Lauriston Girls’ School has a history of outstanding academic results in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) with students who studied at Lauriston consistently placed within the top ten percent of the state’s results. 

Lauriston students have the choice of two Senior Secondary certificates in Year 11 and 12; either the VCE or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. Choice of pathway via VCE or the IB in the Senior College is one of the things that sets Lauriston apart from other independent girls’ schools. It enables the students to pursue their own interests and a course of study that suits the way they learn best. 

The VCE is the predominant senior secondary certificate in Victoria and enables students to choose from a wide range of subject disciplines. The program is offered as semester-length units of study in Years 11 and 12. Typically Units 1 and 2 are undertaken in Year 11 and Units 3 and 4 in Year 12, although many students choose to accelerate their course by undertaking a Year 12 subject in Year 11. At Lauriston we offer our VCE students a wide range of subjects in Year 11 (22 subjects) and in Year 12 (28 subjects) to enable them to discover and pursue the areas which inspire and interest them.

At the end of the year, students are assessed and given a VCE study score, which is used to create an ATAR. 

Breadth of VCE subject selection at Lauriston

Subject categories 


Number of VCE subjects offered* 







English and English Literature









Physical Education and Health






Social Sciences



*See VCE handbook for more information

The IB is an international curriculum that specifically encourages students to think critically and solve complex problems and is assessed over an entire two-year program. Students choose courses from subject groups of Languages, Literature, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Arts. 

At Lauriston, approximately 60% of students study VCE and 40% the IB. We also encourage all senior students to engage in the range of co-curricular and community activities available at Lauriston to expand their interests and to develop a holistic view of the world. Both the VCE and the IB provide a pathway to tertiary studies in Australia and overseas. 

What is a VCE study score?

To calculate a VCEstudy score, the total for each student who was graded via both internal and external assessment in a VCE Unit 3 and 4 subject in Victoria is ranked, and the rank is converted into a whole number score out of 50

Study scores are based on a standard distribution with a mean of 30. Students will receive results which indicate raw scores; these are study scores which have not been scaled. For subjects with large enrolments (1000 or more) the table below shows an estimate of the percentage of students potentially scoring higher than the score stated. 

Scores above 40 represent high achievement by students in specific subjects or studies. 

What is an ATAR? 

The ATAR is the acronym for the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

The ATAR is a percentile/number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to other students using statistical analysis derived from VCE study scores. The scores in each area of study undertaken by students are compared or ‘scaled' (see note below) against other areas to create a percentile ranking that reflects the comparative performance of each student across the state despite the different subject combinations students may have. 

The ATAR is used by tertiary institutions to compare student achievement and they currently provide offers on this basis. The ATAR is calculated combining: 

  • The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) scaled study score for a study in one of English, EAL English, English Language or Literature. 
  • The next best 3 VTAC scaled study scores; and 
  • 10% of the fifth and/or sixth scores available 

A note about scaling: The Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) consider that different students undertake different subjects and therefore ranking students based on subject performance alone may be unfair. Scaling attempts to statistically address this difference. VTAC takes a study score and scales it either up or down a number of points to increase fairness and to take away any advantage or disadvantage in undertaking a particular subject. 

Marina Leggatt, Lauriston VCE Coordinator