ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) versus ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credentials) for Year 12 Secondary Students on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair

ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) versus ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credentials) for Year 12 Secondary Students on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair

ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) versus ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credentials) for Year 12 Secondary Students on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair

By Sue Ellson

Topic: ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) versus ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credentials) for Year 12 Secondary Students

Date: 21 May 2024

Media Outlet: 3AW 693AM Melbourne

Broadcaster / Interviewer: Tony Moclair

Producer: Bianca Johnston

Duration: 00:09:05

Time of show: 12:33pm

Audio Recording:

YouTube Video:

ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) versus ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credentials) for Year 12 Secondary Students on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair and Sue Ellson


In a moment Sue Ellson Career Expert. ATARs are being fiddled with that being the year 12 score that uh kids get. There is now a move to issue a Certificate of Learning to some students to prove that they have the soft skills that uh uh that employers are looking for 13 3693. I’m going to ask you this question directly. How important is it to complete year 12? It’s 29 minutes to 1. For a limited time, fly to the Pacific Islands with award-winning Fiji Airways. Stay with five nights accommodation and save up to 30%. Packages start from $1,949 per person twin share. Book now at or call your travel agent today. Conditions apply. Interesting article in The Age by Robyn Grace. The headline, ‘Abilities not exams Victorian students testing a new measure that could replace ATAR.’ ATAR, that’s the what we would have called the VCE / HSC uh National initiative that aims to overtake the traditional definition of Student Success based on exams ranking which it is argued is uh essentially a funnel to get kids to university. But what if you don’t want to go to university? A company named Melbourne Metrics has been working with employers and universities according to the article, uh Admissions Authorities for four years to incorporate learning credentials into transitions from school matching students to appropriate Pathways instead of ranking them with exam results. In your experience, I mean uh anybody who uh who did uh Matriculation uh year 12 would remember the pressure, uh stated or otherwise that the rest of your life hinged on that one year of study. At least they were the stakes that I was told existed when I did it. My completion of year 12, I would argue has had virtually nothing to do with the career that I eventually undertook. Uh I wonder if you’re in the same boat? 13 3693 or if you left school early and uh your life took a course that uh maybe wasn’t planned in a good way or a bad way but does completing year 12 is it the be all and the end all? Do we need an alternative to ATARs VCE to that raw score at the end of your hard year’s labour doing year 12? Is it the be all and end all? Sue Ellson is a Career Expert and joins me now. Good afternoon Sue.

Hi Tony.

So the um the argument is I mean it’s a very left wing Union is obviously behind this it’s the Educational Union.

Mmm hmm.

But um it is saying uh that employers are saying ATAR score doesn’t mean anything to us you can either do the job or you can’t. Is there validity to that?

I would agree with that because what most employers want is somebody who has skills who can come in and provide some sort of value from day one. So it doesn’t mean they have to have 100% capacity.


But they’d like you to be able to do something for them that they’re paying you for uh from that day one and personal skills is a huge component of that particularly with technology now so it’s a case of you can find any facts or data that you need but having those skills to convey that and communicate with others and actually engage on the job, they’re going to be really important as well.

Okay, is there um at work here the assumption that you can’t independently or objectively verify for soft skills under the current system because what you’re talking about is well both soft skills and hard skills.


Like proficiency of technology you should be able to test for and you should have been able to identify in a 15 or 16 year old.

Yes well a lot of those things you don’t actually get to see in action until they’re on the job so yeah some of them are very difficult to assess but I think what you also need to look at is the changing nature of students now. You and I would well remember the intrepidation we felt just with the word exam.

Aww, aww.

You know like that was enough just to make you feel ill. Yep. And anytime you have to fill in a form for the rest of your life you’re still thinking about exams.


Whereas the student of today is microlearning all the time every time they’re on their phone or they watch a video on social media.


They’re getting a dopamine reward that’s all being gamified so if you think about the traditional learning style where you have to go away learn something and reproduce it in written form that’s not going to suit a lot of students and they’re going to be disinterested in doing it and interestingly the actual rate of completion of year 12 is slowly declining as well which suggests that the students are not engaged enough with the current methodology. So not that I’m a a far left wing person.


Supporting the union here. Yeah. But if we think about the changing nature of students then we really have to make the education suitable for the way our life is changing the education process as well.

Well it’s there’s a cultural dimension to this too. Because you you’ve got uh kids from Asian and Indian backgrounds.


Who are very academically focused.


And they they love the or they really go for the academic side of things is there not going to be tension between these two groups if you if you water down ATARs are you necessarily discriminating in favour of one group against another?

Well I think from what this policy suggestion is that you can choose whether you go down the certificate path or whether you go down the ATAR path, so people seeking that academic process you know can definitely still follow that and what I’ve noticed is sometimes, and I work with academics, who get very frustrated by the quality of assessments now. So if we jump from year 12 to secondary ed oh sorry tertiary education, then what you’re going to find is some of those academic assessments are not going to be suitable for all the students so if you bundle in some of the international students who have a very literal understanding of English and who don’t understand cultural nuances and so on.


Some of them would even find it difficult even if it was an academic assessment. So the way I see it anything that looks at our current models and says what could we do to improve outcomes for students and for employers or you know anything that they decide to do in the future, what is the best way we can go forward? And we’re going to have to test that, we’re going to have to trial it and technology is changing at an exponential rate so we’ve got that factor to to put in as well, but you know the actual academic rate of completion for year 12 is is less than 80%.


And you know when we’re told that you know everybody needs to pass and then we find out well hang on a minute you know 20 plus percent are not passing um then there’s an awful lot of people out there particularly from low socioeconomic backgrounds who are not finishing year 12 but they still find a way to do further study.


Because we need continuous learning or they get a job or they do something else with their life. You know it doesn’t end on you know the end of year 12 year that’s for sure.

And I’d love to get calls on that 13 3693 if that’s been your experience. Are we finding ourselves solving a problem of our own making? Should we have not got rid of tech schools?

Oh I so miss the concept of tech skills because schools because the there are some people who visual learning or auditory learning is just not suitable for them.


There’s a lot of them.


They’ve got to do something with their hands, they’ve got to see it in practice, they’ve got to be able to communicate verbally they can’t read even you know and that’s not because they have literacy issues.


They just don’t find it easy to interpret information from written instructions and so yes I I think that was a huge loss particularly seeings we have a shortage of tradespeople. That was considered a very suitable path for a lot of people who didn’t fit the traditional academic mold and then the other thing I think we need to do is take away the stigma from people who start university and then don’t complete it.


So I know a student who did three subjects at one University, hated it there and started all over again at a different University in a different course. Now that’s not a failure that’s an identification that this theory or this logic of education here wasn’t suitable for me but I’ll go somewhere where it is.


Because you know that suited me better.

And where attendance at protests aren’t compulsory, which seems to be the case at some Sue.

Definitely not.

Sue thank you for your time this afternoon. Sue Ellson is a Career Expert I really enjoyed talking to you, thank you Sue.

Thanks Tony.

13 3693 replacing VCE with a Certificate of Learning uh one that says that you have a certain set of skills that can’t necessarily be tested objectively uh as you can say with maths or physics and the rest of it.

Social Share

ATAR versus ALCC // The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) has been used to assess Year 12 students and there is now an ALCC (Australian Learner Competency Credential) Certificate for Year 12 Secondary Students that is being trialled for consideration in the future.

Today on 3AW 693 AM Radio Melbourne with Tony Moclair, I discussed the pros and cons based on an article prepared by Robyn Grace in The Age newspaper 🗞️

✅ adding value to your employer from day one
✅ potential options for choosing an ATAR or ALCC
✅ ensuring assessments are suitable for all students
✅ different learning styles for different students
✅ Year 12 completion rates – less than 80%
✅ the stigma associated with university course changes
✅ the value of technical trade schools of the past

Enjoy the show online at

This link also includes further information you may find helpful.

Thanks to Producer Bianca Johnston for reaching out!

➡️ Are you in favour of focusing on academic achievement or is it time for us to provide a more detailed summary of a Year 12 student’s overall competency?

I would love to continue this discussion and hear your perspectives.

#3awmelbourne #atar #alcc #careers #sueellson #tonymoclair

Further information

Abilities not exams: Victorian students testing a new measure that could replace ATAR by Robyn Grace

Year 12 certification rates from Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Senior Secondary Completion and Achievement Information (SSCAI) provides data on school programs, student cohorts and student achievements of schools delivering the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) the VCE Vocational Major (VM) and the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC)

Podcast Recording of the Show – starts at 00:18:51- 00:27:54

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