ATAR fo­cus in ques­tion

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Emily Ace

EDITH Cowan Uni­ver­sity South West dean Lyn Farrell wants a greater fo­cus on path­way op­tions to uni­ver­sity as new re­search shows only 25 per cent of stu­dents are en­ter­ing uni­ver­sity based on an ATAR re­sult.

The re­search con­ducted by the Mitchell In­sti­tute ex­plored how dif­fer­ent ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors used the Aus­tralian Ter­tiary Ad­mis­sion Rank to ad­mit stu­dents.

In­sti­tute di­rec­tor, Me­gan O’Con­nell, said the pa­per should prompt gov­ern­ments and ed­u­ca­tors to look at how young peo­ple were mov­ing from school to fur­ther study and ca­reers, and con­sider if the ATAR was still rel­e­vant.

“The ques­tion par­ents, stu­dents and teach­ers should be ask­ing to­day is, if ATAR doesn’t mat­ter for three quar­ters of un­der­grad­u­ate ad­mis­sions, why is it treated as the most im­por­tant out­come of 13 years of school­ing?” Ms Farrell.

She said the ECU Bun­bury cam­pus had al­ways pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple com­ing to uni­ver­sity from path­ways other than ATAR.

“As an ed­u­ca­tor, rather than as a dean of a uni­ver­sity cam­pus, my be­lief is what is im­por­tant is match­ing the path­way to the stu­dent,” she said.

“We have a lot of fo­cus on ATAR ver­sus other path­ways, but what is re­ally im­por­tant is suc­cess­ful learn­ing.

“I would hope the de­ci­sions about path­ways and ap­pro­pri­ate learn­ing is made on the ba­sis of what the in­di­vid­ual is ready for, in­ter­ested in and has a pas­sion for and that we stage their learn­ing in a way that is ap­pro­pri­ate for them.”

School Cur­ricu­lum and Stan­dards Au­thor­ity board chair­man Pa­trick Garnett said the com­ple­tion of chal­leng­ing cour­ses in Year 11 and 12 pro­vided stu­dents with a rig­or­ous prepa­ra­tion for fur­ther stud­ies.

“The ATAR is an im­por­tant el­e­ment for se­lec­tion into uni­ver­sity, par­tic­u­larly into highly com­pet­i­tive cour­ses,” he said.

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