The New VCE Study Design: Unit 1 and 2 Overview

Over the next series of posts I’ll be exploring the upcoming changes to the VCE English Study Design for Units 1 and 2, which begins in 2023. These posts cover VCE English: with the expanded SD for EAL, English as an Additional Language now warrants a separate discussion which I’ll cover in a later post.

The new Study Design feels likes it’s been coming for a long time. I started teaching in Australia in 2010, not long after the 2008 update which introduced many of the areas of study that English teachers will be most familiar with. Then, in 2016, the much maligned ‘Context’ unit was replaced with Reading and Comparing Texts, and the persuasive text analysis was reframed as Analysing and Presenting Argument in an attempt to shift the focus away from the “shopping list” of persuasive techniques that the old outcome had drifted towards.

But conversations about the latest Study Design have been ongoing for several years now, and in particular the new writing outcomes have been a long time coming. Partly, that’s because of COVID. Like many subjects, discussions of the new Study Design were delayed for at least 12 months. In 2021 VCAA hit pause on any new changes, with even a roll-over of the text list.

But finally the new SD is out of its consultation chrysalis and available for teachers from the VCAA website (scroll down to the bottom), ready for implementation in Units 1 and 2 from next year.

Overview of the changes

In later posts I’ll go into detail on two of the new outcomes: the personal essay, and the ‘Crafting Texts’ Area of Study. For this first post though I’m going to do a quick fly-by of the changes for Units 1 and 2, starting with a comparison of the Areas of Study and Outcomes.

2016-2022 Study Design
Unit 1

AoS1: Reading and Creating texts
– Outcome 1: an analytical response to a text; a creative response to a text

AoS2: Analysing and Presenting Argument
-Outcome 2: an analysis of the use of argument and persuasive language in a set text; a text intended to position an audience.




Unit 2

AoS1: Reading and Comparing Texts
– Outcome 1: a comparative analytical response to set texts

AoS2: Analysing and Presenting Argument
– a persuasive text that presents an argument or viewpoint; an analysis of the use of argument and persuasive language in text/s
2023-2027 Study Design
Unit 1

AoS1: Reading and Exploring texts
– Outcome 1: a personal response to a set text


AoS2: Crafting Texts
– Outcome 2: two student-created texts such as: short stories, speeches (with transcripts), essays (comment, opinion, reflective, personal), podcasts (with transcripts), poetry/songs, feature articles (including a series of blog postings) and memoirs; a description of writing processes.

Unit 2

AoS1: Reading and Exploring Texts
– Outcome 1: an analytical response to a set text

AoS2: Exploring Argument
-Outcome 2: (a combination of) a set of annotated persuasive texts (including visual texts) that identify arguments, vocabulary, text structures and language features; an analysis of the use of argument and persuasive language and techniques in text(s); an oral presentation of a point of view text.
Summary of changes from 2016-2022/2023-2027 SD (Unit 1 and 2)

Spot the difference

Obviously the biggest change comes from the new Crafting Texts AoS in Unit 1 (and later in Unit 3, and the exam). I’ll write a whole post (or several) about that; however, the differences between the other outcomes are noteworthy, especially:

  • The personal response essay: a totally new form of assessment that allows students to writer personally, reflectively, and make connections with texts
  • The removal of the ‘double-up’ of Argument
  • The removal of the comparative
  • Shifting the (not personal) analytical response back to Unit 2
  • The addition of a folio of annotated texts as an assessment option for ‘Exploring Argument’

Where do I find out more?

I’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks in more detail about the big changes. I’m also going to put together a few sample responses, and you’ll find samples of all the new forms (including the personal essay) in our new Insight Year 11 textbook.

If you’re in Melbourne, we’re having a launch and free seminar on Friday June 10th. You can register for that event here.

You can also find videos about the new Study Design from Dr Annelise Balsamo and Kellie Heintz at VCAA, plus a video on Reading Strategies over on the VCAA website.

Stay tuned for further posts explaining the details of the new Areas of Study!

If you want to stay up to date with these posts, and get samples of writing you can use with your students, please join the mailing list!

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6 responses to “The New VCE Study Design: Unit 1 and 2 Overview”

  1. […] Over the next series of posts I’ll be exploring the upcoming changes to the VCE English Study Design for Units 1 and 2, which begins in 2023. These posts cover VCE English: with the expanded SD for EAL, English as an Additional Language now warrants a separate discussion which I’ll cover in a later post. For the previous post with an overview of comparisons to the current SD, click here. […]

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  2. […] The New VCE Study Design: Unit 1 and 2 Overview VCE English 2023: The Personal Response […]

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  3. […] an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again. The New VCE Study Design: Unit 1 and 2 Overview VCE English 2023: The Personal Response VCE English 2023: […]

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  4. […] the EAL curriculum closely follows the English Study Design, I won’t write another overview: you can read an overview of the whole of Unit 1 and 2 here. Instead, I’ll go through the adjustments to the assessment tasks and outcomes for EAL with a […]

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  5. […] The New VCE Study Design: Unit 1 and 2 Overview […]

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  6. […] preparation for the Insight Publications Year 11 text book, and my own posts on this blog about the VCE English and EAL Study Design, I had to spend a long time neck deep in the new SD. I emailed back and forth with the people at […]

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