The Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) is awarded to senior secondary school students who satisfy its requirements. It is a senior secondary certificate recognised nationally in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Generally, students will complete two years of senior secondary study to achieve the WACE, although the School Curriculum and Standards Authority allows students to meet the WACE requirements over a lifetime.
The WACE is recognised by universities, industry and other training providers.
Achievement of a WACE signifies that a student has successfully met the breadth and depth standard, the achievement standard and the literacy and numeracy standard in their senior secondary schooling.
These are the minimum requirements for students to receive a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2019 and 2020.
Breadth and depth requirement
- Completion of a minimum of 20 units or the equivalent. This requirement must include at least: (Explanatory notes 1, 2 , 3, 4, 5)
- a minimum of 10 Year 12 units, or the equivalent
- four units from an English learning area course, post-Year 10, including at least one pair of Year 12 units from an English learning area course
- one pair of Year 12 units from each of List A (arts/languages/social sciences) and List B (mathematics/science/technology).
Achievement standard requirement
- Achievement of at least 14 C grades or higher (or the equivalent) in Year 11 and 12 units, including at least six C grades, or equivalents, in Year 12. (Explanatory notes 5 and 6)
- Completion of at least four Year 12 ATAR courses or of a Certificate II (or higher) VET qualification.
Literacy and numeracy standard
- Demonstration of the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. (Explanatory notes 7 and 8)
Explanatory notes relating to WACE requirements
- The breadth requirement can be met through ATAR, General and Foundation courses. The depth requirement can be met through ATAR, General, VET industry specific and Foundation courses, VET credit transfer and endorsed programs. The achievement standard can be met through ATAR, General, VET industry specific and Foundation courses.
- Of the 20 units required for a WACE, up to a maximum of four Year 11 units and four Year 12 units may be substituted by VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs. A student may choose to study VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs and be able to substitute using only VET qualifications (up to a total of eight units) or using endorsed programs (up to a total of four units) or using a combination of VET and endorsed programs (up to a total of eight units but with a maximum of four units with endorsed programs – two in Year 11 and two in Year 12).
- Students are able to substitute the course unit requirement with unit equivalents achieved through the completion of AQF VET qualifications at Certificate I, II, III and higher (see Section 4 of the WACE Manual) and/or endorsed programs (see Section 5 of the WACE Manual).
- Students can repeat units. However, those units that have the same unit code, e.g. AEENG, and are repeated, do not contribute to the WACE requirements more than once. Note: Students who complete ATAR Units 3 and 4 as part of an accelerated program and sit the examination cannot report these units until after they leave school at the completion of Year 12.
- Students enrolled in a Year 12 ATAR course must sit the external examination in that course. If students do not sit an ATAR course examination and do not have an approved sickness/misadventure application for that course, the grades for the pair of units completed in that year will not contribute towards any of the WACE requirements. Students who do not sit the ATAR course examination will not have a course mark or grade recorded on their WASSA, nor will they receive an ATAR course report. For ATAR courses with practical components, students must complete both the written and practical examinations.
- Both VET qualifications and endorsed programs can indirectly contribute to the WACE standard requirement of a C grade in at least 14 units. A C grade in a maximum of eight units (four in Year 11 and four in Year 12) can be replaced by unit equivalents from VET qualifications and/or endorsed programs. Of these eight unit equivalents, a maximum of four can be from endorsed programs (two in Year 11 and two in Year 12).
- The literacy and numeracy standard can be met either through the Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) or by achieving Band 8 or above in the associated components of reading, writing or numeracy in the Year 9 NAPLAN tests. Students undertaking the OLNA will be required to satisfy both the reading and writing components in order to demonstrate the minimum WACE literacy standard.
- If students do not demonstrate the literacy and numeracy standard by the time they exit secondary school, they can apply to the Authority to re-sit the assessment at any age. (Note: the WACE requirements may change over time and students studying towards the achievement of the WACE after they leave school will be required to meet the WACE requirements current at the time of the completion of their studies.)
See Appendix 1 of the WACE Manual for definitions of key terms.
WACE Information for Year 10 students
Students, their parents and teachers, need to be aware of the requirements for achieving a WACE and consider them when planning their program of study. The requirements for 2021 and beyond differ from those in previous years.