Academic journal article Teaching Science

From the President

Academic journal article Teaching Science

From the President

Article excerpt

In the last edition of Teaching Science I mentioned the use of the ATAR in the context of the Gonski report, Through Growth to Achievement. In this edition, I would like to revisit this area.

Back in March, a report by the Mitchell Institute, a think tank at Victoria University, questioned the relevance of the ATAR method of university entry, noting the increasing number of students using alternative entry pathways, such as aptitude tests, interviews, portfolios, auditions and bridging courses. In April, Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, proposed that the ATAR system was reducing the take-up of the more challenging STEM courses in schools. In May, speaking at a Perth high school, Yong Zhao, a world-renowned education academic and author, suggested that universities should abandon the ATAR as a way of selecting students for university courses. He stated that research has shown that a student's ATAR score revealed little about their abilities and was a poor predictor of future success. At our own CONASTA conference in July, Dr Finkel celebrated the fact that the idea of pre-requisites for university courses seem to be making a comeback. The idea of having demonstrated capability and motivation in the chosen area of study does seem a sensible indication of the ability to succeed in further study in that subject.

To use a simple analogy--in our recent school athletics carnival there was a champion boy and girl, selected by the best total score across up to 10 events, which happens to give a maximum total of 100 points. …

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