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Revolutionary plan proposed to look Beyond ATAR

A revolutionary plan to rethink Australia’s secondary education and move beyond ATAR was unveiled by the Australian Learning Lecture (ALL) today.

Beyond ATAR: a proposal for change puts forward three inter-locking recommendations to support the transition of young people from compulsory schooling.

The position paper represents
an extended collaboration with leading educators, academics and policy experts following ALL’s second lecture where global education leader Charles Fadel challenged Australian educators to improve the transition from school to work and study.

The proposals are:

  • 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.

Ellen Koshland, founder of the Australian Learning Lecture set out to bring big ideas in education to national attention, said: “It is time to challenge ATAR because it is outmoded and does not allow for development and recognition of skills needed to thrive in a changing world.”

“It is a double disadvantage to young people who are not confident learners and it does not recognise students with a ‘jagged’ profile who excel in certain areas while performing adequately in others. We need to start measuring what counts for young people’s future,” she added.

“Together these proposals are a significant change for the education system – and an opportunity to ensure that each young person is supported with up to date information to develop a map to the future based on their interests and strengths,” said Ms Koshland.

She added that Beyond ATAR was about prompting a national conversation about what our young people need and deserve to thrive.

Beyond ATAR has been written by Megan O’Connell (Honorary Senior Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education), Dr Sandra Milligan (Director and Enterprise Professor, Assessment Research Centre, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne), and Tom Bentley (Executive Director, Policy and Impact, RMIT University).

The paper is available here.

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Australian Learning Lecture