The Australian 24 April 2012
Australian Financial Review 23 April 2012
Analysis by ACER of university admission data (you have to subscribe to access this report) has created excitement that standards are slipping. The report says that Australian Tertiary Admission Rank entry scores on average are declining. “The main issue relating to ATAR points is identifying the extent to which a decline in scores is likely to compromise quality,” the report says.
It reveals that 96% of university applicants in NSW and the ACT were offered a place to study this year. That was followed by Western Australia at 87.8%,Victoria at 84%, and South Australia and the Northern Territory at 78.4%. The national average for being offered a place increased from 83.7% in 2009 to 88.4% this year.
Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans told the Australian Financial Review that entry standards are a matter for universities. “Universities have taken the decision to lower their required ATARs in the full knowledge of the candidates that they will be accepting. These are decisions for universities, not decisions forced on them by government.”
I think universities are doing a good job at opening up to new students and I don’t accept in any way that one can’t increase access to low socio—economic or rural and regional students without maintaining quality.
Simon Marginson (University of Melbourne) says that if the government continues to drive such an influx of students, unless more money is provided for teaching and learning, quality will suffer “as surely as night follows day”.