Understanding the ATAR system
Did you know that the senior education system in Queensland is changing in 2019? If your student is in Year 10 or younger, they will complete their school based education under a new system. Features of the new system include a reduced assessment load, an ATAR score and external exams at the end of Year 12.
Understanding the ATAR score (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) in the new QCE system:
- An ATAR is only needed if you plan to attend university from 2021 onwards.
- Students pursuing apprenticeships, TAFE studies or direct entry to university using their VET qualifications don’t require an ATAR.
- To qualify for an ATAR score, students must successfully complete Units 3 & 4 of any English subject (successful completion means obtaining a letter grade of C or higher.)
- Possible ATAR subject combinations for Year 12 students:
- 5 or 6 general subjects
- 4 general subjects + 1 or 2 applied subjects
- 4 general subjects + 1 or 2 certificate qualifications
- 4 general subjects + 1 applied + 1 certificate
- QTAC advises that the highest ATARs will be obtained by studying 5 general subjects.
- Only Unit 3 & 4 results for General and Applied subjects contribute to the ATAR score.
- Students can complete results for ATAR over a 5 year period. (This is to accommodate extenuating circumstances for students who experience significant disruption to their schooling. Rules apply.)
How the ATAR is calculated:
- QTAC will only be given each student’s overall exit result for each subject from QCAA.
- The ATAR is a 2000 point scale from 99.95 to .05 reported in steps of .05
- Approximately 33 students will receive each possible score (based on current QLD Year 12 cohort sizes)
- Students who achieve an ATAR of 30 or less will only receive an ATAR statement that says “your ATAR is 30 or less”
- Subjects will be scaled in accordance with the achievement patterns of the students in each cohort (therefore, variable year to year and not known in advance)
- Historically STEM subjects are expected to scale higher because the most academically able students are choosing these subjects because they are prerequisites for competitive university courses.
For more details, please go to the QTAC website: