Call to ditch tertiary ranking system

TERTIARY entrance scores have been reduced to a game of getting the highest possible ATAR score for school leavers, with the heads of independent schools calling for the ranking system to be removed.

A submission from the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia to the Abbott government's school curriculum review urged the removal of the link between ATAR and the universities admission index.

The ranking of school leavers through the ATAR and UAI system, association chairman Phillip Heath said, was a "poor measure" for predicting student performance.

He said it also reduced the process of "rich learning" for senior high school students into little more than "a game to secure the highest scores".

"The results of this reliance on the UAI score as the measure of worth of a student at the end of their schooling years is negative for both schools and of doubtful merit for tertiary admission," Mr Heath said.

"We need to include evidence of character, attitudes to service and community engagement.

"These qualities stand with evidence of intellectual capacity to provide a more fitting picture of the merit of students."

Mr Heath's criticism reflects some views held in the higher education sector that ATAR scores did not show which students would achieve highest once they entered university.

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