Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

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The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is the primary criterion for entry into most undergraduate-entry university programs in Australia. It was gradually introduced during 2009 and 2010 to replace the Universities Admission Index, Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank and Tertiary Entrance Rank. Queensland still retains its own separate Overall Position system, but began using the national ATAR system for year 10 subjects in 2018, which will impact year 12 students graduating in 2020. [1] [2]

The Universities Admission Index (UAI) was used in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, Australia, as the primary criterion for entry into most undergraduate-entry university programs. It was a number between 0 and 100, occurring in increments of 0.05 and indicating the rounded percentile rank of a student who undertook the Higher School Certificate or ACT Year 12 Certificate with a valid quantity and combination of units of study. It was replaced in N.S.W with the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in 2009.

The Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank (ENTER) was the national Australian tertiary entrance rank, administered by Universities Australia. It was a percentile ranking, designed to simplify the comparison of entrance levels for students educated in different processes of admission for university applicants from interstate. It was replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank from 2010.

The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) was a tertiary entrance score used in several Australian states and the Northern Territory as a tool for selection to universities in Australia. As of 2010, it has been replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in all states and territories except Queensland.

Contents

In Victoria ATAR is derived from mapping a student's aggregate score to the national averages. A student's aggregate score can be calculated using the following formula:

In statistics, aggregate data are data combined from several measurements. When data is aggregated, groups of observations are replaced with summary statistics based on those observations.

In colloquial language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers. Different concepts of average are used in different contexts. Often "average" refers to the arithmetic mean, the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are being averaged. In statistics, mean, median, and mode are all known as measures of central tendency, and in colloquial usage any of these might be called an average value.

Where is their English scaled study score, is the sum of their three best scaled study scores excluding English, and is the sum of their next best two study scores. Because ATAR is ranked on averages, a new table is published each year for mapping aggregate scores to ATAR (e.g. 159.8 aggregate = 90.00 ATAR in 2013). [3]

Other states vary, e.g. in Queensland and Tasmania, English needs to be passed but will not be a mandatory component of the ATAR. [4]

Overview in some states

The ATAR is a percentile score given between "less than 30" up to 99.95 (in a minimum increment of 0.05) which denotes a student's ranking relative to their peers upon completion of their secondary education. For example, an ATAR score of 99.0 means that the student performed better than 99% of their peers, and ranks lower than 0.95% of peers (as the maximum score is 99.95). "Peers" is not the body of students receiving an ATAR that year, but a notional body of persons who might be qualified to receive an ATAR – as a result, the median ATAR score is well above 50.00. For example, the median ATAR score for 2014 was 68.95. [5]

This score is used by university and tertiary education programs as a clear and intuitive ranking to select prospective applicants for their programs, though other means may be used in combination (such as the UMAT for undergraduate-entry medical studies, or interviewing candidates that meet an ATAR score threshold).

The ATAR score is derived from a single aggregate score that is the sum of English and the next three highest scoring subjects that the student has completed at a year 12 standard added with 10% of the sum of the weakest two subjects if the student has elected to study further subjects. The maximum number of subjects used in the calculation of the aggregate score cannot surpass six (four subjects contributing their full amount, and the last two contributing 10% of their respective score), therefore additional subjects completed in excess will re-order the scores used in the determination of the ATAR such that the lowest scores beyond the six will be ignored entirely. Certain subjects (such as university-level courses for high achievers) may also have restrictions such that they may only be used as one the lowest two contributing scores, or mandated to be one of the top four contributing scores (such as compulsory English subjects). [6] [7]

Each completed year 12 subject mark that contributes to the ATAR calculation is referred to as a "study score", which is a normalized score between 0 and 50 for a study undertaken at a year 12 level (with integer increments). This is similar to the percentile ranking featured in the ATAR score itself.

Scaling

Given the discrepancy of difficulty and competition between the wide ranges of subjects offered as part of secondary school education in Australia, these subjects are normalized against each other by means of some sort of study score scaling. For example a score of 89 in Psychology might be scaled to 77, while a score of 89 in Physics might be scaled to 84. [8] Details of this scaling are not (easily) available. Individual universities might also have their own scaling systems. Scaled marks are not reported to students. [8]

Another example is that being at the 99% percentile for Standard English can only produce a scaled mark of 40 (out of 50) while that same scaled mark can be achieved by being at the 70th percentile for English Extension. [9]

Function

The ATAR follows the same principles as its predecessors. The rank gives an indication to the overall position of the student in relation to the student body for that year across the state. A higher ATAR gives preference to that student for the course to which they wish to enrol in a university of their choice. The ATAR is used by: the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) in South Australia and the Northern Territory; Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) in Victoria; and Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) in Western Australia. Starting in 2020, the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) in Queensland will also use and calculate the ATAR. [10] These bodies then allocate positions for the tertiary institutions in their relevant states.

Queensland ATAR

Is the best 5 subjects. English needs to be passed, but not necessarily included in the total. There is some sort of inter-subject scaling. Tertiary institutions may also offer various bonuses. [11]

History

Introduction of ATAR

During June 2009, the Federal Minister for Education Julia Gillard announced the removal of Universities Admission Index (UAI) and the introduction of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, or ATAR, for Year 12 students of 2009 within the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, and for the rest of the country, excluding Queensland, in 2010. [12] The ATAR was introduced to unify the university entrance system in Australia, where previously each state or territory had its own individual system (UAI in ACT/NSW, TER in SA/NT/WA/TAS, ENTER in Victoria). Now in Queensland, the OP system is planned to change to the ATAR system from 2019. [2]

2016 ATAR error

In 2016, a computer error allowed 2075 students to receive their ATAR score five days earlier than they were supposed to be announced. External SMS provider for VCAA, Salmat Digital, created an error that allowed students to receive their results by texting VCAA and requesting their scores to be sent to them on the expected release date. This sparked outrage from parents of students who did not receive their scores, citing that they considered it "unfair", [13] as well as concern about some students receiving their results before they were equipped to deal with them (particularly with regards to counselling).

Changes from UAI

The shift to ATAR means that the ranks most students receiving a UAI would increase by a small amount (although this would not present as any advantage as cutoffs would subsequently increase), while the maximum rank in NSW/ACT would change from a UAI of 100 to an ATAR of 99.95. [14] Queensland will not shift to the ATAR system because it uses a different system and ranking scale, the Overall Position; however, conversion tables to or from the ATAR are available. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the credential awarded to secondary school students who successfully complete senior high school level studies in New South Wales, Australia. It was first introduced in 1967, with the last major revision coming into effect in 2001. It is currently developed and managed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

The Victorian Certificate of Education or VCE is one credential available to secondary school students who successfully complete year 11 and 12 in the Australian state of Victoria. The VCE is the predominant choice for students wishing to pursue tertiary education. An alternative to VCE is the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learnings (VCAL), a vocational based senior secondary school qualification.

The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is awarded to students who have successfully completed their senior secondary schooling in the state of South Australia.

University admission or college admission is the process through which students enter tertiary education at universities and colleges. Systems vary widely from country to country, and sometimes from institution to institution.

The Overall Position (OP) is a tertiary entrance rank used in the Australian state of Queensland for selection into universities. Like similar systems used throughout the rest of Australia, the OP shows how well a student has performed in their senior secondary studies compared with all other OP-eligible students in Queensland. The system was introduced in 1992.

Dickson College secondary college in Canberra, Australia

Dickson College is a public two-year secondary college located in the Canberra suburb of Dickson, Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1976 on the former Dickson High School campus when it closed.

The Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE) was the standard academic examination for secondary students completing their twelfth year of schooling in Western Australia during the early twenty-first century. The exam results were used to determine the Tertiary Entrance Rank and the Tertiary Entrance Score. These metrics were used to determine eligibility for entrance to the tertiary institutions in the state.

The Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) is a scholastic aptitude test, used for entry into undergraduate programs at Australian universities for people without a recent Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

Narrabundah College senior secondary school in Canberra, Australia

Narrabundah College is a government college that teaches the last two years of secondary education in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It was the first school in Australia to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB), starting the programme in February 1978.

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) provides a centralised tertiary study application system and publishes entry requirements and course information for prospective applicants. Established in 1990, QTAC is a non profit, public company.

Radford College Anglican school in Canberra, Australia

Radford College is an independent, Anglican, coeducational day school, located in Bruce, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Goulburn Valley Grammar School

Goulburn Valley Grammar School is an independent, co-educational school in Victoria situated on a 17 hectare rural site 6 km north of the centre of Shepparton, approximately 190 km north of Melbourne. Students from across Victoria and southern New South Wales attend, with students from Benalla, Seymour, Cobram, Numurkah, Yarrawonga, Tocumwal, Moama and Echuca all undertaking the daily bus trip. The school's mascot is the pelican, and the motto is Semper Ulterius, which can be translated from Latin to 'Always further', suggesting there is always something more to know or experience. The school was founded in 1982 by Mr. Vic Ryall. It has students from Years 5–12.

Bored of Studies is an Australian website targeted at students in New South Wales and Victoria. It is prominent among students for its Student Assessment Modeller that calculates approximate Australian Tertiary Admission Rank or Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank results, and for hosting study notes for the New South Wales Higher School Certificate courses. An extensive student community has evolved around its forum, which is frequented by school students, teachers and a growing number of university students. The site's name is a parody of the NSW Board of Studies, the former governing organisation for the Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Universities Admissions Centre organization

The Universities Admissions Centre Pty Ltd (UAC) is the organisation that processes centralised applications for admission to tertiary education courses at participating institutions, mainly in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. A not-for-profit company incorporated in July 1995, it has offices located at Sydney Olympic Park.

Education in Western Australia

Education in Western Australia consists of public and private schools in the state of Western Australia, including public and private universities and TAFE colleges. Public school education is supervised by the Department of Education, which forms part of the Government of Western Australia. The School Curriculum and Standards Authority is an independent statutory authority responsible for developing a curriculum and associated standards in all schools, and for ensuring standards of student achievement, and for the assessment and certification according to those standards.

The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) is the graduation certificate awarded to most students in Australian high schools, and is equivalent to the Advance Placement in North America and the GCE A-Levels of the United Kingdom. Students completing the SSCE are usually aged 16 to 18 and study full-time for two years. In some states adults may gain the certificate through a Technical and Further Education college or other provider.

The Senior External Examination is an annually held Queensland examination, serving as a pathway to tertiary study for students who have been away from studies for a long period of time, who left school before attaining their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or had performed poor in their studies and need to improve their selection rank for university. In addition, high-school students can follow the examination to partake in subjects not offered by their schools, but they will usually have to find private tuition. Senior External Examination is recognized by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) and the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) who together govern high-school subjects and tertiary admission for Queensland.

References

  1. "ATAR 2020 - QTAC". www.qtac.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  2. 1 2 "OP score to go in Queensland in 2018; replaced by Australian Tertiary Admission Rank system". 25 August 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  3. "How is ATAR Calculated? - MathsMethods.com.au". MathsMethods.com.au. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  4. "New tertiary entrance rank". 18 January 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  5. According to the Universities Admissions Centre which administers ATAR-based tertiary entry for NSW and the ACT. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-03-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. "Victoria: How the ATAR is calculated". 13 December 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  7. "NSW: ATAR calculation" . Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  8. 1 2 "UAC ATAR".
  9. "Matrix All about scaling".
  10. "This is my year - QTAC". www.qtac.edu.au. Retrieved 2017-08-12.
  11. "ATAR 2020".
  12. "ACT adopts national student ranking system". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 10 June 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  13. Rania Spooner, Henrietta Cook, Bianca Hall and Timna Jacks (8 December 2016). "Fear and worry as VCE results are issued days early". The Age. Retrieved 26 December 2016.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) - UAC Archived 12 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  15. "2012 Australian Year 12 Conversion Table". Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). 2012. Archived from the original on 4 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013. Note: This site gives the 2012 conversion table, which is approximate. The 2013 conversion table is likely to be slightly different.