August 22, 2019, 12:21:18 am

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#### cats for the cup 2019

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##### ATAR should be abolished
« on: July 22, 2019, 10:20:27 am »
0
My oral presentation topic
Contention is 'Focus on getting a good ATAR is causing too much pressure and stress. Thus, it should be abolished and replaced with a more diverse, flexible education system that caters for every student's needs.
Points I have so far:
- causing too much pressure/homework/mental health effects
- schools are forcing kids to work hard/choose subjects in order to get a better ranking - also stopping students from doing exams or forcing them to do VCAL to get better reputation
- students choosing subjects for scaling rather than future aspirations
- doesn't consider social-economic backgrounds
- opposing argument could be that you need an atar to get into uni - studies have proved otherwise. Will research further into the details
- not effective...doesn't account for attitude, work ethic etc. Could work really hard and not receive a high score..simply not academically minded.

Thanks

#### laura_

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##### Re: ATAR should be abolished
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2019, 11:35:09 am »
+2
Really like your idea for a speech! I guess the biggest thing would be working on strengthening your model (the diverse and flexible system that you would replace an ATAR with), and not just arguing the harms of an ATAR but also why your system would be better and how it would be better.

Best of luck!
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#### cats for the cup 2019

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##### Re: ATAR should be abolished
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2019, 12:30:21 pm »
+1
ok thanks laura_
i'll keep that in mind...what kind of a model do you think would work?
another option i could do would be to go for an 'opt in' option rather than a 'opt out' for the ATAR...except that would mean i change contention.

#### AlphaZero

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##### Re: ATAR should be abolished
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2019, 03:52:48 pm »
+6
I've seen this topic done many times, and a lot of speeches fundamentally have similar issues.

To abolish a system requires one to suggest a new one. You could provide all the arguments in the world to suggest that the ATAR is bad, but your speech will be of no practical relevance since we cannot abolish the ATAR unless we have a new system in place. This is fundamentally why I'm personally against abolishing the ATAR. I'm yet to be convinced of a better, practical system that should replace it. I'm sure there is probably a system somewhere that has produced better results in the points you have mentioned, but it then becomes your job to convey it.

I'll respond to each of your points individually to give you some things to think about from the opposing view. Feel free to debate these (it will be a great exercise for you to challenge my thoughts and will make you think about your arguments critically).

- causing too much pressure/homework/mental health effects

Is this the fault of the ATAR system or the fact that competition in this world exists? Even if the ATAR was abolished, there would still be competition for places in university degrees, and if almost all universities rank applicants by academic achievement, wouldn't pressure and stress still exist? To abolish the ATAR, you would need to demonstrate that the ATAR specifically is the cause, not the fact that there exists competition. I don't believe placing stress on students is unique to the ATAR system.

- schools are forcing kids to work hard/choose subjects in order to get a better ranking - also stopping students from doing exams or forcing them to do

How does the ATAR system cause schools to "force" kids to work hard? Again, even without the ATAR system, I believe schools would still encourage their students to work hard so that they could have the best shot in university or otherwise.

What do you mean by "schools force students to choose subjects for a better ranking"?

I've never seen a school be that malicious and prevent a student from taking exams simply because they want a higher rank. Also, even if this was occurring, how is this the fault of the ATAR system? Government organisations and others have been ranking schools by their overall performance for centuries. This is so parents can make decisions about what school to send their kids to and is almost completely irrelevant to the ATAR system.

- students choosing subjects for scaling rather than future aspirations

This is a direct result of simply not understanding how the system works, not a fault of the system itself. Statistically speaking, students have no gain by picking subjects that scale highly and in fact can be detrimental to their results:  http://vtac.edu.au/results-offers/atar-explained/scaling.html

- doesn't consider social-economic backgrounds

The ATAR system has SEAS. To say that it doesn't consider different SE backgrounds is a bit misleading. While I agree that access to education isn't fair in the slightest in Victoria, I don't see how this is an argument for abolishing the ATAR since its quite well known that those from disadvantaged backgrounds, in general, don't perform as well as those you aren't. This isn't a problem with the ATAR, it's a problem with education itself.

- opposing argument could be that you need an atar to get into uni - studies have proved otherwise. Will research further into the details

Most university courses have more applicants than there are available positions. Therefore, there needs to be a method by which students are selected. It doesn't need to be the ATAR. In fact, I don't think most opponents to your contention argue that the selection need be by the ATAR at all. I believe the ATAR is a convenient and fair way to measure overall academic performance and if universities choose to use this as their primary means to sort applicants, then so be it. Do I think it's absolutely required? No!

Just be careful not to 'strawman' opponents here.

- not effective...doesn't account for attitude, work ethic etc. Could work really hard and not receive a high score..simply not academically minded.

The ATAR is a measure of overall academic achievement. I'm not sure it's fair to say that the ATAR is not effective because it doesn't account for something it wasn't designed to account for. Otherwise, if you believe that we should abolish the ATAR for a system that does account for attitude, then you need to elaborate on how that would be more beneficial than the current system we have. Even so, someone could have the best attitude for becoming a surgeon but wouldn't make a great one without the high level of intellect and technical capability.

The ATAR doesn't attempt measure work ethic. If you think we should have a system where it does, <insert further discussion here>.

The fact that people have varying academic capability has nothing to do with the ATAR system. Person A can work very hard to receive a 52 ATAR, and Person B can work very hard to receive a 92 ATAR because Person B is more academically minded than Person A. How is this a problem?
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#### laura_

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##### Re: ATAR should be abolished
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2019, 05:23:29 pm »
0
ok thanks laura_
i'll keep that in mind...what kind of a model do you think would work?
another option i could do would be to go for an 'opt in' option rather than a 'opt out' for the ATAR...except that would mean i change contention.

You could suggest a system that does not involve ranking people against the rest of their cohort (where ATARs are determined relative to others) to a system where how the rest of your cohort has no bearing on your ATAR. However, this kind of system may still have the same issues as an ATAR and perhaps others.

You could also research systems that are used in other countries and propose one of those. This will strengthen your argument as you have proof that it works elsewhere. (Try and find a place where students are less stressed (statistically), that considers socioeconomic backgrounds and other things that you can use to strengthen individual arguments.)
give like the sun and the whole world grows tall - atticus

https://www.surveylegend.com/s/1nik