What is the ATAR?
The ATAR is a rank, not a mark.
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to all the students who started high school with them in Year 7. So, an ATAR of 80.00 means that you are 20 per cent from the top of your Year 7 group (not your Year 12 group).
The average ATAR is usually around 70.00.
If everyone from Year 7 went on to achieve an ATAR, the average ATAR would be 50.00. But because some students leave early and the ones who stay on to receive an ATAR are a smaller, more academically able group, the average ATAR is higher.
ATARs are calculated in each state to reflect a student’s rank against other students in their state. In NSW, the ATAR is calculated and released by UAC. In the ACT, it’s calculated by the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies and is released by schools.
NSW ATARs are equivalent to those in other states. For example, an ATAR of 85.00 in NSW is equivalent to an ATAR of 85.00 in other states.
Why do we use the ATAR?
Tertiary institutions in Australia have found that a selection rank based on a student's overall academic achievement is the best single predictor of success for most tertiary courses.
The ATAR provides a measure of a student's overall academic achievement in relation to that of other students. It is calculated solely for use by institutions, either on its own or with other selection criteria, to rank and select school leavers for their courses.