Law schools cry foul over media's ATAR claims | Law

Law schools cry foul over media's ATAR claims

Dean of UNSW Law, Professor David Dixon, has spoken to Lawyers Weekly (29 January 2016) regarding reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that low-ATAR students are being admitted in high proportions to competitive degrees such as law.

Professor Dixon said the “shock, horror story” was flawed.

“In their enthusiasm for a story, they haven’t worked out the difference between raw ATAR and entry level,” he said.

Professor Dixon said the ‘raw’ ATAR, reported by SMH, is not the determining factor for whether students are accepted into law.

The entry level score, which is the ATAR including additional points granted by the university, is a better indicator, he explained.

These additional points are granted under schemes that take into account Aboriginality, socio-economic disadvantage and strong performance in extra-curricular activities.

Professor Dixon said the ATAR cut-off for law is high precisely because UNSW does not set quotas limiting the number of students accepted under these schemes.

He said that relying solely on ATAR scores in admission processes “would reproduce the structural disadvantages in our schools”.

Professor Dixon pointed out that the median raw ATAR of students admitted to combined law at UNSW was 98.28, only 1.42 below the cut-off.

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