Queensland schools ‘inflating Year 12 results’ for top OPs
SOME of Queensland's best performing schools have been accused of taking the "easy path" and inflating their Year 12 results by encouraging only their brightest students to obtain OPs.
Dozens of schools, applauded for receiving top marks in last year's OP results, are in fact not producing as many OP graduates as other schools with similar socio-economic profiles.
Year 12 results are commonly measured on the proportion of OP-eligible students who score in the top one to five bands, but schools can obtain artificially strong results if lower performing students don't apply for an OP.
A new analysis reveals 11 of the top performing state schools actually produced fewer OP graduates than comparable schools with similar socio-economic profiles.
Even some of Queensland's major private schools - Ipswich Grammar School and Brisbane Boys' College - are graduating fewer OP students than schools with comparable demographics, according to the analysis by Federal MP Andrew Laming.
At the Springfield Anglican College, which leapt from 135th place to first in the 2017 OP results after 64 per cent of OP eligible students scored in the top 1-5 band, only 41 per cent of Year 12s were eligible for OPs.
This is in contrast to Brisbane Grammar School, which posted the second best OP results, but had 99 per cent of its Year 12s eligible for OPs.
Springfield Anglican College said it was ultimately the decision of the student to determine what pathway was right for them, and that school counselling strategies supported students in those decisions.
Mr Laming, who chairs the Federal Standing Committee on Education, said he hoped the new Australian Tertiary Admission Rank system, which will replace Overall Position in 2020, would address this loophole.
"Many schools have opted for the easy path that is most highly rewarded and that is convincing their bottom two-thirds of students to raise the white flag on the OP," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said an OP was applicable only to students seeking to go to university.
"It's important to note that while many students aspire to go to university, there are also those who wish to pursue vocational education and training, undertake an apprenticeship or gain employment," she said.
Brisbane Boys' College Headmaster Paul Brown said the school worked in partnership with parents to help students choose the best pathway, and 97 per cent of its Year 12 students applied for and were offered university places last year.
Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said Independent schools placed an emphasis on high academic standards and "this is reflected in the vast majority of their students undertaking an OP pathway."