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You are reading: ATARs – you may as well use postcodes for university admissions

Written by Claire Brown for The Conversation

For the next couple of months, young people across Australia will be sitting their final Year 12 examinations. For them, it’s the end of more than a decade of schooling looming large. Their soon to be determined Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking (ATAR) can mean everything – a badge to wear proudly or not, as the case may be.

For some universities the results become merely a way of sifting and sorting; who will get in, and who won’t.

But the system is breaking: increasingly schools are shaping their teaching towards maximising students’ score. And governments and universities alike have become overly focused on the ATAR as a measure of student quality – even though it’s more likely to measure the relative wealth of schools, more than a student’s abilities.

In fact, using a students’ postcode might work just as well.

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