Is the ATAR a Useful Predictor of Success in ICT? An Empirical Study
Herbert, N and Herbert, D, Is the ATAR a Useful Predictor of Success in ICT? An Empirical Study, Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Computing Education Conference, 30 January - 2 February 2018, Brisbane, Queensland, pp. 35-44. ISBN 978-1-4503-6340-2 (2018) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Copyright 2018 held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to Association for Computing Machinery.
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a measure of a student's overall pre-tertiary academic achievement. For most tertiary degree programs across Australia, the selection of year 12 domestic applicants is based on an ATAR, on the premise that selection based on a student's overall academic achievement prior to university is a predictor of success for tertiary study. This paper is an empirical analysis into whether the ATAR and prior study in programming or mathematics can be used to predict student success in an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) degree. Our study has four key findings: the ATAR is not a significant indicator that a student will graduate on schedule from our ICT degree; the ATAR can be used as significant indicator that a student will successfully complete the first year of our ICT degree; the ATAR can be used as a significant indicator that a student will successfully complete our first-year introductory programming course; and finally, prior learning of ICT-related material is not a significant indicator of whether a student will pass or fail our introductory programming course on their first attempt.