General Information


The following information concerns subject choices and further tertiary studies. Every effort has been made to obtain up to date and correct information. However, details for courses, both at Pulteney and at Tertiary Institutions and SACE Board of South Australia are subject to change. Students are advised to contact the relevant Institution to verify any information in this booklet.

What is the SACE Board of South Australia?

The SACE Board is an independent body formed by the State Government and it is responsible for the provision of curriculum statements and certification of all studies undertaken at Year 11 and Year 12 level by students in all South Australian Secondary Schools.

It’s functions include: the development of curriculum statements for a wide range of subjects designed to cater for a diversity of abilities and interests at Stage I and II (Years 11 and 12).
the approval of school-based courses designed to meet the specific needs of the school’s own students. The assessment of subjects for which it provides or approves curriculum statements.
the issuing of the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) to all students in South Australia who satisfactorily complete the requirements of the SACE.

What are some of the features of the SACE?

The certificate is based on two stages of achievement: Stage 1 (normally undertaken in Year 11) and Stage 2 (Year 12). Students will be able to study a wide range of subjects and courses as part of the SACE.

As part of the new SACE students will:

  • receive credits for many different forms of education and training (such as academic subjects, learning a trade, TAFE, vocational training and community service) provided they are recognised by the SACE board.
  • be able to return to their studies at any time in the future to complete the SACE without losing credit for work already undertaken.
  • receive A_E grades in every Stage 1 and A+ - E- in every Stage 2 SACE subject.
  • be expected to gain and demonstrate essential skills and knowledge for their future, focusing on communication, citizenship, personal development, work and learning.
  • have 30 per cent of their work in every Stage 2 subject externally assessed. This will be done in various ways, including exams, practical performances and presentations.
  • have outside moderators check the school-assessed parts of Stage 2 subjects to ensure consistent grading across the State.
  • undertake two compulsory subjects - Personal Learning Plan at Stage 1 and Research Project at Stage 2. Students will need to achieve a C grade or better in both subjects to successfully complete the SACE.
  • need to achieve the compulsory Literacy and Numeracy requirement of the SACE. They will need to achieve a C grade or better in 20 credits of English and 10 credits of a Mathematical subject at Stage 1 to complete their SACE.

Personal Learning Plan (PLP)

The PLP helps students to plan their personal and learning goals for the future and make informed decisions about their personal development, education and training. Developing goals for the future will engage students in activities such as: selecting subjects, courses, and other learning relevant to pathways through and beyond school, investigating possible career choices and exploring personal and learning goals.

A-E Grades

The SACE will give A–E grades in every subject at Stage 1 (Years 10 and 11) and Stage 2 (Year 12) to show your level of achievement. Each subject will have performance standards. That means you will be able to see exactly what you need to achieve to get a particular grade. Skills for work and life the SACE is designed to help you gain essential skills and knowledge for work and life. To do this, it aims to build your abilities in several key areas: communication, citizenship personal development, work and learning.

Research Project

Like every other student undertaking the SACE, you will need to complete a major project of extended studies called the Research Project. This Stage 2 (Year 12) subject is an in-depth study of a topic that particularly interests you. It will give you the kinds of research and presentation skills that you will need in the workplace, in TAFE and at university.

University or TAFE Entry

Your results and marks will be used to calculate your Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) as part of university and TAFE selection processes.

Credit Bank

To complete your SACE, you must achieve 200 credits. You gain 10 credits for one semester or six months of study in a particular subject. A benefit of the SACE is that you can gain credits for learning both in and out of school, including vocational training, university studies, community service and some employment.

To complete the SACE, students will have to earn 200 credits.

Stage 1 – Students will need to earn at least 40 credits from the following compulsory elements:

  • Personal Learning Plan – 10 Credits
  • Literacy – at least 20 credits from a range of English, Literacy or equivalent subjects and courses.
  • Numeracy – at least 10 credits from a range of Mathematical, Numeracy or equivalent subjects and courses.


Stage 2 - Students must complete at least 70 credits from the following compulsory elements:

  • Research Project – 10 Credits
  • Other Stage 2 subjects 3 courses - at least 60 credits.

Students must achieve an A, B, C or equivalent in these compulsory elements to successfully complete the SACE. Students must also gain at least another 90 credits by completing additional subjects or courses at either Stage 1 or Stage 2.