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Higher Education in VCE Studies (HEVS) Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) Higher education in VCE studies (HEVS) are intended to enable secondary school students to study a pair of first year La Trobe University subjects concurrently with their Year 12 studies. Subjects are delivered either fully online, in blended mode with online materials and some sessions on a La Trobe campus or, in relation to Extension Study subjects, at secondary schools teaching La Trobe subjects under a Course Services Agreement or at a nominated venue. Students completing two 15 credit point La Trobe subjects are eligible for an ATAR bonus under certain conditions (see Part S)

(2) The University is committed to developing a range of educational relationships that are mutually beneficial to the parties involved. This Policy provides guidance to Colleges or Schools wishing to make subjects available to secondary school students as Advanced Standing or Extension Studies.

(3) This document outlines the procedure for the implementation of HEVS (VCE Plus) program at La Trobe University.

(4) In addition to providing greater breadth of studies for VCE students, the VCE Plus program is intended to provide a clear pathway to studies at La Trobe. The University will identify courses for which guaranteed entry may be obtained for graduates of the HEVS programs

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Section 2 - Scope

(5) Applies to:

  1. All campuses 
  2. All La Trobe Higher Education VCE studies (HEVS) programs, being either Advanced Standing or Extension Studies programs
  3. Staff and students involved in Advanced Standing and Extension Studies programs
  4. Alumni of Advanced Standing and Extension Studies programs
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) Through its Colleges, Schools and Departments, the University may make selected subjects available to secondary school students wishing to undertake higher education studies in their VCE.

(7) All VCE Plus subjects must be approved by Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA). In order for VCE Plus subjects to be included in the calculation of VCE results, secondary school students will need to successfully complete a pair of 15 credit points La Trobe subjects (total of 30 credit points over one year). Students are eligible for an ATAR bonus of up to 5 points based on their VCE Plus results.

(8) Subjects will be offered in blended mode with any combination of online materials, classes at the University campus scheduled at a time suitable for school students, teaching at the partner school by school staff or visiting University staff, or block mode sessions at a University campus or other nominated venue.

(9) In all cases, the school student will be enrolled as a student of the University and will have access to University facilities. The University will facilitate enrolment pathways for students successfully completing Advanced Standing or Extension Studies programs. Guaranteed entry into selected La Trobe courses will be offered to students upon successful completion of the program.

(10) Where a secondary school is enabled to participate in offering one or more La Trobe University Extension Study subjects, arrangements will be subject to a Course Services Agreement within the Domestic Educational Partnerships framework.

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Section 4 - Procedure

Part A - Higher Education in VCE Studies Subjects

(11) Colleges may make available a selection of paired first year subjects for Advanced Study and Extension Studies programs for secondary school students. The Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Partnerships) is responsible for facilitating the selection of HEVS subjects for their College and ensuring a listing is provided to the Project Advisor, VCE Plus within the Educational Partnerships Unit.

Part B - Subject Selection

(12) Subjects chosen for HEVS should be at University first year level.

(13) Content should be suitable for students under the age of 18.

(14) Subjects should be able to be taught in blended mode and available to school students on any campus, with a small component of face-to-face teaching and learning. The VCE Plus Unit is able to provide limited funding to support conversion of learning materials to online mode.

(15) Colleges must ensure that subjects which involve an on-campus component have classes scheduled at suitable times for VCE students to attend, ie. After school hours, weekends, and in the case of numerous secondary schools in the Northern metro region, on Wednesday afternoons.

Part C - Initiating HEVS Subjects

(16) Expressions of interest for new HEVS subjects can be submitted to the Project Advisor, VCE Plus at any time, however should be submitted as soon as a suitable pair of subjects has been identified. This is to allow sufficient time for the preparation of the relevant documentation as well as development of online materials as required.

(17) The Project Advisor, VCE Plus may initiate selection of specific subjects based on market and student demand, and on relevance to the VCE curriculum.

(18) Finalised proposals for new HEVS subjects must be submitted to the Project Advisor, VCE Plus by the third week of March (for the VCAA to approve for delivery in the following year).

Part D - Advanced Standing Studies

(19) Equivalent in content and assessment in every respect to one or more of current first- year Higher Education studies and constitutes at least 20 per cent of a full-time first-year course.

(20) Is comprised of curriculum not available in any current VCE studies and therefore is not linked to any current VCE Unit 3 and 4 study.

(21) Of a level that will normally allow the student, on successful completion, to proceed to second year study at the Higher Education institution in that discipline.

Part E - Extension Studies

(22) Equivalent in content and assessment in every respect to one or more of current first-year Higher Education studies and constitutes at least 20 per cent of a full-time first-year university course

(23) Of a level for a high-achieving student and therefore is a clear advance on an identified VCE Unit 3 and 4 study and commensurate in workload with an additional VCE study

(24) Of a level that will normally allow the student, on successful completion, to proceed to second year study at the Higher Education institution in that discipline.

Part F - External Approving Body - Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA)

(25) Any subject proposed for HEVS must be approved by the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) the year prior to being offered.

(26) All subjects proposed for HEVS must be sent to the Project Advisor, VCE Plus to facilitate VCAA approval.

Part G - Co-ordinating Higher Education in VCE Studies Activities at La Trobe

(27) The responsibility for co-ordinating the University’s HEVS activities falls with the Project Advisor, VCE Plus and Manager, Educational Partnerships.

Part H - Method of Delivery

(28) Advanced Standing and Extension Studies programs may be delivered in the following ways:

  1. Fully online: A school student or group of students may enrol in a HEVS subject and access all subject materials online, including lectures, tutorials/seminars/workshops and assessment tasks. Some subjects may require students to attend examinations on campus. In this mode it is desirable that school students are brought to the campus at least once to gain some experience of campus life.
  2. Blended mode: Blended mode involves a combination of online material and delivery at a La Trobe campus.
  3. On campus: A school student or group of students may enrol in a HEVS subject and attend classes on a La Trobe University campus. These classes should be scheduled at suitable times for VCE students to attend, i.e., after school hours, weekends, and in the case of numerous secondary schools in the Northern metro region, on Wednesday afternoons. This may also involve subject timetabling in block mode.
  4. Off campus: HEVS subjects may be delivered at a secondary school or other nominated venue.
  5. Third party: In collaboration with the University a secondary school may be supported to offer one or more University subjects at the school campus or nominated venue.

(29) Fully online or blended mode of delivery is the preferred method, to maximise student access and minimise adverse effects on their VCE studies.

Part I - Off Campus Delivery

(30) When a secondary school is invited to deliver all or part of a University subject on its own campus, the school and the University must enter into a Course Services Agreement that details the arrangements for the agreement, including quality assurance.

(31) HEVS subjects may also be delivered by La Trobe academics at a nominated external venue. This will usually be subject to minimum student enrolment numbers and approval by the relevant College of the University.

Part J - Attendance at University Campuses

(32) Where the HEVS subjects are delivered off campus, the design of subjects may include a component taught on a University campus during the period of enrolment. Attendance at a campus will be included in any Course Services Agreement as part of the conditions of the agreement.

Part K - Record Keeping for Agreements and Schedules

(33) Records related to all Course Services (Licensing) Agreements and Schedules will be kept by the Office of the Executive Director, Quality and Standards.

Part L - Signatories to Agreements and Schedules

(34) Course Services Agreements are signed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Principal of the relevant secondary school.

(35) Schedules to these Agreements must be completed and signed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the relevant College and the Principal of the secondary school.

Part M - Intellectual Property

(36) Where the subjects are offered at a school campus in collaboration with a secondary school, the University will provide materials, including relevant subject guides, assessment tasks and marking schedules. These materials will remain the Intellectual Property of the University.

Part N - Moderation

(37) For the purposes of moderating assessment, any secondary school offering a La Trobe subject will be considered a campus of the University and usual moderation processes will be undertaken.

Part O - School Teacher Training

(38) Teachers interested in participating in the delivery of Extension Studies will be offered suitable training by the University to assist them in delivering the subject to their students. Mentoring by a University academic staff member will comprise part of this training.

Part P - Costs for Program

(39) Where the subjects are delivered at secondary schools, the schools will provide facilities and staff for teaching. The associated costs will be negotiated with the relevant stakeholders on a case by case basis.

Part Q - Student Fees

(40) Students will be charged a set fee per HEVS subject. Financially disadvantaged/low SES students or students of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander background may be eligible for fee exemption.

(41) As students of the University they will be eligible to access all relevant student services and facilities (including but not limited to University transcripts and Library and ICT access).

Part R - Records of Enrolment

(42) As students of the University, all normal enrolment processes apply to students enrolling in HEVS subjects. This includes dates for enrolment and withdrawal from the subject and availability of University transcripts to students.

(43) Specific enrolment codes apply to HEVS students. Please refer to Project Advisor, VCE Plus.

Part S - Credit for Studies at La Trobe University

(44) Upon successful completion of the HEVS subjects, a student will be entitled to use these subjects as part of the requirements towards a relevant La Trobe University award.

Part T - Early Offer and Guaranteed Entry

(45) Students who successfully complete a pair of HEVS subjects will be eligible for an early offer with guaranteed entry into specific La Trobe University courses. Guaranteed entry will be subject to the student meeting minimum achievement levels and relevant College approval.

Part U - ATAR Benefits

(46) Students undertaking a full year of HEVS subjects (two subjects) can also earn an increment added to the calculation of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) as a fifth or sixth study. The additional points are based on the results achieved in the higher education VCE subjects (see the current Victorian Tertiary Entrance Requirements, VICTER, publication at http://www.vtac.edu.au/publications.html).

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Section 5 - Definitions

(47) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Advanced Standing Study – selected subjects not available in any current VCE studies made available to secondary school students wishing to undertake higher education studies
  2. Extension Study - selected subjects that are a clear extension on VCE Year 12 study made available to secondary school students wishing to undertake higher education studies
  3. HEVS – Studies drawn from university and from Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) accredited TAFE institute undergraduate degrees. A higher education study must be comprised of two full semesters (or the equivalent), thereby providing equivalence in duration with a VCE Unit 3-4 sequence.
  4. Partnership – In the context of this policy the use of the term ‘partnership’ is intended to encapsulate the intention to co-operate or collaborate with other organisations. It does not imply a legal partnership and the term should not be used in agreements giving effect to this policy and its attendant procedures.
  5. Schedule – An additional attachment to a Course Services (Licensing) Agreement which provides the specifics of activities and details of items subject to change over time. Schedules may be varied at any time during the life of the overarching agreement. The relevant template schedule should normally be used.
  6. Terminology Course Services Agreement – Also known as a Licensing Agreement. A particular type of Activity Agreement between La Trobe University and another party to deliver University subjects and courses.
  7. VCE Extend – the project name for La Trobe University’s HEVS program.
  8. VCE Plus – the product name for La Trobe University’s HEVS program.
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Section 6 - Stakeholders

Responsibility for implementation – Director, Schools Engagement and Recruitment; Manager, Educational Partnerships; Project Advisor, VCE Plus; School Partnerships Coordinators; College Pro Vice-Chancellors; Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors (Academic Partnerships); Heads of Campus.
Responsibility for monitoring implementation and compliance – Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic); Executive Director, Quality and Standards.