Submissions and reports

Socio-economic Status and the ATAR: UAC report

01 Feb 2020

Executive summary

Previous research by UAC and others has established that the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) is a very good indicator of first year university success, both in terms of grade point average (GPA) and completion rates. The correlation between a student’s ATAR and their first year GPA was found to be significantly stronger than the correlation with individual Year 12 subjects studied across all fields of study.

Given that UAC works with universities to provide equity programs to widen participation in higher education to applicants with an educational and financial disadvantage, we have now also investigated the relationship between the ATAR and first year success at university with respect to socio-economic status (SES).

Students completing the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 2017 were categorised into quartiles based on the 2016 Census SA1 Index of Education and Occupation (IEO) ranking within Australia, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and their subsequent application, enrolment and first-year results for courses offered via UAC in 2018 were analysed, as the most recent complete data available.

Download the full report [PDF]