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The Language of WACE

Let’s take a look at the language of WACE. As we start our journey from Year 11 to Year 12, we will encounter a number of acronyms or terminologies that are directly related to senior schooling. Below is a list of commonly used acronyms and terminologies with a short description of each. In future articles we will try and describe these concepts with more detail.

Some of these definitions can be found in the SCSA Year 12 Handbook, which is a great resource for parents and students.

WACE (pronounced “ways”)

This stands for the Western Australian Certificate of Education. This is an achievement certificate given at the end of Year 12 to students who have successfully met the breadth and depth requirement, the standard requirement, and the literacy and numeracy standard in senior secondary schooling.

WASSA (“wasa”)

The Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement. This is issued to all students at the completion of Year 12. More importantly, it lists all courses, certificates, and programs students have completed in Year 11 and 12.

ATAR (“ay-tar”)

Stands for the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. This is a form of ranking students according to the sum of their results in the best four of their ATAR subjects. An ATAR subject is one that has an external exam at the end of Year 12. This rank is used by TISC to determine eligibility for university entry.

TISC (“tisk”)

The Tertiary Institutions Service Centre is an agency that carries out the administration of university and tertiary-level entry and admission requirements for all school leavers.

SCSA (“skaza”)

Stands for the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, sometimes called “the Authority” for short. SCSA is the government body that monitors the curriculum delivered at all levels, monitors student progress at Year 11 and 12, and administers the external exams for ATAR students at the end of the year.


Stands for Vocational Education and Training. It refers to courses that are industry specific and require workplace learning. Certificate levels achieved under VET can count as part of a student’s WACE achievement.

OLNA (“ol-nah”)

Stands for Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment. This is a form of assessment given to students who need to demonstrate the minimum standard of numeracy and literacy (equivalent to Band 8 or higher in NAPLAN) for WACE achievement.

These are some of the more common terms we tend to use in Senior Secondary at Rehoboth. As we embark on this journey together, I am hoping that these will become part of our common language with parents and students as we discuss each student’s academic journey. In the next issue I will write about “beginning with the end in mind”.

See you then.

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