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    Personal Story


    Catherine Scheffer
    Year 12 Siena College, Camberwell

    Along with six other Siena students and two teachers, I embarked on an immersion to South Africa for two weeks last year, living with a host family while learning of the history and culture of the country. 

    I noticed that despite all the hardships of the women of Kopanang, they were some of the happiest people I had ever met. The children stood out in particular for me; happy over the slightest of things. 

    For example, the other students and I brought balloons, pencils and stickers, which had them ecstatic for days on end. 

    This ability to draw happiness from poverty and quite often, hunger and pain, motivated me to produce a series of drawings under the title Happy Sadness which will be featured in the 2015 Visual Arts Display during Catholic Education Week. 

    A young boy named Tyron, who was a member of my host family, personally inspired me as he was always happy despite the conditions he lived in. I grew very close to Tyron, as well as having a strong connection to other children I encountered.

    It was after my time at Kopanang that I realised how much we take for granted; food, water, safety, education and much more. 

    Without knowing the children it is impossible to depict their current state of poverty. These children’s facial expressions show us that money is not the key to happiness. 

    It is my duty to tell my Siena school community that ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’  

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    Student Achievement

    General Overview

    The Analysis, Policy and Research team undertakes a broad portfolio of work that supports the CEOM governance and strategic management processes, including:

    • corporate planning and reporting
    • CEOM policy governance
    • reporting to government on the minimum standards for school compliance and registration
    • coordination of CEOM privacy, risk-management and business-continuity policies.

    Team services include:

    • CEOM corporate planning and strategy
    • data analysis and statistical reporting to inform organisational and school improvement strategies and system-wide policy development and review
    • analysis of research that provides new insights and an evidence base to assist in improvements in student outcomes and school effectiveness
    • management of the Research in Schools process
    • school compliance support and registration
    • policy governance
    • copyright licensing for schools.

    Main Activities

    Achievement Data

    *The below information relates to Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, unless otherwise noted.

    National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results for 2014

    The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an Australia-wide testing program of literacy and numeracy for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

    NAPLAN provides data for calculating the proportions of students achieving results at or above the national minimum standard in each of five domains (Grammar and Punctuation, Numeracy, Reading, Spelling, and Writing). In 2014, 96% or more of Catholic school students achieved at or above the minimum standard in each of the domains.

    The Victorian Certificate of Education 2014

    Satisfactory Completion Rates 

    An important measure of schooling success is the rate of satisfactory completion of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). In 2014, 43 schools (69.4%) had 100% of their eligible students satisfactorily complete the VCE. A total of 58 schools (93.5%) had completion rates of at least 98%. There were only four schools with completion rates of less than 98%.

    In total, 99.6% of eligible students satisfactorily completed the VCE.

    Median Study Scores 

    The median study score is considered to be the best indicator of the overall level of VCE achievement in a school and it represents the ‘typical’ level of achievement of the school’s students.  The average median score is set at 30 for each study with the maximum score being 50.

    In 2014, the average median study score for Catholic schools was 30.8. A total of 49 schools (79.0%) were in the middle range of median scores of 28–32. Eleven schools (17.7%) had median study scores above 32, while only two schools (3.2%) were in the ‘below average’ category.


    VCE Study Scores of 40 or above.

    A score of 40 or above in any study represents exceptional performance (among the top 8%) in the state. In 2014 there were 14 schools (22.6%) with more than 10% of their students’ study scores at 40 or above. 

    Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) 2014

    Catholic schools are committed to maximising every student’s chances of completing Year 12 by providing an appropriate range of study options, including opportunities in the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) and the Vocational Education and Training (VET) certificate. 


    There continues to be evidence of strong student participation in VET and VCAL.

    From 2013 to 2014, although the average number of VET certificates offered in schools fell slightly from 23.9 to 22.6 this was a 5% increase from the positon in 2012 when the figure was only 21.5. Again, while the average number of VET enrolments per school fell from 116.5 to 109.7, this was an 8% increase from 2012 when the figures was only 102.0.

    From 2013 to 2014, the number of schools offering VCAL fell from 54 to 52. The average number of students enrolled in VCAL rose from 31.1 to 33.2.


    In 2014, 41 schools (66.1%) had their students complete VET units of competency at rates better than 90%. Only six schools (9.7%) had rates lower than 80%.

    Thirteen schools (25.0%) had their students complete 100% of their VCAL units in 2014. Conversely, nine schools (17.3%) had completion rates lower than 90%.

    Student Destinations Post Year 12, 2013

    TABLE 1. Destinations of students leaving Victorian schools after Year 12 (column percentages), in Melbourne Catholic schools and all Victorian schools, 2009–2013 

      % from Melbourne Catholic schools   % from all Victorian schools
    Destination   2009 2010 2011 2012 2013   2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
    University   57.3 59.0 60.8 65.2 65.1   48.8 49.4 52.0 53.2 54.9
    TAFE / VET   18.4 17.9 16.4 14.7 15.1   18.0 18.2 17.1 15.8 15.8
    Apprentice / Trainee   6.7 6.6 7.4 5.8 5.6   8.5 7.9 7.4 7.1 6.9
    Employed a  7.8 6.7 5.8 6.5 5.9   11.3 10.8 9.8 10.2 9.0
    Looking for work a  2.0 2.0 1.8 1.9 1.9   3.6 3.0 3.0 3.6 3.5
    Deferred   7.9 7.8 7.8 5.0 6.1   9.8 10.3 10.3 9.7 9.5
    NILFETb  - 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3   0.0 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
    Total   100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0   100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
    • a Figures exclude students who deferred.  
    • b Not in labour force, education or training. (Before 2010, these percentages were included in the category of ‘looking for work’).
    • Totals may not always equal 100% due to rounding of individual percentages.
    • Source: On Track Survey Data 2013 (provided by DET)
    • Note: 2014 data will be available in July 2015. (Students are not surveyed until 6 months after leaving school.)

    As indicated in Table 1, almost two-thirds (65.1%) of 2013 Year 12 leavers from Melbourne Catholic schools who completed the On Track survey, entered university. This percentage has been steadily increasing over the last five years across the board, however, the Catholic school percentage has always remained around 8–10% higher than the state.

    The incidence of Catholic school leavers enrolling in a TAFE/VET course is slightly less than the state figure (15.1% compared to 15.8%) and although there was a downward trend in TAFE/VET enrolments from Catholic school students between 2009 and 2012, this has slightly increased between 2012 and 2013.

    The take-up of apprenticeships or traineeships declined slightly in the Catholic sector. The Catholic figures were lower than those of all schools in the labour market destination categories, specifically in terms of employed (5.9% compared to 9.0%) and those looking for work (1.9% compared to 3.5%). The ‘unemployed’ figure (i.e. the combined total of those either looking for work or not in the labour force, education or training) was 2.2%, which remains reasonably stable from each of the previous four years. The percentage of students who deferred from study (6.1%) was below the state figure (9.5%).

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