Indestructible ATAR

The NSW Universities Admission Centre has a new research explaining the excellence of the ATAR as a predictor of university success. What is surprising is the silence that greeted it

UAC has crunched a bunch of numbers on disadvantage and school-university achievement to find that students from disadvantage backgrounds do slightly better at university than others with the same Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

In terms of low SES, “students perform to a level expected of their ATAR and disadvantage has relatively little impact, which suggests that disadvantage adversely affects the student prior to senior secondary school and university,” the centre states.

That no one CMM has heard of criticised the report itself is understandable, UAC knows the data. But it is interesting that the legion of ATAR opponents did not use the report to have a crack at the rank on general principle. This year circumstances in NSW make the exam the ATAR is based on hard on young people locked-down in homes where they lack privacy, decent IT and proper broadband.

NSW Labor MP Chris Hayes (for the federal seat of Fowler) gets this. “I don’t believe this year’s HSC is a valid tool of the assessment, but the current level of uncertainty is certainly affecting the welfare of our students,” he told the House of Reps in August (CMM August 26, 30).

And yet the HSC is going ahead and the ATARs that will flow from it are not criticised.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education


  , ,