Media Releases

ATAR not the only criteria for teaching

19 Sep 2018

REPORTS focusing on universities admitting students with low ATARs to teaching degrees do not show the whole picture.

Data from the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) reveals that in 2018 less than one-quarter of initial teacher education students were selected based on their ATAR alone.

The other three-quarters were selected based partly or wholly on criteria that showed their potential for success at tertiary study, such as the results of a pathway program. Hardship factors, including being financially disadvantaged, experiencing severe family disruption or having a medical condition, could also have played a part in the selection process.

It’s also important to remember that recent changes to entry requirements for initial teacher education courses have made the selection process more rigorous. Since 2016, NSW universities offering initial teacher education courses require commencing students to achieve three Band 5 HSC results, including one in English; pass a bridging course benchmarked to a Band 5 HSC result; pass the first year of an undergraduate degree in their intended teaching subjects; or seek an alternative entry.

Additionally, teaching students now have to meet non-academic criteria to ensure they have the right mix of qualities to enable them to become an effective teacher.

Kim Paino, UAC’s General Manager of Marketing and Engagement, says, ‘We need to remember that what is most important is the quality of the graduate the universities produce, not so much the student that goes into the course to start with. It’s really then up to universities to think about how they can best support students with lower ATARs on their university journey.’ 

In the video below, Kim provides some more context around this debate.


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For further information (media only) email media@uac.edu.au or contact:    
Raquel Tracy
, Communications Officer, UAC on (02) 9752 0775    
Kim Paino, General Manager, Marketing and Engagement, UAC on (02) 9752 0760 or 0409 155 112.