International Baccalaureate To ATAR Conversion - Is It Fair?
Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Rosemary Neill's article in The Weekend Australian (Feb 23-24, 2019), "Failing a Test Of Fairness", raises some interesting questions about the potential unfairness in the way International Baccalaureate scores are converted to ATAR.
At the heart of the article is the suggestion that I.B. students benefit from the simple fact that there is no scaling applied when their IB score is converted to an ATAR.
Put simply, the ATAR system is constructed in such a way that a maximum of 0.05% of students can obtain a top score of 99.95. The I.B. grading allows students to achieve a maximum of 45 points, but there is no limit to the number of students who can obtain this score - there is no scaling. An I.B. score of 45 is mapped by UAC to an ATAR of 99.95.
What has this meant in real terms? For example, the article cites that Sydney private school Trinity Grammar announced that nine of its 2018 IB Diploma students had achieved perfect scores of 45, which translate to 99.95 ATARs. Yet the "was ranked 111th on the 2018 HSC league table, had achieved more perfect ATARs than the state’s three top-performing selective schools, both public and private. Trinity’s nine perfect ATAR equivalents beat the seven achieved by James Ruse Agricultural High, which teaches only the HSC and has topped HSC league tables for the past 23 years."
There are currently 22 IB schools and colleges in Queensland. You can find a full list here.
You can read the full Weekend Australian article here. A subscription may be required.