So what about our VCE Results

So what about our VCE Results

Thursday, 9 February 2017  | Narelle - MECS Principal
Over recent months you would have seen much in the media about VCE results and tertiary placements for this coming year. So what about our students? How did they go? Did they all get into what they wanted to do? Have they been successful?

At MECS, these are not always straightforward questions. Not because our students haven’t done ‘well’ or weren’t ‘successful’ in getting into their desired courses; but because we live out of a broader story! A story that doesn’t measure success by an ATAR score or the successful entrance into a tertiary pathway. As I say in many enrolment interviews, we are not the sort of the school that displays our ‘results’ on a banner out on York Road; not because we aren’t proud of our students and their accomplishments, but because this sort of ‘marketing’ is only part of the story!

But for the record, in that limited snapshot, our students did do well. 100% successfully completed their VCE and our highest ATAR score this year was 90.95. Across the range of subjects, there were 135 A’s and A+’s and 7 study scores over 40! Not far behind them were 16 study scores of 38 or 39. These are the usual numbers that you will see in the media. We are very proud of those students who have been gifted with academic skills, and the way these students have been faithful to their gifting. Indeed, these numbers reflect some excellent individual results.

However, there is more to the story…

MECS has always had an ‘open’ enrolment policy when it comes to VCE; all students are welcome to complete their VCE here irrespective of their academic potential. We do not encourage students to ‘move on’ if we think they are going to struggle with their studies, if anything, we encourage them to hang in there. Our Senior School functions as a warm, caring and safe community, and for some of our senior students, this is more important than any final result.

It is important to remember that the VCE has been designed for all students, not just for those who are seeking tertiary entry. Thus, students who are simply seeking the VCE certificate often don’t worry about the ATAR because their vocational path does not require this. In fact, this year, nearly 10% of our students decided not to complete exams, yet 100% satisfactorily completed their VCE.

If we are serious about a radical Christian education where each child is given the opportunity to undertake VCE irrespective of their prospects, we must also be careful about focussing too much on VCE results at the expense of an education that shines the light of the Gospel on every area of study. Obviously, the aim is to do both. However, we need to acknowledge the pressure to produce ‘good’ results at the expense of ignoring Christian perspectives in our teaching. To take this path means not adequately preparing our graduating students with the tools required to worship God in every aspect of their life. Subjects that are rich in Christian perspectives, like POI, need to be maintained and it is vital our senior students and their families understand and fully support why we do what we do.

For some time now, we have worked towards developing a really strong learning culture in the Senior School. This culture is nurtured right throughout the Senior School, ‘kick-started’ by a wonderfully organised Year 12 camp at the beginning of each year, capable and competent teachers who can build on the strong foundations laid by the staff of the middle and primary sections, excellent attendance at VCE practice exams, a supervised study centre and strong leadership across the Senior School. We believe that the emphasis on ‘academic faithfulness’ - that every student should be working to their potential and unique gifting - creates a respectful and caring environment. Not everyone is capable of being the best, but everyone is capable of giving their best!

And so, as the leader of this Christian school community, I often watch with bemusement and frustration at the way ‘success’ and ‘results’ are talked about by some other schools. However, at the core of who MECS is, and as expressed in our mission statement, we want to provide all our students “with learning experiences that challenge each student to actively live for God in His world.” It’s impossible to put a value on that!

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