The Australian | 12 December 2012
Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks were the determining factor in less than 34% of undergraduate admissions this year, according to HES estimates based on innovation department statistics. At least 66% of admissions — mature-age students who applied through tertiary admission centres, school-leavers who were made direct offers and international students — were determined only partially, if at all, on ATARs.
The extent to which ATARs determined school-leavers’ admissions is not clear either, as individual ATARs are inflated by an expanding range of bonus point schemes, principals’ recommendations, community service, foreign language skills, auditions and other arrangements.
These bonus points are not factored into the department’s analysis because TACs report raw ATAR scores.
This year’s analysis found that under the new demand-driven higher education system, which allows universities to enrol any applicant they consider capable, places have been offered to applicants with progressively lower ATARs.
However, the decline has been modest: 28% of offers went to applicants with ATARs below 70, compared with 24% in 2009. But in reality the department has little idea of most commencing students’ ATARs.