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In May 2005 the Department of Education, Science and Training commissioned the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) to investigate and report on models and implementation arrangements for an Australian Certificate of Education (ACE). In particular, ACER was asked to investigate four options for the introduction of a new certificate. The current investigation has reviewed existing curriculum, assessment and certification arrangements in the senior years of school in Australia; explored current issues in senior secondary education and examined state and territory responses to these issues; looked at some alternative certification arrangements internationally—including the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program; investigated the use of aptitude tests in the senior years of school; and consulted stakeholders throughout Australia on the four provided options. The introduction of an Australian Certificate of Education has the potential to provide greater national consistency in senior secondary arrangements; to set nationally consistent high standards; to improve the comparability of student results across Australia; to advance efforts to ensure that all young Australians develop the knowledge and skills required for life and work beyond school; and to establish a national qualification with international standing. Our investigation of options and our recommendations for the introduction of the Certificate assume these fundamental purposes.


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