NSW proposal for an alternative to the ATAR

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank is popular as plague and a NSW review considers burying it

Geoff Masters (Australian Council for Educational Research) and colleagues have reviewed the NSW school curriculum to find the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank is widely blamed for warping senior schooling; “teaching and learning in the senior secondary school are perceived to be overly focused on examination preparation, maximising the ATAR, and university entrance, and insufficiently focused on equipping every student with the knowledge, skills and attributes they will require for further learning, life and work,” they warn in their interim report.

Some universities pointed to its limited role in university admissions in submissions to the review and the NSW Universities Admission Centre gallantly defended its innocence and applauded its achievements. But to little avail;

“the school sector should work with the university sector and UAC to explore the possibility of not calculating and reporting ATAR, replacing it instead with transparent information about the basis for constructing course-by-course selection ranks, which should show an applicant’s rank in relation to the number of places available in each of their preferred courses,” the review recommends.

If introduced that would keep uni admissions people occupied, including dealing with warnings that selection ranks can be gamed.


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