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Academic Excellence

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ Aristotle

Academic success does not come about by accident, but rather it is a daily commitment to excellence, to doing one’s best in the classroom and at home.

Set work
Set work needs to be recorded each lesson by the student in their Student Success Diary, completed that evening, and presented during the next lesson for correction. Set work allows students to consolidate the work covered in class. If students experience difficulty completing set tasks, a signed note from a parent or caregiver should be written in the diary. Students should also attend lunchtime tutoring sessions to gain further assistance.

Revision
Effective note taking can significantly enhance a student’s ability to retain information. Students should take the time to make accurate notes to enhance exam and assignment preparation. As many notes as possible should be taken while a lesson is in progress. To assist students when it comes time for revision, bookwork and handouts need to be tidy and well organised. Students should prepare for exams early using their notes and other course material. They should never go into an exam not understanding a concept.

Tutoring
Specialist teachers are available during lunch times in the Resource Centre for tutoring sessions. Student Services can be contacted for details.

Exams
Exam block is held for Year 11 and 12 students in the final week of each term (and Year 10 in Term 2 and 4). Students are expected to arrive at school at least half an hour before their exam and are to wear their dress uniform. With written parental permission, students may opt to only attend school when they have an exam, signing in and out at the College Office. A quiet, supervised study location will be provided for students staying at the College.

If a student is unable to attend an exam due to extenuating circumstances, parents or caregivers should contact the Head of Year prior to the commencement of the exam. A request to reschedule an exam due to illness will require a medical certificate. Students and parents or caregivers are asked to ensure that travel and family holidays are not scheduled during the exam block.

Homework
Homework consists of three parts: Set work, Revision and Assignments. Most students only consider homework to be work set by the teacher. The other two parts are very important and mastering these is how excellence can be achieved.

Assignments
Assignments should be started early and not left until the last minute. Drafts are a critical stage of the assignment writing process. They enable students to ensure they are on the right track and gives them guidance to further enhance their work.

Final Check: Before submitting an assignment, check the following –

Have all the criteria been addressed?

Is the presentation neat?

Has someone proofread my work?

Are the references complete and correct?

Is the assignment backed up?

Due Dates
Students are expected to hand in a hard copy of their assignment at the beginning of their lesson on the date it is due.

Years 9-12:   Students with incomplete or substandard assignments will be required to submit the work they have completed to date and will receive an after school detention. To remain fair to other students and in line with QCAA guidelines, late assignments will not be accepted for grading, but will be marked to give feedback to students. Students with incomplete homework or late drafts will attend Assessment Recovery Class during Friday afternoon sport to complete their work.

Extensions
An application for an extension may be made prior to the due date in extenuating circumstances such as significant illness (with a medical certificate) or family circumstance. Students should apply to their Head of Year level or Academic Coordinator:

Year 9:   Mrs Christine Thomas
Year 10:   Mr James Earle
Year 11:   Mr Gordon Hooker
Year 12:   Mr Pasa Alyuz

Students are reminded to back up their work and be resourceful, as computer and printing issues will not be considered reasonable grounds for an extension.

Plagiarism
Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is one’s own. Plagiarism is the failure to acknowledge the use of ideas or work of other authors when quoting directly, paraphrasing or citing their work in support of one’s own.

Plagiarism means that ideas, not a student’s own are used in an assignment without proper reference to their source. In short, plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as if it was created and written by oneself.

All College departments regard plagiarism as a serious intellectual crime, punishable by the non-awarding of results and subsequent reduced grades.

Plagiarism may take a number of forms, including:

  • Copying or paraphrasing another assignment, book, diary or website. This may be copying or paraphrasing in its entirety, in part or while changing a few details
  • Using phrases or expressions by an author without acknowledgement.
  • Using someone else’s idea is not plagiarism, provided a student:
  • acknowledges the source of that idea, as an in-text citation in the body of the assignment and,
  • lists the full reference in a ‘References’ list at the end of the assignment.
  • Information sourced from the QUT APA Style Guide www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/cite/apa and ‘Academic Honesty – How to Avoid Plagiarism’ www.library.qut.edu.au/learn/learnhow/academichonesty.jsp. Used with permission.

Referencing

What is referencing?
The research assignments students write will rely heavily on secondary sources (publications on the same or related topics) and sometimes primary resources (personal accounts, interviews, photographs). These sources of information help students to generate ideas and opinions about assignment topics. Students should read and view as many relevant sources to the topic as possible so a relevant response to the task can be constructed. However, when students use or refer to other people’s work in assignments, they must acknowledge it as such according to certain conventions. This is known as referencing. There are a number of different referencing schemes in existence. Brisbane Christian College has decided to use the American Psychological Association (APA) scheme, as implemented by Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Why reference sources?
To validate a point, statement or argument. Opinions carry much more weight if they are supported by the ideas of experts.

To give credit to the originator of the thought. Ethical considerations, as well as the laws of copyright, require authors to acknowledge their sources.

To permit readers to check the original work and assess it for themselves.

To add value to an assignment by demonstrating familiarity with relevant literature.

Rules for in-text citations
In assignment text, students should use the name of the author and the year of publication to identify briefly (using single quotation marks and standard type, not italic) the information cited and present it in a way that enables the reader to locate the source of that information in the alphabetical references list or bibliography at the end of the assignment. Students must cite the author and year for each reference each time the reference is cited (exception: do not quote dates when citing the same work twice in the same paragraph), using parentheses (round brackets) as follows:

In an investigation into extreme storytelling (Hooker, 2015) … Or,

Hooker (2015) conducted an investigation into extreme storytelling.

No distinction is made between print and electronic sources when citing in the text.

References list
The references list at the end of an assignment provides the details of the works cited in the assignment. It is arranged alphabetically by author and date to enable quick location of the reference from the information provided in the in-text citation.

Strict rules apply to the formatting of the references list:
It should start on a new page to separate it from the rest of the assignment, and should have the heading ‘References’ centred at the top of the page.

It is arranged alphabetically by author. If a student has more than one work by the same author, the works are listed chronologically.

Each reference has its own separate paragraph (that is, it should begin on a new line).

The first line of each paragraph is flush to the left margin of the page, with subsequent lines indented.

How punctuation and italics are used is important.

For example, books and webpages are referenced as follows:

Cox, N.A. (2013). An history of Pascal’s triumphs. Retrieved from http://www.bcc.edu/awesomepascal/history.html

Eggins, R. J. (2005). The history of Murwillimbah – Place of many possums. (5th ed.). Brisbane, QLD: Fishwell Publishing.

Further examples of common references can be found at http://www.citewrite.qut.edu.au/cite/apa/examples/. Legal Studies students should refer to http://www.law.qut.edu.au/files/Legal_Reference_ Style_Guide.pdf for the correct format of legal citations. Links to these websites can be found on the Library catalogue Home page.

Textbooks and Laptops
Textbooks and laptops are issued to students as needed and students are responsible for them while they remain issued in their name. Students should not lend them to others or leave them lying around.

Students are not to use highlighters or pens in textbooks. Students returning textbooks and laptops to the Library in a damaged condition (as assessed by Library/ IT staff), will be charged at the current replacement cost. Students will not be issued another copy until the replacement cost is paid.

Textbooks showing signs of wear and tear may be able to be repaired by Library staff. Students are not to attempt to repair books as the Library has the proper materials to maintain textbooks. Use of incorrect materials may further damage the item.

Students leaving the College must return all textbooks, Library books and laptops before their last day. Any items not returned will be charged at their current replacement cost.

Middle School Homework Guidelines

Homework
Homework is an educational activity which arises from interesting and stimulating learning experiences. Essential to the practice of teaching excellence is knowledge of the role our parents play in a fruitful partnership for the purpose of maximising our children’s outcomes…IMAGINE!

Middle School teachers are committed to making homework effective, challenging and enjoyable for our children in Years 6, 7 and 8. We believe homework to be an essential component within our academic program and the meaningful extension of each learning area is paramount to student success. In addition, homework allows students to develop good study habits for their future academic pursuits and organisational skills. The setting of homework takes into account the need for our children to have a balanced lifestyle, acknowledging time for family, worship, recreational and cultural activities.

Homework tasks may include

  • Completing set class tasks
  • Completing additional examples of topics or skills studied during the day
  • Revising concepts and skills covered during lessons
  • Researching and completing assignments
  • Rehearsing for oral presentations, musical performances, etc.
  • Reading widely from a range of texts
  • Practising spelling
  • Preparing for tests.

Homework Specifics
Our children are encouraged to spend a weekly period of time on homework, not a particular quantity. Based on research, the College sets guidelines for children to spend time on homework each school day, with ten minutes recommended per year level (e.g. Year 6 = sixty minutes of homework per day).

  • Within the above specified guidelines, Literacy and Numeracy is expected to be practiced each night, through homework.
  • In addition to Literacy and Numeracy, Specialist subject teachers will set homework one day per week. The day of return of the homework is at the class teacher’s discretion and will be recorded in the students’ diary and communicated through the Middle School Homework Guidelines sent via email and is available on the College website.
  • If children experience difficulty completing set tasks, a signed note from a parent or caregiver should be written in the diary. Children are also encouraged to attend lunchtime tutoring sessions to gain further assistance, if required.

Assessment
Middle School teachers pride themselves in allocating a range of relevant, authentic and purposeful assessment tasks.

Assessment Schedules outlining all subject specific tasks will be communicated to children and parents each term through Student Kiosk, Parent Lounge and email.

Due Dates
Our children are encouraged to submit their work by the due date as adhering to timelines is an important element of developing organisational skills and a strong work ethic. However, in Middle School, we understand there may be extenuating circumstances which impede a child’s ability to complete a task within the allocated time. For this reason, open communication through the Student Success Diary and/ or email is encouraged between parents and College Staff.