What is an ATAR? How does it work?
The aims of the ATAR are laudable – it supposed to be the great leveller. How otherwise does an employee or university chose between candidates, do they know if a Band 6 General Maths or a Band 4 Advanced Maths student is brighter? Likewise does a Band 6 Design and Technology student get preference over a Band 4 Physics student in an architecture or construction course?
The main draw back however is that all students are ranked in order of ‘cleverness’ from zero to 99.95, i.e. an ATAR of 80 means that a student is in the top 20% of their year group. Given that no-one wants to feel average (even though, by definition, average is the norm) and that the educational definition of success is to go onto university, only students who achieve an ATAR of 70 or above feel as though they have succeeded. Some of the 70 plus ATAR students still feel as though they have missed the mark, if they don’t get into the course they wanted. This means that after 12 or 13 years of education at least 75% of our children, each year, graduate feeling like failures.
Does this set our children up for success in the rest of their lives?
Do they feel equipped to deal with the world and confident that they will succeed in life after all that education?
Does it really come down to one mark?
There must be a better way.
We at K-nect Learn think there is another way - ask us about it.