If you’ve recently received some QCE marks back and you’re disappointed, this is for you.
Firstly, it’s okay to be disappointed. It doesn’t matter if you scored 25% or 99% – disappointment is disappointment. People might say stuff like, “oh, you shouldn’t be disappointed with [whatever mark]; that’s so good!” But like, if you’re disappointed, that’s not really going to be of use to you.
So now that we’ve established that whatever you’re feeling is totally valid, let’s be pragmatic about this. Here are some things to consider.
A good thing about the new QCE ATAR system is that, for the most part, subject scores for General subjects come from both internal assessments, and an external assessment. In maths and science subjects, it’s a 50/50 split. In other subjects, 75% comes from internal assessments, with a 25% contribution from the end-of-year exam.
In all situations above, it’s not as though a single internal assessment mark totally dictates what you’ll receive overall for that subject, and even less the eventual ATAR.
If you’re unhappy with your internal marks so far, that’s cool – you still have the chance to make up for lost time in other aspects of assessment. And that leads me to point #2.
This is all about attitude – and it’s extremely important in my eyes. There are two approaches you can take after a disappointing assessment mark.
The first: “I scored 80%, but I totally deserved 90%. Look here – you marked so harshly! As if I didn’t even get a single mark for this question!”
The second: “I scored 80%. I think I deserved more than that, but I guess marking is consistent, so it doesn’t really matter. Say, what could I do in the future to get that extra 10%?”
The first option gets you nowhere – trust me; I’ve tried. There’s really very little point arguing over your mark. The difference of an extra mark or two will more than likely be negligible – if there’s any difference at all. I totally understand the temptation, because I was a consistent mark-arguer. “But I fully addressed the question,” I’d whine. “Why did this only get two out of three?!” I’d demand.
It’s one of my biggest regrets through Year 11 and Year 12. I fundamentally wasted both my own time and that of my teachers. At the end of the day, I didn’t really benefit – and they certainly didn’t.
The second option, though, is smart. It’s okay to feel as though you deserved a higher grade – that’s probably natural. But looking for qualitative feedback rather than feeling cheated of quantitative marks is important. This way, you work out precisely how you can improve for the exam. That’s one of the fundamental purposes of internal assessments.
I don’t care when you’re reading this. Unless you’ve finished your very last QCE exam, there’s time to improve.
Whilst that might be daunting for some, it should also be comforting. It’s definitely not the case that your entire internal assessment performance is contingent on one test. In fact, most subjects will have numerous tests throughout the year – and that’s a good thing. It means that even if you haven’t been happy with your marks thus far, there are still several opportunities to nail it throughout the year.
And I believe in you.
Trust me – you can turn it around.
And that builds a natural progression into my final point: consistency is crucial.
If you’re disappointed about test marks, that’s totally cool. But you have to ask yourself: if nothing changes, why would my marks change?
Consider why you didn’t do as well as first hoped. Then, set yourself small goals to address that issue. Didn’t prepare quite enough? Aim to study five minutes more per day. Tense up under test conditions? Simulate those conditions before the test. Once you’ve identified the issue (and this is where point two is crucial), it doesn’t take much to address it.
Start now. You can very easily get stuck in the “I’ll do it tomorrow” loop – but the sooner you start, the better you’ll be.