Position paper

Beyond ATAR: a proposal for change

An Australian Learning Lecture position paper on transforming the transition from school to higher education, life and work
Secondary education High school students Educational evaluation Educational tests and measurements Australian curriculum Australia

This position paper articulates an ambition for improving the education journeys of 15-19 year olds. It proposes three inter-locking proposals to improve the experience and life outcomes of all young people.

This paper seeks to make explicit the implicit acknowledgement and action by curriculum authorities, schools and education providers across the country to position young people better for a changing future. The proposals build on current work in jurisdictions across Australia and internationally.

The proposals are aimed at supporting all young people to thrive in a changing world. We do not provide all the answers, but offer a starting point for cohesive change.

Summary of proposals:

  • to embrace the period when young people are aged 15-19 as a phase of education. This would enable all learners to develop their own pathway based on their skills, knowledge and know-how.
  • that states and territories agree to work together to design a Learner Profile as a common way of representing the full range of attainments that young people gather during their transition years. Similar approaches are already underway in Hong Kong and Harvard University.
  • that tertiary education providers adopt broader, more transparent entry criteria and pathways that align with learner’s aspirations and abilities. Many providers have established alternatives or additional entry requirements to the ATAR, but the lack of consistency makes it difficult for young people to understand what they need to do.
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