VCE results are out! Some schools shine spectacularly in one or two VCE subjects compared to all their other VCE subjects. For Mentone Girls’, it’s Psychology. For Eltham, it’s VisComm and Literature. For Fintona, it’s Accounting and Economics. Is your school on the list?
The percentages show the proportion of reported VCE study scores ≥40 (2022 data) that were from each particular subject. Consider giving those teachers a pay rise… 🙂
VCE results are out! As usual, the VCAA has released the list of students who opted to have their name featured in the list of high achievers.
I downloaded the dataset and counted how many study scores ≥40 each Victorian school had in each subject. For each school, I them summed the number of 40+ study scores in English (including Literature and English Language but not EAL), and the number of 40+ study scores in the three Maths subjects.
The results are interesting: some schools, like Wellington Secondary College or Ringwood Secondary College, achieve much stronger results in Maths than in English. Some schools, like Loreto Toorak and Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar are much stronger in English than Maths. Only a few schools were equally strong at both English and Maths.
Only Victorian schools with at least 5 reported ≥40 study scores in each of Maths and English were reported (130 schools).
Some Chapters in VCE Chemistry Units 1 and 2 are more useful than others when for Units 3 and 4. Organic chemistry and redox dominate the Units 3 and 4 course while ionic bonding and metallic bonding barely feature at all.
I made this chart so students know which chapters of Heinemann Chemistry 1 are essential (and usually assumed) knowledge for students commencing Heinemann Chemistry 2.
Please note that this chart is only relevant for students studying VCE Chemistry Units 1 and 2 in 2022 who will progress to VCE Chemistry Units 3 and 4 in 2023.
Try this VCAA Chemistry Question 9 collection. Question 9 is usually about experimental design.
All these questions are original past VCAA Chemistry Question 9 (experimental design questions) from the current study design. Relevant pages from VCAA’s examination reports are linked below.
Note that the first question in this collection is question 8 because the 2018 NHT paper only had 9 questions in total instead of the usual 10. The next question isn’t exactly related to experimental design, but rather to an experimental cell design. It’s the closest question in the 2019 NHT paper to a question on experimental design.
Some multiple choice questions (approximately 2 out of every 30) are “tricky” – that is, they contain a distractor that students choose more frequently than the correct answer.
This collection of 10 multiple choice questions is entirely comprised of questions where students did worse than guessing (in other words, <25% of students chose the correct answer). One of these questions was so tricky that only 8% got it right.
Try these questions then scan the QR code at the end for the solutions.
The pandemic turned VCE Chemistry upside-down. Stoichiometry, traditionally a difficult topic, was the best-answered of all. Chromatography, traditionally an easy topic, was the most difficult for the class of 2020.
Most noticeable is the increase in “difficult” topics highlighted red in the chart above. (For a comparison with the 2013 & 2014 VCE Chemistry written examinations, click here.)
Unbelievably, the Victorian state average score in the 2020 VCE Chemistry written examination was a FAIL at just 47.9%.
Disruptions to learning caused by the pandemic could help explain why the VCAA is considering making the VCE Chemistry curriculum substantially easier from 2023 onwards. If the educational effects of the 2020 pandemic really do linger for most of this decade then making the curriculum easier fails to tackle the root of the problem, which is the loss of quality study-hours. I believe the only correct remedy is to provide current students with extra training and support to make up for the pandemic… not to drop the bar so low that our students cannot compete on the world stage.
If you’re new to Python, go to the menu bar and click Runtime > Run all.
Then wait for around 20 minutes while this script scrapes data from the VCAA and generates an interactive scatterplot for you. When it’s done, there will be some interesting data files available for download from the file explorer on the left of the screen.
You’ll notice some interesting findings in the scatterplot, including the fact that boys outperform girls in biology, and girls outperform girls in physics! Girls outperform boys in 15 of the 20 most popular VCE subjects with the only exceptions being Chemistry, Biology (only slightly) and all three mathematics subjects.
Feel free to modify this code and repost it. There are some other interesting insights you could glean from the dataset. Enjoy!
This chart shows the percentage of students with a top 100 Asian surname among high-achieving VCE students (≥2 study scores ≥40) by subject with EAL students excluded from the analysis.
The proportion of high-achievers with Asian surnames was highest in the following subjects: Specialist Maths, Maths Methods, Physics, Chemistry, Accounting and English Language. Conversely, the least Asian subjects among high-achievers were Drama, Sociology and Theatre Studies.
All spelling variations of the top 100 Asian surnames listed on Wikipedia were included in the analysis, for example Li as well as Lee.
In this analysis, I defined “high-achieving students” as those who achieve at least 2 study scores ≥40. I then compared this with enrolment data to see how their subject choices differed from that of all students (from VCAA statistics).
Choosing these subjects doesn’t guarantee you a high grade. But it does provide some interesting insight into the patterns of high-achieving students, who are more likely to have chosen Specialist Maths, Latin, Chemistry, Global Politics, Physics and Literature.
With schools closed due to COVID-19, it can be difficult to stay on track with your VCE studies.
That’s why I’m hosting my first VCE Chemistry study group for Year 11 students on Zoom this Saturday. We’ll work through a selected set of practice questions for VCE Chemistry Unit 1 until we finish them all, which should take around 55 minutes.
By signing up using the link below, you’ll receive a set of questions you need to complete in advance. This will form Part A of our stimulus material. Part B will be revealed during the Study Group on Saturday.
I’m James Kennedy, a VCE Chemistry teacher with 9 years’ experience, and plenty of experience teaching online. (You may have also seen one of my YouTube channels, books or appearances at chemistry conferences before.)
This means all of our clinically validated techniques, coping tools, and peer support are available to everyone to help people find calm, gain insight and feel more socially connected from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Examination reports are very useful but most students don’t read them. I’ve scoured the examination reports from 2017, 2018 and 2019 and analysed how many marks were awarded for each topic of the VCE Chemistry course, and recorded what percentage of students got these right. As usual, this revealed that VCAA asks more questions on topics that students frequently get wrong.
Tip for students: focus more of your attention on the red topics in the chart above.
Chapter numbers refer to those used in the Heinemann Chemistry 2 textbook.