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Calculation of the ATAR and using the scaling report UAC Information Session 6, 8, 12 and 14 June 2012

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Understanding the Scaling Report Overview of the Scaling Report 2011 HSC and ATAR What is the ATAR? What is scaling? FAQs Using the tables from the Scaling Report

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Overview of the 2011 HSC and ATAR students completed at least one HSC course did not complete any ATAR course (BDC with exam) 93.3% of the remaining pool (69 309) received an HSC 79.2% received an ATAR 96.0% of those receiving an ATAR only included 2011 courses Slightly more females (53.4%) than males in the ATAR group 45.2% completed only 10 units students enrolled in at least one VET course students (74.6%) enrolled in at least one VET examination course

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The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank - a numerical measure of a student’s overall academic achievement in the HSC in relation to that of other students. It’s about POSITION. a number between 0.00 and (only ATARs above 30 are reported) intended for use by universities to rank and select school leavers for admission to university WHAT is the ATAR?

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ATAR eligibility To be eligible for an ATAR a student must have satisfactorily completed at least 10 units of ATAR courses, including at least: –eight units of Category A courses –two units of English –three courses of two units or greater –four subjects

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ATAR calculation The ATAR is based on an aggregate of scaled marks in 10 units of ATAR courses comprising: –the best two units of English –the best eight of the remaining units, which can include up to two units of Category B courses Marks can be accumulated over a five-year period, but if a course is repeated, only the last satisfactory attempt is used in the ATAR calculation. A scaled mark is calculated the year the course is completed.

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Board of Studies road map The Board of Studies provides a profile of how each student has performed in each course attempted. Examination mark School assessment mark HSC marks Performance bands HSC examination marks + HSC assessment marks Moderated school assessments

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ATAR road map - a five stage process STAGE 5 Truncate to nearest.05 STAGE 1 controlling for competition STAGE 4 Year 7 percentiles STAGE 2 determining the aggregate STAGE 3 Year 12 percentiles

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Stage 1 – controlling for competition For each course, examination marks and moderated assessments are averaged to produce a raw mark, which is changed into a scaled mark. Scaled marks are marks students would receive if all the course candidatures were the same. The scaling algorithm starts from the premise that a student’s position in a course depends on - how good he/she is in that course, and - the strength of the competition. Scaling controls for the strength of competition Exam mark Moderated assessment mark Raw mark Scaled mark

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Stage 2 – determining the aggregate For each student an aggregate mark is formed by adding together the scaled marks of - the best two units of English - the best eight units from the student’s remaining courses, (no more than two units from Category B courses can be included) Aggregate 1 unit (English) 1 unit

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Stage 3 –ATAR-eligible percentiles All Year 12 students who are eligible for an ATAR are ranked on the basis of their aggregates. ATAR-eligible percentiles, which show the position of students relative to their ATAR cohort, are then determined for these aggregates. ATAR-eligible percentile Aggregate (76.9% of the 2011 ATAR cohort received an aggregate mark of 350 or less)

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In 2011, students received an ATAR out of approximately 80,000 students who started Year 7 with them. To make NSW ATARs comparable to ATARs calculated in other states, students’ positions relative to the TOTAL cohort, including those who left before Year 10 and those Year 12 students who were not eligible for an ATAR, are calculated. Stage 4 – Year 7 percentiles

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Stage 5 – determining the ATARS When the position of each student relative to the full Year 7 cohort has been determined, the final step is to truncate these percentiles to the nearest 0.05, starting at Here are some examples from the 2011 calculations. (Table A9) ATARRange of percentilesLowest aggregate

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Frequently asked questions Can my school, my classmates or my choice of subjects affect my ATAR? Moderation and scaling processes aim to remove differences between schools and courses. Students can achieve high HSC marks and high ATARS regardless of courses attempted or school attended. Reference: Report on the Scaling of the 2010 NSW HSC Table A1

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FAQs If the ATAR indicates position, why isn’t the middle ATAR 50? Because the ATAR indicates position against the entire age group, not just those who complete Year 12. The cohort of students who complete Year 12 and who are eligible for an ATAR are, on average, better students than those who leave early or who complete Year 12 but are not eligible for an ATAR. Only about 57% of students who start Year 7 complete Year 12 and are eligible for an ATAR. The middle student in the Year 12 ATAR cohort is better than 70% of the initial cohort, so the middle ATAR is about 70.

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FAQs Why is one course counted towards my ATAR when another course where I received a higher HSC mark does not count? Whether a course counts depends on your position in the course and the scaled mean of the course. If the scaled means are the same, the course in which you have the better position is more likely to be included. If your positions are similar, the course with the higher scaled mean is likely to be included. There are occasions when a better position will compensate for a lower scaled mean. (Reference: Report on the Scaling of the 2010 NSW HSC, pp24-25)

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FAQs Why is my ATAR low in comparison to my HSC marks? Because ATAR is about position, and even high HSC marks don’t necessarily mean a high position. The Fred and Laura example shows the large difference in ATARs arising from much smaller differences in HSC marks. (see p 23 of 2011 Scaling Report)

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FAQs How do bonus points work? They are added to the selection rank for a particular course Example - Course A has 6 applicants for 3 places (ATAR of 89) (ATAR of 83 plus 5 bonus points) (ATAR of 85 plus 2 bonus points) (ATAR of 86) (ATAR of 76 plus 9 bonus points) (ATAR of 84) XX = selection rank (Course cut-off = 87) Bonus points DO NOT change the ATAR

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FAQs Are certain courses always scaled up or scaled down? NO Do I get a better ATAR if I study hard courses, or courses that are scaled up? NOT NECESSARILY Can I get a high ATAR if I study a VET course? YES Can I get a better ATAR if I study General Maths rather than Mathematics? NOT NECESSARILY Not many students get Band 6 in Standard English. Does that mean I can’t get a high ATAR if I study Standard English? NO Your ATAR doesn’t depend on the particular courses you study, but on how well you do in your courses.

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ATAR quiz

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Using the tables from the Scaling Report Appendix (p28)

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Overview of the tables Table A1 – Gender, ATAR eligibility and maximum ATAR by course* Table A2 – Distributions of HSC marks by course* Table A3 – Descriptive statistics and selected percentiles** for HSC marks and scaled marks by course* *excludes courses with <10 students ** no percentile data for courses with <40 students

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Overview of the tables Table A4 – Distributions of HSC marks by course: (excl <40) Table A5 – Distributions of scaled marks by course: (excl <40) Table A6 – Courses that contribute to the ATAR (excl <10)

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Overview of the tables Table A7 – ATAR distribution Table A8 – ATAR and percentiles: Table A9 – Relationship between ATAR and aggregates:

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Exercises

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In summary, the Scaling Report Can be used for …Should NOT be used for … statistics; course enrolments; male/female study patterns; estimating ATARs trends - changing distribution of marks across courses choosing HSC courses explaining a students’ ATAR and why certain courses have/have not been included advising students about patterns of study

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Where to go for more information All about your ATAR Report on the Scaling of the 2010 NSW Higher School Certificate The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank in New South Wales: A technical report Frequently asked questions about the ATAR University entrance requirements for 2014 (for Year 10 students in 2011)

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Thank you.

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