Students’ boost to counter COVID-19 concerns
ALL Year 12 students could have their subject scores artificially boosted to reflect the disruption the coronavirus pandemic will have on their final year results.
The Sunday Mail understands education ministers are close to agreeing on the plan which could be rubber-stamped as early as Tuesday when state and territory ministers are due to meet amid concerns large numbers of students repeating Year 12 would clog up the school system.
With travel restrictions hurting the higher education sector, universities have also pleaded with the Government to make sure a new cohort of domestic students enrols in courses next year.
Unsure whether schools will resume after the Easter holidays, parents and school principals have raised concerns about the impact coronavirus will have on the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) results which determine which courses students are accepted into.
Late last month, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan met with state and territory counterparts to discuss the possibility of adjusting university admission processes to reflect the impact of the coronavirus.
The Sunday Mail understands the proposal has widespread support from the states and territories wanting to incentivise students not to repeat.
Under the plan, the subject scores of all students would be lifted by the same amount so top performing students still received top marks, even if they perform worse than students in previous years.
A similar system is currently in place for students whose study is interrupted by ill health, allowing teachers to give an estimate based on Year 11 results.
The Education Minister said he didn't want Year 12 students to miss out on starting university, vocational education or work next year.
"We want Year 12 to go ahead and to get as many Year 12s through in whatever shape or form," Mr Tehan told The Sunday Mail.
"What we do not want to see is this generation suffer a lack of opportunities.
"This generation coming through is the generation that will be fundamental to rebuilding our nation in the years ahead."
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said universities were aware of the potential impact of COVID-19 on school examinations and were developing contingency plans.
"Universities use a range of criteria as part of their admittance processes," she said.
In a statement, the Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admissions Centres (ACTAC), which assesses university admissions, said the ATAR ranking method already provides a reliable comparison of students in their age group, regardless of the different circumstance.
"Any changes to such processes will be accommodated within this existing framework to provide certainty and consistency for both students and tertiary institutions," it said.
Originally published as Students' boost to counter COVID-19 concerns