Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)

The Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) is the certificate that the majority of students in Victoria receive on satisfactory completion of their secondary education. The VCE provides diverse pathways to further study or training at university or TAFE and to employment.

The minimum requirement is satisfactory completion of 16 units, which must include:

• three units from the English group, including a Unit 3–4 sequence

• at least three other sequences of Unit 3–4 studies, which can include further sequences from the English group.

At Williamstown High School, students are required to attempt 12 units in the first year and 10 units in the second year of their VCE studies. All studies are offered and the program for each VCE year is determined by student choice, school

facilities and staff qualifications.

Assessment in the VCE

‘For satisfactory completion of a Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) unit of study, students must demonstrate their achievement of the set of outcomes as specified in the study design. The decision about the satisfactory completion of outcomes is based on the teacher’s judgment of the student’s overall performance on a combination of set work and assessment tools related to the outcomes. Students should be provided with multiple opportunities to develop and demonstrate the key knowledge and key skills required for the outcomes for the unit. The assessment of levels of achievement is separate from the decision to award an S for satisfactory completion of a unit.’


• Every Unit has a set of learning outcomes, directly related to the areas of study in that Unit. The subject teacher, who may use a range of assessment methods, assesses them.

• Outcomes are assessed as S (Satisfactory) or N (Not Satisfactory). Each Unit has a number of outcomes and an N for any one of these gives the student an N for the unit. It is from the outcome grades that satisfactory or not satisfactory completion of a unit is determined.

Graded Assessment Tasks

• For students undertaking Units 1–2, there will be a variety of tasks in each unit that will be graded. In addition to this there is a school based examination to be undertaken at the end of each unit. Note that all school based examinations provide students with the opportunity to gain examination experience and provide feedback on their performance.

• For students undertaking Units 3–4, there will be School Assessed Coursework (SAC) and/or School Assessed Tasks (SAT) for each unit. In each study there will be a combination of this school assessed work and examinations, which are assessed directly by the VCAA. Grades will be awarded on the scale A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D+, D, E+, E, UG or NA.

Please note: All marks and grades awarded by the school are conditional and may change as a result of statistical moderation.

It is from these grades in each study that the VCAA determines the student’s study score which is then used to derive their ATAR.

Calculating the ATAR

The ATAR is calculated by taking the:

• Scaled score in English Units 3–4 or ESL English Units 3–4 or English Language Units 3–4 or Literature Units 3–4

• Next best THREE scaled scores for Unit 3–4sequences

• 10% of any 5th scaled score for a Unit 3–4 sequence

• 10% of any 6th scaled score for a Unit 3–4 sequence

The total score will be used to place each student in a percentile rank, thus forming their ATAR. The highest rank is 99.95. Ranks below 30.00 will be reported as ‘less than 30’. If a student receives a rank of 75.00, it would mean that they had achieved an overall result equal to or better than 75% of the applicants for that year. The rank provided by the ATAR places every student in Victoria along a continuous line from highest (99.95) to lowest (0.00).

The VCE studies that are used to calculate an ATAR are: up to six Unit 3–4 studies from all VCE studies, including some VET certificates.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Vocational Education and Training (VET) Certificates are courses of study that are nationally recognised and accredited. VET enables students to gain industry oriented training in preparation for further learning or entry into the workforce (e.g. Certificate III in Music Industry). Most certificate programs run over two years and are made up of a number of Units of Competence.

A VET in Schools program is usually made up of VCE/VET Units that are delivered by an RTO at the student’s school or another school within the Hobsons Bay Cluster.

Contribution to the VCE VET is fully incorporated into the VCE.

Key features include:

  • VET programs usually have a Unit 1–4 structure.
  • When calculating the aggregate, VCE VET Unit 3 and 4 sequences with a scored assessment are treated in the same way as other Unit 3 and 4 VCE studies.
  • VCE VET unscored sequences include the sequence as an increment (the fifth and/or sixth study). The amount of an increment is determined by calculating 10 percent of the fourth study score of your primary four.

Assessment in VET

Students will receive an S for a unit of competency (UoC) if they have been assessed as competent in the unit. The final assessment decision is made by their registered training organisation (RTO).

Satisfactory completion of VCE VET units is calculated automatically as students satisfactorily complete UoCs. Most VCE VET programs consist of four VCE VET units containing one Unit 3–4 sequence. The exceptions are some smaller Certificate II qualifications where the credit is only at Units 1 and 2 levels and some larger Certificate III qualifications that may provide two Unit 3–4 sequences.

Students will receive an N (not yet competent) result for a UoC if they have not yet demonstrated competence. This may be as a consequence of not completing the unit or not being able to demonstrate competence as required by the UoC.


The VCE Vocational Major (VM) is a vocational and applied learning program within the VCE designed to be completed over a minimum of two years. The VCE VM will give students greater choice and flexibility to pursue their strengths and interests and develop the skills and capabilities needed to succeed in further education, work and life.
It prepares students to move into apprenticeships, traineeships, further education and training, university (via non-ATAR pathways) or directly into the workforce.
The purpose of the VCE VM is to provide students with the best opportunity to achieve their personal goals and aspirations in a rapidly changing world by:

  • equipping them with the skills, knowledge, values and capabilities to be active and informed citizens, lifelong learners and confident and creative individuals
  • empowering them to make informed decisions about the next stages of their lives through real-life workplace experiences

To be eligible to receive the VCE VM, students must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 16 units, including:

  • 3 VCE VM Literacy or VCE English units (including a Unit 3–4 sequence)
  • 2 VCE VM Numeracy or VCE Mathematics units
  • 2 VCE VM Work Related Skills units
  • 2 VCE VM Personal Development Skills units
  • 2 VET credits at Certificate II level or above (180 nominal hours)

VCE VM students will be enrolled in a Vocational Education and Training course, to be eligible for credit they should:

  • be enrolled in a minimum of 180 hours in the VCE VET program or SBAT for the year (the school ensures that this occurs when students are enrolled in VET on the VASS system)
  • undertake a minimum of 80 hours full-time equivalent of structured work placement
  • complete the WLR according to the VCAA assessment guidelines
  • report on at least six UoCs in Section 2 of the WLR. One UoC must be a work, health, and safety unit.

As a part of the Williamstown High School VCE Vocational Major program students are required to undertake an SWL (Structured Workplace Learning) placement. Structured Workplace Learning contains many benefits as a part of the VCE VM program. SWL:

  • is a planned and compulsory part of many VCE VET courses
  • allows students to participate in the industry relevant to their VET studies
  • enables students to practice and develop skills they learn at school or VET
  • allows students to learn specific skills or competencies on-the-job and agreed beforehand by the school and the host employer
  • helps students find out more about employment and training opportunities in the industry
  • contributes to their VCE VM and a nationally accredited qualification recognised by industry

Year 10

Students in Year 10 at Williamstown High School participate in a subject program that include both core and elective subjects. This curriculum program has been designed to meet the diverse educational needs of the students and to provide each student with a stimulating and valuable learning experience.

The program offers a breadth of study across the core curriculum area disciplines whilst allowing students to specialise in areas of interest where they have greater choice. It therefore achieves a balance between the need for a broad general education and a more specific preparation for particular VCE, VET and VCE-VM studies.

• Students in Year 10 will complete six subjects/electives in each semester:

  • All students must undertake English and Maths in each semester; and
  • All students must undertake one semester of Core Science
  • All students must undertake at least one semester from the Humanities subject electives

• Students have the opportunity to access a VCE unit if they can demonstrate strong academic and organisational skills.

• Home Group will continue as a core subject on the timetable for all students.

Your chosen course should:

• Fulfill the specific requirements of Year 10/VCE/VET/VM in the number and range of units required.

• Enable you to successfully complete the VCE/VM

• Provide you with a viable pathway with options and post secondary school choices.

Subject offerings for VCE, VM, VET and Year 10 subjects can be found with the Later Years Course Selection Handbook. Please see the link below:

Later Years Course Selection Handbook

2025 Hobsons Bay Cluster Handbook

Later Years Course Selection Handbook 2025

Unit 2 SAC Calendar 2024

Unit 4 SAC Calendar 2024


Visit the Williamstown High School careers website for the latest information to help you with decision making about your future career and pathway.

You can use this site to locate University, TAFE and any other type of course across Australia, get information about VCE, access the Calendar of events, the Careers Newsletters and much more. You can also make an appointment with Careers Office or visit the Careers office if you have any questions.