Australian Year 12s Given Path to Graduation

April 9, 2020 Updated: April 20, 2020

Federal and state leaders met on April 9 to create a unified approach to year 12 results across the country. In a message to Australia’s aspiring graduates, federal Education Minister Dan Tehan told students that their results would be “as valuable as any previous year.”

Tehan noted that a lot had been taken from Australia this year by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. He explained that each state and territory had agreed that all students would receive an end-of-year senior certificate and an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for their university applications.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government confirmed this by announcing on April 7 that assessments are being changed to reflect the situation.

It will be up to each state how assessments for years 11 and 12 will be managed, with the governments of Western Australia and Victoria already deciding that exams will be pushed back to December.

Another potential change will be how each state and territory calculates the ATAR results. The University Admissions Centre that calculates ATAR results in New South Wales and the ACT said that each student’s ATAR rank is based on a combination of marks from 10 units of senior high school courses, and how those marks compare to other students.

But the system is more complex than just those results. Addison Scott-Fleming CEO of Triumph Tutoring told The Epoch Times that the ATAR indicates how a student performed relative to other students who undertook the same classes. He said nothing changes using the normal ATAR system.

“Each state’s educational authority could consider changes to account for these unprecedented times,” he said.

But ultimately Scott-Fleming would like to remind students that their ATAR doesn’t define them. The priority for students should be on adjusting to remote learning, staying focused during online classes, and avoiding distractions, he said.

“[Students] should seek support in all areas—physical, emotional, and academic—if they feel that they need help,” he said.

Universities Australia is the peak body for the university sector. It’s chief executive, Catriona Jackson said an ATAR is not the only way to get to university.

“Every year, universities and Tertiary Admission Centres (TACs) use a wide range of methods to assess and admit students—in addition to the ATAR,” she said.

On April 7, Universities Australia said that they were working closely with state and territory governments, schools, and TACs to make sure all year 12 students can go to university.

Some universities have already announced different pathways for year 12 students affected by the CCP virus. Both the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University have announced that they will offer admission to year 12 students based on their year 11 results. The University of Tasmania has taken a different approach by introducing a “school’s recommendation” policy for admission next year.

This article was updated to correct the spelling of Addison Scott-Fleming’s name. The Epoch Times regrets the error.