Positive student outcomes despite disruptions to learning


The past two years have been challenging for our students who have had to adapt to new ways of learning. While there have been expectations this would negatively impact student outcomes, we've seen many students persevere to excel despite disruptions to their education as highlighted by recent ATAR, NAPLAN and International Baccalaureate results.

Improved performance on a global scale

The number of students across the country achieving a perfect score in the International Baccalaureate (IB), a pre-university program completed by students around the world, more than doubled last year. Australian students recorded one of their best performances in 2021 with 90 students receiving a score of 45, the equivalent of an ATAR of 99.95 and the highest possible under the IB system.

In Victoria, NSW and the ACT where students were in an extended lockdown in the lead up to the exam, many students were able to leverage the lack of distractions to their advantage. MLC School in Sydney set the NSW state record with 10 students achieving a score of 45, while 8 students at Melbourne’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College also received a perfect score.

Students from Australia also outperformed the rest of the world with an average IB score of 36.84 and a pass rate of 97.52%. This is significantly higher than the global average of 32.67 and pass rate of 87.02%.

Higher than expected ATAR results

Students from local government areas (LGAs) of concern during the COVID-19 Delta wave in Sydney recorded higher ATAR results than expected. Compared to other parts of Sydney, these students faced stricter lockdown restrictions like a curfew and an hour per day limit on leaving their homes during most of Term 3 in the lead up to their HSC exams.

The results showed students used their time well during lockdown, with Chifley College Senior Campus in Mount Druitt achieving one of their best HSC results in two decades tripling the number of Band 5 and 6 results. Prairiewood High School, another school in a LGA of concern, jumped from a ranking of 183rd in 2020 to 81st in the state and achieved a record number of 10 students that received an ATAR over 99.

Keeping up with literacy and numeracy skills

The latest NAPLAN data showed no statistically significant fall in literacy and numeracy skills during the pandemic. It was the first NAPLAN test since students moved to virtual classrooms and the results showed improvements for Year 3 and Year 5 students in reading, grammar, spelling and numeracy.

While the pandemic has changed the way many students engage with their education and learning, the 2021 cohort have proven to be resilient and adaptable to the challenges they’ve faced.

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