Certificate III level or above.
*The AQF is a national system of classification of education and training awards offered across each education and training sector in Australia.
Depth and breadth of study
Recognised Studies must involve the study of an academic discipline to at least the same depth and breadth expected in a SACE Stage 2 subject.
Individual instances of study suitable for Recognised Studies must count for at least 10 credits towards the SACE/NTCET where the subject is to be used in lieu of a 10 credit SACE Stage 2 subject.
Individual instances of study suitable for Recognised Studies must count for at least 20 credits towards the SACE/NTCET where the subject is to be used in lieu of a 20 credit SACE Stage 2 subject (for either its full score or half its score).
Studies counting for less than 10 credits will not be counted, nor summed to achieve these 10 or 20 credit thresholds.
Number of instances of study considered
A maximum of 20 credits of Recognised Studies can count in the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
Precluded combinations and studies with significant content overlap
Recognised Studies are thoroughly checked to see whether they have significant content overlap with any SACE/NTCET subject that is also being studied. If the Recognised Studies are identified as having significant overlap, they will be regarded as a precluded combination with the SACE/NTCET subject.
When two subjects form a precluded combination they cannot both be counted toward an ATAR.
Year 12 studies
SACE/NTCET subjects and interstate/International Baccalaureate (IB) year 12 subjects in the same subject area may be treated as precluded combinations.
The SACE Board will only approve university studies which are part of a degree-level course and are not introductory in nature as recognised learning and hence the institutions do not approve other subjects for Recognised Studies. Many first year university courses have significant content overlap with SACE/NTCET subjects and are not approved. Students and schools should always seek approval to study a university subject in the year before enrolment to make sure that the subject will be able to be used to count towards the ATAR.
As the learning outcomes of VET and SACE/NTCET subjects are different in nature, completed VET qualifications do not form precluded combinations with SACE/NTCET subjects.
Level of achievement
Recognised Studies will only count toward an ATAR if they have been assessed at a level that is deemed equivalent to a SACE/NTCET grade of C- or better.
Timing of study
Recognised Studies counting toward the ATAR must be completed in the same year or earlier that the ATAR is calculated for the first time.
Final results for Recognised Studies must be provided to the SACE Board no later than the end of the Clerical Check Period (mid-February) of the following year.
Studies that would normally be able to be counted as Recognised Studies, but completed in any year following the year in which the university aggregate has been calculated, cannot be used to recalculate these scores.
Scaled score equivalents
The assessment and grading systems of different types of study can vary significantly. To ensure that the ATAR calculation is fair to all students, scaled score equivalents are assigned to Recognised Studies.
For some types of year 12 study it is not possible to achieve a scaled score of 20.00 due to the grading systems used. This includes IB Diploma subjects and some interstate year 12 subjects.
The scaled score contribution of a Recognised Studies higher education subject will be:
- an equivalent scaled score based on grades as follows
|Scaled score equivalents|
|Grade||Equivalent SACE scaled score|
|P where P1 is not in grading system||15.8|
|P where P1 is in grading system||11.5|
|Non-graded passes||Average of first 70 credits is used|
- or the average scaled scores of the first 70 credits of Tertiary Admissions Subjects (TAS) used in the calculation of the university aggregate whichever is higher.
The scaled score contribution of a completed VET qualification will be the average scaled scores of the first 70 credits of TAS used in the calculation of the university aggregate.
Where a VET qualification will only count for 10 credits the value described above is halved.
Please note, the SACE Board's 'Recognition Arrangements for Vocational Education and Training (VET) in the SACE' policy determines how many credits a VET qualification will count for at Stage 2 and hence for Recognised Studies.
Interstate year 12 subjects
For interstate subjects, the scaled score in the home state will be equated to South Australian scaled scores on an equivalent percentile basis. For example using this methodology a Victorian scaled study score of 41.0 (out of 50) would equate to a South Australian scaled score of 18.5 (out of 20); 31.8 would equate to a South Australian scaled score of 15.5.
International Baccalaureate (IB) subjects
The scaled score contribution of IB Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) subjects will be as follows:
|Scaled score equivalents|
|3 (HL only)||12.0|
Procedures for approval of Recognised Studies
Some studies are preapproved as Recognised Studies by SATAC’s member institutions. For studies that are not pre-approved students will need to seek approval.
Preapproved Recognised Studies
SATAC's member institutions have agreed that the following studies can be counted as Recognised Studies (subject to the rules for Recognised Studies):
- Higher and Standard Level International Baccalaureate (IB) subjects
- Specified Australian interstate year 12 subjects which count towards the ATAR in their home state
- Completed VET awards at Certificate III level and above.
Students can contact SATAC for advice about IB and interstate subjects approved as Recognised Studies.
Application for Approval for Other Studies
To gain approval for studies that are not pre-approved to count as Recognised Studies schools will, in the first instance, need to gain permission from the SACE Board for the studies to be recognised as counting towards the SACE/NTCET at Stage 2.
Learning that is recognised by the SACE Board as counting towards the SACE/NTCET at Stage 2, but which has not been pre-approved by SATAC's member institutions as Recognised Studies, is then referred to SATAC for consideration. SATAC will inform the SACE Board of the outcome of this consideration, who will in turn inform the school concerned.
University subjects are not pre-approved as Recognised Studies so schools will need to apply for approval. Most university subjects which are part of a degree-level course and are not introductory in nature will be approved upon application. Please note that there are some circumstances where university subjects will not be approved, so it is important for students and schools to apply for approval the year before the subject is intended to be studied.
What can’t count as Recognised Studies?
Studies that will not count as Recognised Studies include:
- Any study counting for less than 10 credits (including academic subjects)
- Learning gained in community developed programs
- Learning gained through self-directed community learning
- Stage 2 exit assessments including 10 credits given in lieu of one semester of a 20 credit Stage 2 subject
- Individual VET units of competency
- Interstate year 12 subjects that cannot contribute to the ATAR in their home state
Who to contact about Recognised Studies
For information about counting other learning towards the SACE at Stage 2 level, schools should contact the SACE Board in the first instance. More information about recognised learning is available from the SACE Board.
Studies that have been approved by the SACE Board as counting towards the SACE/NTCET at Stage 2 are referred to SATAC for consideration as Recognised Studies. The outcome of this consideration is reported back to the SACE Board. If you have any questions about the approval process please contact SATAC.
Please note that SATAC cannot advise you on the outcome of approval for other learning by the SACE Board, and it is the responsibility of students (with the assistance of schools) to ensure that patterns of study which include recognised learning and Recognised Studies meet their goals (e.g. completing the SACE or gaining an ATAR).
Decisions regarding Recognised Studies are the responsibility of SATAC's member institutions.