New ACTAC Granular Scoring - Student Perspectives at Australian International Academy

January 31, 2023

Last year, The Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admissions Centres (ACTAC) agreed on and passed to the IB for communication to all Australian IB schools, a new table to convert 2022 IB results for 2023 tertiary admissions in all states.

Victoria calculates an annual contribution to the Notional ATAR conversion, using the agreed Combined IB Conversion Process. To ensure the accuracy of this contribution, all Victorian IB students are required to sit the General Achievement Test (GAT).

The AIA cohort of 2022 was the first group to try the finer grained system to assist in a more accurate conversion to notional ATAR. The new conversion did not change the principles behind the process; the additional fine-grained data simply makes it possible for additional “steps” to be introduced between the existing conversion levels.

Below are some student perspectives on the new conversion table.

I preferred the new conversion method over the older one. It was fairer & accounted for the individual differences between the students’ results – in my opinion, someone who achieved a 43 with high 6s and 7s across all of their subjects should be given a slight advantage over the one who achieved low 6s and 7s overall. I think this conversion process should be implemented for future cohorts as well to ensure an accurate reflection of their scores.
-Dania E.
I personally believe the new system of grading in IB is unnecessary. Whilst I understand that the VCAA may appreciate further differentiation between students with the same IB score, the difference that the new system highlights is minimal and negligible. Differences of 0.1 ATAR have effectively zero effect on University admissions especially considering the fact that SEAS exist. Furthermore, the new system makes it harder for IB students to work towards a certain goal due to the serendipity of what constitutes a High 7 or Low 7. Previously, students would look at the grade boundary and set their goals comfortably above it; with the new system, this is essentially shut off which prevents IB students from being able to materialise a reasonable goal rather than just going as hard as they can in each subject. Among cohorts, having a lot of equal scores feels nicer and is better for the group than to have more division among students. Why must there be further division between students instead of simply acknowledging that a certain group of students are at the same nominal level and rank and that they all did well. Further division can lead to slight bitterness between students with trivial differences in ATAR.

-Ali W.
Personally, I think the new system is quite good (though it really doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of course selection). I like how essentially everyone gets either a .5 or .75 so more students benefit than not. However, it also does have its flaws. Students should not have to wait the additional day or 2 in order to know their actual score and it should come out at the same time as the main IB score. But other than that, I think everyone is over exaggerated  the impact of the new system and in reality, it doesn’t really make a difference (Only thing is I think all IB45 should be a 99.95. I don’t like how there is still a possibility of someone getting a 45 and getting 99.85). 
-David A.
Initially I thought that it was a good system of calculating ATARs as students could more finely be ranked rather than having simple 1:1 conversions of IB to ATAR. This can be seen in the final results of schools with students being differentiated by 0.1 ATAR points between each other; rather than there being larger 0.5 or 1.0 ATAR point differences between IB students. This granular system is more true to the ranking system of ATAR. However, the new system also means that there is more risk with remarking subjects. Personally, I am worried that if I remark my Chemistry papers, my overall mark can decrease, which wouldn't bring me down to a 5/7, but it would mean I would be at a mid-6, rather than high-6. This can change my IB score from a 42.75 to a 42.5 or even a 42.25.
-Hamzah D.

*IBSA would love to hear school perspectives on how the new scoring was received. We welcome your comments and feedback. Please send through to : [email protected]