Fact sheet

Fact Check: Are marks to get into teaching getting lower and lower?

Australian Labor Party Preservice teachers University admission

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek, who has long expressed concerns about the quality of teacher education courses in Australia, says marks to get into teaching are getting lower and lower. Is that right? Ms Plibersek's claim is not clear cut. Students enter teaching courses in different ways, with about a quarter enrolling straight from school, and others studying postgraduate degrees or enrolling on the basis of tertiary study or vocational education and training. Experts consulted by RMIT ABC Fact Check could only identify detailed enrolment data for around 20 per cent of people studying teaching. That data shows the distribution of entry scores among students enrolling straight from school, based on their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (or ATAR), for the years 2007 to 2016. From this, Ms Plibersek could fairly claim that teaching courses are enrolling more school leavers with lower marks, and fewer with higher marks. While that change might drag down the average entry score, it does not necessarily mean universities have lowered their minimum entry thresholds. Experts said there may be more lower scoring students being enrolled through the use of alternative admissions criteria. However, the published data for entry scores does not cover these students, who represent the bulk of those enrolling in teaching courses.
Verdict: Not clear cut

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