What is the pass mark for the Police Applicant (ACER) Literacy and Numeracy components


Hi Russell here, Prime Motion Training.

One of the most common questions I get from Victoria Police applicants relates to the entrance exam and it’s where this scoring system for the literacy skills component and the numeracy skills component show a pass mark of 111.

Now, that can be confusing given there are 30 questions in each of those sections. The scoring system is based on the Australian Core Skills Framework which we’ll come back to that in a moment.

To keep it really simple, there are 30 questions, you’ll need to get 18 questions or 60% of the questions correct in order to reach this pass mark of 111.

Let’s explore this a little bit further.

In the booklet put out by Victoria Police, we can see at the bottom of the Numeracy example question answers, there is a foot note as follows:

Note: The questions in the Numeracy and Literacy assessments are mapped against the Australia Core Skills Framework (ACSP) – the Australian standards for adult literacy and numeracy. The results of the assessment are reported on a scale that goes from approximately 40 up to a maximum of about 170. A score of 111 or greater is considered a performance at Exit level 3 of the ACSP or higher and this is the required pass mark. In these sample questions, this would mean you would need to get at least 60% of the questions correct to be at this level.

The range of the score is anywhere from 40 to about 170. So, already it’s a little bit wishy-washy, it’s a little vague.

It then goes on to say a score of 111 or greater is considered at performance exit level three of the Australian Core Skills Framework. What does that mean?

It means that you need to get at least 60% of the questions right or 18 out of the 30 questions correct in order to reach the pass mark. If you’re interested in what this actually means in a little bit more detail, check this article here.

So for the numeracy section, it talks about at this level, an applicant would have the ability to do these things, to be able to understand 24 hour time, use a calculator or a spreadsheet, follow a recipe, use routine decimals, fractions, percentages and other formulas, etc.

So if you’re to take a look at something like a table of information, at a much, much lower level you would be expected to identify how many questions there are in the verbal reasoning component.

So verbal reasoning is here, the questions are along the top. So if I come to this position here, I can see that 34 questions are required for the verbal reasoning. So that will be a fairly low level of skills required to be able to do that.

If you are asked to tally up the total number of questions in the entire exam, then you have to have the skills to be able to add all of these together, to come up with the total number of questions in an exam.

A higher level, again, might be where you would need to determine what the average time limit is for a component of the entrance exam. What’s the average time limit? So you would have to divide all of these time limits here, or so you’d have to add them all up and then divide them by the number of individual components to get the average.

You might be asked to work out what the extended writing time is as a percentage of all of the times combined. That might be an even more challenging level, you might be asked to check this total against this total and work out what ratio that might equate to.

So the levels get more and more advanced, more and more difficult to work out, but the level that we’re looking for is level three of this particular framework, where these are the things that you’d be expected to be able to do at that level.

Again, do you really care about all of that? Probably not. What we do need to know though is how many of these 30 questions do I need to get correct in order to reach this strange pass mark here? And the answer is 18, which equates to 60% in order to pass.

All right guys, well as usual, I hope that helps. If you have any questions or comments, let me know. Otherwise, I look forward to chatting to you again in another video soon.

About the Author

Russell Kempster

Russell Kempster

Russ spent 12 years as a police officer with Victoria Police. The last four years of that time was spent at the Victoria Police Academy as an instructor, where he taught everything from fitness to firearms. He has trained police applicants, as well as recruits undergoing their initial training, experienced serving police officers and was even called on by Victoria Police to help train other would-be police academy instructors.

You may also like

Search for an article


Take this Free Course before you sit your Police Recruitment Exam!