A student’s ATAR is a range that measures their overall performance compared to their year group, and is the number colleges use to select dropouts to allow entry into courses.
The Escalation Technical Committee, a team led by chief statistician Helen Tam and a team of math teachers coordinated by UAC, meet the second weekend of December to calculate student rankings. The group has been using the same algorithm to equate, or “scale,” student grades for decades.
Paino said some long-standing misconceptions about the HSC scores and scale persist, largely because there can be “a big difference” between how a student performs in a course and how a student ranks compared to their cohort. .
“An ATAR tells you how you’ve compared to everyone else in your year group compared to all courses,” he said.
“There are also many myths about expanding certain courses and reducing others. The reality is, for most students, they should just be focusing on the courses they enjoy, are interested in, and will perform best, and less concerned with how a certain course scales.”
Subjects like physics and chemistry can scale better, he said, but it will only help if a student does very well in that course.
For year 12 student Gabi Cohen, who plans to study environmental management at the University of New South Wales after taking a gap year, online ATAR calculators have been very popular with her friends trying to determine which university courses she is eligible for. they are likely to access.
Cohen said he used widely available online raw score calculators to see how his practice test scores could be converted to an ATAR, and he believes students need more information to better understand how the scale works.
“We just don’t know how matters will scale, there’s a lot of guesswork,” said Cohen, who dropped out of PDHPE in Year 12 in favor of economics in hopes matter would scale well.
“I didn’t enjoy economics, but I put in the effort because I thought it would help me with my ATAR,” he said, adding that most students use online calculators, but “we really have no idea how accurate they are.”
Some 67,000 students will receive their HSC results via SMS and email on December 15.
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