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The problem's more basic than the ATAR

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Every year, around this time, public debate turns to the value of the HSC, and its shadow, the ATAR, the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

Contributors claim the HSC-ATAR combo puts too much pressure on kids at exam time. That schools prioritise ATAR outcomes over broader educational pursuits. That the lure of the ATAR entices some kids to go to uni even though they would be better placed in a TAFE course.

This year is typical. The Melbourne-based Grattan Institute tells us that a school leaver with a low ATAR entry score to uni will struggle to land the good job a degree should deliver.

Another Melbourne group, Australian Learning Lecture Project, says the emphasis placed by schools and parents on maximising ATARs pushes aside more creative and adventurous learning pursuits.

A report commissioned for the Association of Independent Schools of NSW says the heavy stress on ATAR outcomes means school leavers have few of the skills that employers actually want.

Then, no doubt peeved by the attacks on its baby, the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) - the body........

© Canberra Times