To rank or not to rank….

All students studying the HSC know that it is not the assessment mark (in school) that is most important, it is your rank within the cohort of students. Now there is a lot of misunderstanding about how this actually works – for details see http://www.uac.edu.au/documents/atar/2012-ScalingReport.pdf. So I totally understand students in Years 11 & 12 being preoccupied with this! But when is it to early to start giving students their ranking – thus encouraging competition?

It doesn’t feel like an environment that is conducive to learning is being created when students are only concerned about the formal assessment tasks (as listed in the schedule) and their rank based on these tasks. All other learning and assessment activities “don’t really count”. And this is the opinion from Year 7 onwards.  The parents and teachers expect it.

Is this a hill to die on? Should it be changed? Or the status quo (in which students achieve outstanding results in the HSC) maintained?

What do you do at your school  – is a ranking important? and from what age?

Author: simonborgert

An educator wanting to experiment with Web 2.0 Tools

1 thought on “To rank or not to rank….”

  1. Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black conducted much researsch into effective feedback where they looked at the effect of student achievement when given marks, marks and feedback and feedback only. The only group that showed significant improvement (30%) was the one where students were given feedback only (there was little to no improvement in the students in the other two groups at all abilty levels). The study showed that when a mark and feedback is given the students focus on the mark only and ignore the feedback.
    The introduction of the new curriculum next tear is providing opportunities to think differently. In a time where we are focussing on Assessment AS and FOR learning which are all about feedback, the removal of the focus on a rank and the change in thinking from “how can i improve my rank” to “how can I improve my learning” will be far more effective if students aren’t provided with a rank but with feedback to move their learning forward. I think removing the rank in year 7 would be a good start…..by the time they reach stage 6 we would hope the focus on learning would make the focus on rank obselete

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