Questions left unanswered include how schools will ensure the authenticity of students’ work and safeguard against potential cheating on remote assignments, and how to safely conduct practical assessments that require students to attend school.
The VCAA had been expected to provide guidance on social distancing requirements and timetabling for on-site assessments.
It was also due to clarify which assessments would be completed remotely by students and which ones they would need to attend school to attempt.
However, the authority informed principals by email on Thursday afternoon that the two sessions had been postponed.
“These will be rescheduled as soon as possible and you will be notified by email as soon as the new timings are known,” the authority said.
“We are fully aware that you have many pressing questions and apologise for the short notice.”
Mark Murphy, president of the Principals Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools, said it was possible the authority had postponed the sessions so it could be better prepared.
But he said the lack of clarity about VCE assessment was the greatest source of anxiety in schools right now.
“I was looking forward to getting some greater clarity with regards to VCE and that is the area of greatest anxiety in all of our school communities at the moment,” Mr Murphy said.
Some course work is being put on hold until the authority gives guidance on how to authenticate students’ work.
“SACs need to be done under supervision and because of remote learning we can’t do that, so we we’re looking for greater clarity about how we can assess students where they normally would be assessed in front of us,” Mr Murphy said.
The delay also affects students doing their Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, whose assessment is heavily reliant on practical assignments.
Year 12 exams have already been pushed back until at least December and will possibly run into early January, to compensate for the disruption to the school year created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adam Carey is Education Editor. He joined The Age in 2007 and has previously covered state politics, transport, general news, the arts and food.