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titleHandbook Transition

Our VCE Handbook content is undergoing a transition to a new, improved, consistent and easy to read format. We are working to transition our content from the original handbook format to the new format and you may see both formats below until we complete the transition. Apologies for any inconvenience, but we should be done with the transition soon.

NEW HANDBOOK STRUCTURE/CONTENT

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ORIGINAL HANDBOOK STRUCTURE/CONTENT

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titleClassical Studies (Ancient Greece) Units 1&2

What is a hero? What makes a leader? What is the nature and impact of war? People in ancient Greece confronted many of the questions that we still grapple with today. VCE Classical Studies explores the literature, history, philosophy, art and architecture of classical Greece. Students examine classical works that have captivated and inspired generations. These works explore concepts such as love and devotion, and the cost of anger and betrayal. In presenting ideas about fate and freedom, Classical Studies encourages students to analyse, evaluate and respond to classical works and to understand the relationship between a work and the society that created it. Classical Studies is divided into four units (over years 11 and 12). Units 1 and 2 are not prerequisites for undertaking units 3 and 4, but do provide a great deal of background knowledge and skills required in units 3 and 4.

Unit 1: Mythical worlds

There are three areas of study in unit 1: heroes and monsters; myth and archaeology; myths in art and literature. Students are introduced to the pantheon and mythology of ancient Greece. They examine the qualities of heroes and gods and interpret the values and beliefs they embody. They study the archaeological evidence of certain myths and analyse the role of myth in everyday life through studying artwork, festivals and games.

Unit 2: Classical imaginations

There are two areas of study in unit 2: society through culture and classics through time. Students are introduced to the city-states of Greece, particularly Athens. They examine the political and social structure, ideas about serving the state and interacting with outsiders. They learn about significant events of the classical period such as the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War and the ‘golden age’ of Athens. They study works from the archaic and classical periods such as sculpture, Homer’s epics and Athenian tragedies to examine how the Greeks viewed and responded to their changing world. Students also trace the influence of Greek ideas and works through history, from the Romans to the Renaissance and into modern times.

Assessment: Units 1 and 2\

Satisfactory completion of units 1 and 2 requires students to demonstrate key knowledge and skills (outcomes) prescribed by the VCAA. Tasks include written and oral reports, short analyses of
works/extracts, essays, posters, and end-of-unit exams.

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titleClassical Studies (Ancient Greece) Units 3&4

Units 3 and 4: Classical worlds

Units 3 and 4 have identical areas of study: study of an individual classical work and comparison of a pair of classical works. In these units students engage with the intellectual and material culture of classical Greece. Works are selected from the Classical Works list for each unit, which includes Athenian tragedies and comedies, Plato’s Socratic dialogues, extracts from Homer’s epics, works of history, sculpture and architecture.

Area of study 1: Study of an individual work

This study enables students to engage with ideas that are explored by particular writers and artists. Students evaluate the techniques used to present these concepts. They evaluate the relationship between the work and its socio-historical context.

Area of study 2: Study of a pair of  works

In studying and comparing classical works, students consider ways in which different writers and artists dealt with the same concept. Such analysis reveals the changing nature of the classical world.

Assessment: Units 3 and 4

In Units 3 and 4 students’ level of achievement is determined by school-assessed coursework (SAC) and an end-of-year exam, which contribute to the study score as follows:

   Unit 3 SAC - 25%

   Unit 4 SAC - 25%

   End-of-year exam - 50%.

The coursework and exam take the form of short analyses of works/extracts and essays. 

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titleAustralian and Global Politics Units 1&2

Unit 1: The National Citizen

In Unit 1, students are introduced to the study of politics as the exercise of power by individuals, groups and nation-states. Students consider key concepts related to power and influence, types of power, political ideology and values, political involvement and active citizenship. The nature of and philosophical ideas behind democracy are studied, as well as the operation and nature of contemporary Australian representative democracy. Students examine the reasons why people seek political power, the characteristics of successful political activists and leaders, and the political ideas that motivate them.

There are two areas of study in Unit 1:

   Power, politics and democracy

What is politics? In which ways do individuals and groups gain and exercise political power? What are the most significant features of the way politics is practised in Australia? What opportunities exist for younger Australians to participate in the Australian political system? 

   Exercising and challenging power

Why do individuals get involved in politics? Do political leaders have similar characteristics and share similar aims? What are the major political ideologies? What are the ideas and aims of the most significant political movements in Australia?

Unit 2: The Global Picture

Unit 2 focuses on the contemporary international community. Students examine their place within this community through considering the debate over the existence of the ‘global citizen’. There are two areas of study in unit 2:

   Global threads

How do citizens in the twenty-first century interact? How have our lives been affected by globalisation? Do citizens have global responsibilities? Does the global citizen really exist?. In this area of study, students consider how citizens in the twenty-first century interact and connect with the world.

   Global cooperation and conflict

What do we understand by the term ‘international community’? How does this community work in the twenty-first century and what are its responsibilities? How effective is the international community in managing cooperation, conflict and instability? What challenges do key global actors such as the United Nations and NGOs face in resolving issues such as war, conflict, environmental challenges and people movement?

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titleGlobal Politics Units 3&4

Unit 3: Global Actors

In unit 3, students investigate the key global actors in twenty-first century global politics. They use contemporary evidence to analyse the key global actors and their aims, roles and power. They develop an understanding of the key actors through an in-depth examination of the concepts of national interest and power as they relate to the state, and the way in which one Asia-Pacific state uses power within the region to achieve its objectives. There are two areas of study in unit 3:
           Global actors

In this area of study students examine the key actors in contemporary global politics: states, international institutions of global governance, transnational corporations (TNCs) and non-state actors. The state is the principal actor within global politics because the world (with few exceptions) is divided into these political communities; however, its power and influence is being challenged. Students consider the challenges to the sovereignty of states. 

   Power in the Asia-Pacific region

In this area of study students examine the way in which China uses its power in the region to pursue its national interests, and explore the ideas and debates that form, and have formed, its national interests since 2000.

Assessment

School-assessed coursework (SAC) for unit 3 will contribute 25%. This will take the form of short answer questions, extended responses and an essay. The level of achievement for units 3 and 4 is also assessed by an end-of-year examination, which will contribute 50%.

Unit 4: Global Challenges

In Unit 4, students investigate key global challenges facing the international community in the twenty-first century. They examine and analyse the debates surrounding two ethical issues, which are underpinned by the contested notion of global citizenship. They then evaluate the effectiveness of responses to these issues. Students also explore the context and causes of global crises, and consider the varying effectiveness of responses and challenges to solving them. There are two areas of study in unit 4:

   Ethical issues and debates

In this area of study students examine the range of debates about two global issues. Two of the following global issues must be examined: human rights, people movement, development, arms control and disarmament. These debates are considered in the context of specific case studies which transcend specific states, regions and continents.

   Crises and responses

In this area of study students investigate the context, causes and the effectiveness of responses to two global crises. The two global crises selected are intra- and interstate conflict and state and non-state terrorism, and economic instability.

Assessment

SAC for unit 4 will contribute 25%. This will take the form of short answer questions, extended responses and an essay. The level of achievement for units 3 and 4 is also assessed by an end-of-year examination, which will contribute 50%. 

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titleLegal Studies Units 1&2

Unit 1: Guilt and liability

Criminal law and civil law aim to achieve social cohesion and protect the rights of individuals. Criminal law is aimed at maintaining social order and infringing criminal law can result in charges. Civil law deals with the infringement of a person’s or group’s rights and breaching civil law can result in litigation.

In this unit students develop an understanding of legal foundations, such as the different types and sources of law and the existence of a court hierarchy in Victoria. Students investigate key concepts of criminal law and civil law and apply these to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios to determine whether an accused may be found guilty of a crime, or liable in a civil dispute. In doing so, students develop an appreciation of the way in which legal principles and information are used in making reasoned judgments and conclusions about the culpability of an accused, and the liability of a party in a civil dispute. 

Unit 2: Sanctions, remedies and rights

Criminal law and civil law aim to protect the rights of individuals. When rights are infringed, a case or dispute may arise which needs to be determined or resolved, and sanctions or remedies may be imposed. This unit focuses on the enforcement of criminal law and civil law, the methods and institutions that may be used to determine a criminal case or resolve a civil dispute, and the purposes and types of sanctions and remedies and their effectiveness.

Students undertake a detailed investigation of two criminal cases and two civil cases from the past four years to form a judgment about the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve the principles of justice. Students develop their understanding of the way rights are protected in Australia and in another country, and possible reforms to the protection of rights. They examine a significant case in relation to the protection of rights in Australia. 

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titleLegal Studies Units 3&4

Unit 3: Rights and justice

The Victorian justice system, which includes the criminal and civil justice systems, aims to protect the rights of individuals and uphold the principles of justice: fairness, equality and access. In this unit students examine the methods and institutions in the justice system and consider their appropriateness in determining criminal cases and resolving civil disputes. Students consider the Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Supreme Court within the Victorian court hierarchy, as well as other Victorian legal institutions and bodies available to assist with cases. Students explore matters such as the rights available to an accused and to victims in the criminal justice system, the roles of the judge, jury, legal practitioners and the parties, and the ability of sanctions and remedies to achieve their purposes. Students investigate the extent to which the principles of justice are upheld in the justice system. They discuss recent reforms from the past four years and recommended reforms to enhance the ability of the justice system to achieve the principles of justice. Throughout this unit, students apply legal reasoning and information to actual and/or hypothetical scenarios. 

Unit 4: The people and the law

The study of Australia’s laws and legal system involves an understanding of institutions that make and reform our laws, and the relationship between the Australian people, the Australian Constitution and law-making bodies. In this unit, students explore how the Australian Constitution establishes the law-making powers of the Commonwealth and state parliaments, and protects the Australian people through structures that act as a check on parliament in law-making. Students develop an understanding of the signi cance of the High Court in protecting and interpreting the Australian Constitution. They investigate parliament and the courts, and the relationship between the two in law-making, and consider the roles of the individual, the media and law reform bodies in in uencing law reform. Throughout this unit, students apply legal reasoning and information to actual scenarios. 

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titlePhilosophy Units 1&2

Philosophy means ‘love of wisdom’. It develops your powers of reasoning, and teaches you to question what you may and may not take for granted. Philosophy examines the most fundamental concepts we possess. It tries to answer questions whose solution cannot be found by means of empirical investigation. Typical questions are: ‘What exists?’, ‘What must be if the world is to be as it is?’, ‘What is a person?’, ‘What is knowledge?’, What is right and wrong?’, ‘Does God exist?’, ‘What is mind?’, ‘What is the relation between mind and body?’.

Philosophy also examines the conceptual foundations of every branch of knowledge, as in Philosophy of Art or Aesthetics which asks ‘What is beauty?’, or Philosophy of Science which asks ‘What is science?’.

In this course we look at various philosophers’ answers to some of these questions and try to decide what we think of them and why. This involves learning some elementary logic in order to evaluate their arguments and a lot of discussion. We also look at the philosophical assumptions underlying everyday life as expressed in film and media.

You should do philosophy if you like thinking and talking about abstract ideas and questioning basic concepts, and if you’re willing to grapple with difficult ideas. You must not mind thinking aloud and be willing to question every concept you possess as well as struggle with some quite novel and difficult ideas about the way things are. You need to be reasonably good at English because you need to be able to put your ideas down on paper. The study of Philosophy is divided into four units.

For details of the VCE Study Design, 2014-2018, go to:

http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/vce/philosophy/PhilosophySD-2014.pdf

Unit 1: Existence, Knowledge and Reasoning

This unit engages students with fundamental philosophical questions through active, guided investigation and critical discussion of two key areas of philosophy: epistemology and metaphysics. The emphasis is on philosophical inquiry – ‘doing philosophy’ – and hence the study and practice of techniques of logic are central to this unit.

Areas of study

  • The study of basic structures and categories of what exists, or of reality (metaphysics)
  • The ways in which we analyse knowledge, especially the difference between belief and knowledge  (epistemology)
  • Introduction to logic and reasoning

Unit 2: Questions of Value

What are the foundations of our judgments about value? What is the relationship between different types of value? How, if at all, can particular value judgments be defended or criticized? This unit invites students to explore these questions in relation to the realms of morality, political and social philosophy and aesthetics, as well as the role viewpoints in value theory play in contemporary debates.

Areas of study

  • Ethics and moral philosophy
  • Further problems in value theory
  • Techniques of reasoning

Assessment: Units 1 and 2

Students must satisfy three outcomes for each unit, applying methods of philosophical inquiry to the analysis and evaluation of the relevant philosophical problems and viewpoints.Assessment tasks may include a short written analysis, short-answer responses, a test, presentations, dialogue (oral and written) and an essay.

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titlePhilosophy Units 3&4

Students critically compare the viewpoints and arguments put forward in set texts from the history of philosophy to their own views on these questions and contemporary debates.Texts are prescribed annually by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority and published annually in the VCAA Bulletin VCE, VCAL and VET.

Unit 3: Minds, Bodies and Persons

This unit considers basic questions regarding the mind and the self through two key questions: Are human beings more than their bodies? Is there a basis for the belief that an individual remains the same person over time?

Area of study 1: Minds and bodies

Students explore the concept of psyche and its relationship to body as found in ancient texts and the concept of mind and its relationship to body in modern texts.

Area of study 2: Personal Identity

Students explore selected theories of personal identity and the arguments for and against them, including theories that the continuity of self is illusory. Students apply their understanding of the relevant concepts and problems to analyses of contemporary debates such as organ transplants and cloning.

Assessment

Students must satisfy the set of outcomes specified for the unit. Tasks include at least one essay and at least one of a test, written analysis, short-answer responses, written exercises and dialogue and presentations. The assessment tasks for Unit 3 contribute 25% of the final assessment.

 

Unit 4: The Good Life

This unit considers the question of what it is for a human to live well. What does an understanding of human nature tell us about what it is to live well? What is the role of happiness in a good life? Is morality central? Students explore texts by ancient and modern philosophers and use them to inform their analysis of contemporary debates.

Area of study 1: Conceptions of the good life

Area of study 2: Living the good life in the twenty-first century

Students develop and justify responses to debates on consumerism, technology and our obligations to others in relation to the good life.

Assessment

Students must satisfy the set of outcomes specified for the unit. Tasks include at least one essay and at least one of a test, written analysis, short-answer responses, written exercises and dialogue and presentations. The assessment tasks for Unit 3 contribute 25% of the final assessment.

End-of-year examination

The examination will be set by a panel appointed by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. All the key knowledge and skills that underpin the outcomes in Units 3 and 4 are examinable. It will take two hours on a date to be published annually by the VCAA and will be marked by assessors appointed by them. The examination will contribute 50% of the final assessment.

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titleRevolutions Units 3&4

Revolutions are the great disjuncture of modern times and mark deliberate attempts at new directions. They share the common aim of breaking with the past by destroying the regimes and

societies that engender them, and embarking on a program of political and social transformation. As processes of dramatically accelerated social change, revolutions have a profound impact on the country in which they occur, as well as important international repercussions.

Because revolutions involve destruction and construction, dispossession and liberation, they polarise society and unleash civil war and counter-revolution, making the survival and consolidation of the
revolution the principal concern of the revolutionary state. In defence of the revolution, under attack from within and without, revolutionary governments often deploy armed force and institute policies of terror and repression. The process of revolution concludes when a point of stability has been reached and a viable revolutionary settlement made. At PHSC, students study the Russian and French Revolutions.

Unit 3: The Russian Revolution

There are two areas of study in this unit.

   Revolutionary ideas, leaders, movements and events

The period for this area of study is the Russian Revolution 1905 to October 1917 (Bloody Sunday to the Bolshevik Revolution).

   Creating a new society

The period for this area of study is the Russian Revolution November 1917 to 1924 (initial decrees to the death of Lenin).

Assessment

Following the criteria set out by the VCAA, assessment occurs within the school.  The writing of succinct analytical responses is a major part of the course.

Internal assessment is conducted during the year. There are two SACs (school-assessed coursework) in each unit. Each one contributes 12.5% towards the subject score that is part of the ATAR.
Assessment outcomes are:

   Outcome 1: Source Analysis covered in AOS1

   Outcome 2: Research Report on AOS2. 

Unit 4: The French Revolution

There are two areas of study in this unit.

   Revolutionary ideas, leaders, movements and events

The period for this area of study is the French Revolution 1781 to October 1789 (Necker’s Compte Rendu to the 4 August 1789).

   Creating a new society

The period for this area of study is the French Revolution 5 August 1789 to Year 111

(1795) (Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen to the dissolution of the Convention Year 111).

Assessment

Following the criteria set out by the VCAA, assessment occurs within the school. The writing of succinct analytical responses is a major part of the course. Internal assessment is conducted during the year. There are two SACs  in each unit.  Each one contributes 12.5% towards the subject score that is part of the ATAR. Assessment outcomes are:

           Outcome 1: One analytical essay on a given topic on AOS1
         Outcome 2: A comparison of historical interpretations on a topic covered in AOS2.

There is also an examination set by the VCAA and assessed externally, which contributes 50% toward the subject score that is part of the ATAR. There will be opportunities for students to practise for this.

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titleTwentieth-Century History Units 1&2

The first half of the twentieth century was marked by significant change. From the late nineteenth century up to World War I there was still a sense of a certain and natural order in society. This order
was challenged and overturned. Old certainties were replaced by new uncertainties as new movements and organisations emerged in response to economic, social and political crises and conflicts. Revolution, civil war and international conflict overshadowed the first fifty years of the twentieth century. Many of the recurring conflicts of the twentieth century had their origins in the post-World War I political treaties and agreements. These saw the creation of new states and new borders within Europe, Asia and Africa. This was particularly true for the Middle East.

Patterns of daily life in the twentieth century were to change as a result of political and social developments. Advances in science and technology also began to transform the world of work and the home. Traditional forms of cultural expression such as art, literature, music and dance, as well as the new mediums of film and radio, were to both reflect and explore these changes. The first unit considers the way that societies responded to these changes and how they affected people’s lives. At Princes Hill, students study these changes with a focus on the rise of fascism resulting in Nazi Germany and the USA

 The second unit considers some of the major themes and principal events of post-World War II history, and the ways in which individuals and communities responded to the political, economic, social and technological developments in domestic, regional and international settings, especially in the context of the Cold War.A range of countries may be used to study these developments, including the USSR, South Africa, America, and the Middle East.

The study of Units 1 and 2 follows the requirements established by the VCAA.

Unit 1

There are two areas of study per unit.
           Ideology and Conflict

This area of study focuses on the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the traditional order, the post-war structures, the different political ideas and movements that emerged, and the conflicts that resulted from competing attempts to establish and legitimize these movements with an emphasis on Weimar (pre Nazi) and Nazi Germany.

   Social and Cultural Change

This area of study focuses on changes in life in the USA in the 1920s, a period often referred to as the "Roaring 20s" due to changes in society due to Prohibition, Art & a general Economic Boom. We also study those groups in society excluded from this and why. After the Wall St Crash many changes occurred in US Society in the 1930s and we examine these, using evidence such as Charlie Chaplin films.

Assessment

The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has

demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s overall performance on designated assessment tasks. Following the criteria set out by the VCAA, assessment occurs within the school.  The writing of succinct analytical responses is a major part of the course. 

the home. Traditional forms of cultural expression such as art, literature, music and dance, as well as the new mediums of film and radio, were to both reflect and explore these changes. The first unit considers the way that societies responded to these changes and how they affected people’s lives. At Princes Hill, students study these changes with a focus on Germany.

The second unit considers some of the major themes and principal events of post-World War II history, and the ways in which individuals and communities responded to the political, economic, social and technological developments in domestic, regional and international settings. A range of countries may be used to study these developments, including the USSR, South Africa, America, and
the Middle East.

Internal assessment is conducted during the year. There are three SACs (school-assessed coursework) in each unit and a mid-year exam.  Assessment outcomes are:
           Outcome 1: Test on topics covered in AOS1
           Outcome 2: image/extract analyses on AOS2
       

Unit 2

There are two areas of study.

  • Competing Ideologies

     In this area of study, students examine a conflict(s) of the second half of the twentieth century, such as those based on the competing ideologies of capitalism and communism ( Cold War) with an emphasis on Berlin, Cuba and Vietnam as well as how the superpowers maintained their positions using arms, space, spying and sport to compete. We also look at how and why the Cold War ended.

  • Challenge and Change

This topic looks at how nations and other groups have challenged the system in the 2nd half of the 20th Century. Topics studied might include- The Creation of the modern state of Israel, Russia in post Cold War Period as well as other groups challenging the existing order e.g the IRA, Independence struggles eg East Timor, Feminism, the Environmental Movement, Red Brigades.

The award of satisfactory completion for a unit is based on a decision that the student has demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit. This decision will be based on the teacher’s assessment of the student’s overall performance on designated assessment tasks. Following the criteria set out by the VCAA, assessment occurs within the school. The writing of succinct analytical responses is a major part of the course.

Internal assessment is conducted during the year. There are three SACs in each unit and an end-of-year exam. Assessment outcomes are:

   Outcome 1: Test on topics covered in AOS1

   Outcome 2: Research presentation on AOS2