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Languages special subject allowance — Stage 2
Information sheet 12

Details about the calculation of the special subject allowance. Advice for teachers about how to complete special subject allowance information on the Stage 2 predicted examination results sheet in Schools Online.

A special subject allowance is applied for students of Stage 2 language subjects at continuers level where first-language learners and background learners are enrolled in the same subject at this level.

It does not apply to any subjects at beginners level or background speakers level. The allowance is applied during the process of calculating the university aggregate for the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Calculating the allowance

The allowance is calculated according to the numbers of first-language, background, and second-language learners enrolled in the particular subject. A formula is used to determine the exact allowance to be added, which can range between 0 and 3, according to the number of students from each of the three categories who are enrolled.

Individual students are not identified in this process.

Schools are therefore requested to advise the SACE Board of the numbers of students enrolled in Stage 2 language subjects at continuers level who are first‑language learners, background learners, and second-language learners.

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Completing special subject allowance information

The language teacher selects 1, 2, or 3 for each student from the drop-down menu in the Special Subject Allowance column on the Stage 2 predicted examination results sheet in Schools Online. These numbers relate to the categories described below.

1. First-language learners

These are students who typically:

  • were born overseas, spent their childhood (up to the age of 12 years) in a country where the target language was a major language of communication, and used the target language (or, where applicable, a dialect of the language*) as the usual means of communication in their home (*For Indonesian, please delete reference to ‘a dialect of the language’ throughout and replace with ‘Malay’.)

      and/or

  • have been educated through the target language (or, where applicable, a dialect of the language) throughout primary schooling, in a country where the target language is a major language of communication

      and/or

  • have studied the language for 3 or more years of secondary schooling in a country where that language is a major language of communication, and who therefore have been studying the language as a first language rather than as a second or ‘foreign’ language. (Students who were born overseas and who spent their childhood in a closed environment such as a refugee camp are included in this category.)

2. Background learners

These are students whose experience of the target language includes some receptive and/or productive use of the language (or, where applicable, a dialect of the language*) at home and/or elsewhere (outside the language classroom), and who are not contained in either of the other two categories. (*For Indonesian, please delete reference to ‘a dialect of the language’ throughout and replace with ‘Malay’.)

3. Second-language learners

These are students whose experience of the language is typically limited to second-language programs provided as part of primary and/or secondary schooling in Australia.

Australian students who participate in exchange visits as part of their learning in a language should be included in this category.

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