Low-grade students invited to teach: secret report

September 18, 2018

A secret report has found that students who leave high school with the lowest scores — some close to zero — are being offered places in teaching degrees at universities. 

The explosive figures, contained in a confidential report obtained by the ABC that university bosses ordered to be suppressed, have vindicated claims by Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi that despite more than 23 billion dollars being poured into the education system, outcomes are not improving.

It shows some prospective teaching students had an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) that was often as low as zero to 19 — far below the Federal Government's official data.

These figures, which have never been publicly reported by universities, show that in NSW and the ACT in 2015, students who scored in the bottom 50 per cent of school leavers made up half of all those offered places in teaching degrees.

There were 28 offers made to students scoring an ATAR of 0-19, 29 offers to those scoring 20-29, and 73 offers to students with an ATAR of 30-39.

ATAR is used in all states except Queensland.

The report's author, retired professor John Mack, has taken the extraordinary decision to release the figures to the ABC after the University of Sydney demanded the report be destroyed.

"It was clearly not in the interest of the universities to make this data available," Professor Mack said.

"What it shows is that overall the general quality of applicants has gone down..

Senator Bernardi told then Education Minister Simon Birmingham on ABC Radio Adelaide that the education system is falling apart.

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