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Inside Teaching : June 2011
Inside Teaching | June 2011 RESEARCH 46 Increasing numbers of students are using a Certificate IV as a pathway to university entrance, but KEITH MCNAUGHT’S research suggests this pathway may have some significant limitations. ALTERNATIVE PATHWAYS TO UNIVERSITY? are released from regular school attendance on an ongoing day- per-week basis to complete such courses. In some cases, this is excellent career counselling advice for students, as they would be unlikely to achieve success in ‘higher-level’ courses and such courses would not provide the necessary pathway preparation for these students’ aspirations. Sadly, though, in some cases, schools may deliberately be steering students away from subjects in which the students’ performance could detrimentally impact on the schools’ overall performance in ranking charts and newspaper reporting. Most Certificate IV courses are not primarily designed to be a university entrance program. Rather, they are designed to be a program of specific vocational preparation for a student to move into employment or further training. The benefit of these courses, however, is that they often build valuable prior knowledge that enables a student to move towards university studies. For example, a student wishing to study Exercise and Sport Science may find a Certificate IV in Personal Training to be valuable. Many Certificate IV courses, however, are light on extended reading and writing tasks as part of the teaching, learning and assessment utilised, and this is where problems can arise for students if they wish to move For a wide range of reasons, students are increasingly using a Certificate IV from a vocational education and training provider to meet minimum entry requirements for their university course. In some cases, secondary schools are overtly encouraging this as a suitable pathway to university study. In doing so, students generally complete ‘lower-level’ upper-secondary courses in their final years, then move towards completing a Certificate III or a Certificate IV during Year 12 or immediately afterwards. Many schools have established relationships with training organisations, where students