The college system

The ACT operates a system of school-based curriculum and assessment within the policy and procedures of the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies (BSSS). Certification is based on continuous assessment over years 11 and 12, with students undertaking their first assessment tasks as early as week 5 in semester 1. The language of the BSSS can seem technical and confusing at first: we coach and guide families along the way!

The college system and certificate requirements


A unit is a structured learning activity that is assessed and reported on. Each unit is attached to a course area.

Standard unit: At least 55 hours of study is required to produce one unit. This is usually undertaken at four hours per week for a full semester.

A Half Standard unit: At least 27.5 hours of study is required to produce a 0.5 unit. This is usually undertaken at two hours per week for a semester or four hours per week for a term.


Courses are groups of units in the same subject area.

Minor – At least 2 standard units. A typical minor is produced by taking one class in a subject area for one

Major – 3.5 to 5 standard units. A typical major is produced by taking one class in a subject area for two years.

Major/Minor – 5.5 to 6.5 standard units. A typical major/ minor is produced by completing 6 classes in a subject
area over two years.

Double Major – 7 to 8 standard units. Typically, a double major is produced by completing 7 or 8 classes in a subject area over two years.


Not all courses have provision for Major/Minors or Double Majors. Students can do more than eight standard units in a course, however, 8 is the maximum that will count toward the course score and academic package requirements.

Types of Courses

Tertiary (T) Courses

T courses are approved courses which have been approved as preparation for higher education. T course scores are used in preparing the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

Accredited (A) Courses

A courses are approved courses that are suitable for a general education for students in Years 11 and 12.

Vocational Courses (V)

Vocational courses are approved Year 11/12 vocational courses designed to provide knowledge and skills directly relevant to an area of employment and can lead to further vocational education and training. These courses have a workplace component, are recognised nationally and can provide new apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities both during and after college. Vocational programs may also be classified as A, T, M, or C courses.

Registered (R) Units/Courses

R units/courses are courses designed to further a student’s social, artistic, sporting, cultural, personal development and academic progress.

Higher Education (H) Courses

H courses are targeted extension programs or first year university programs delivered in partnership with higher education providers and are intended to support high achieving students. Hawker College students have access to all H courses.

Modified (M) Courses

M courses are typically T and A courses that have been modified to allow students who satisfy specific disability
criteria to engage in classes at an appropriate level.

C Courses

C classification is given to a vocational program that is assessed solely using the competencies attached to the Certificate I, II or III being undertaken. Scores and grades are not attributed to units in these courses and they do produce standard units.

External (E) Courses

E classification is given to a vocational course that is delivered by an external Registered Training Organisation. Students can undertake any kind of vocational training course as part of their package in this way.