High Notes, Vol 21 No 35, November 06 2020

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to our students who were invited by the Australian Maths Trust to attend the summer ‘Informatics School of Excellence’. The invitees are Ryan Ong (11M), Cyril Subramanian (11E), Blair Zong (11E), Brendan Alcorn (10M), Klimenty Tsoutsman (10S) and Andy Xia (10R). The National Mathematics Summer School (NMSS) is the oldest and most prestigious program of its type in Australia. It has been academically sponsored by the Australian National University and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers since being founded by Professor Larry Blakers (AM) in 1969. Congratulations to Nicholas Arvanitellis (11T) and Harry Wu (11R) who have been invited this year.  Well done to Toby Huey (8S) on his sustained community service with Kids Giving Back.

Ms Miller, the CEO, asked for Toby’s service to be acknowledged. Kids Giving back is ‘a charity that provides meaningful, hands on experiences for children and young people to give back to others. Through our charity partners we arrange opportunities for them to provide assistance and support via preparation of meals for the homeless, packing of care packs and creating resources, as well as packing and delivering hampers for people experiencing food scarcity’.

Parents Driving and Parking on School Grounds

Since the school resumed operations in term three, we have tried very hard to accommodate the needs of parents and students in picking up students and dropping them off in our driveways. We have paid for additional staff to assist traffic flows. Too many parents are not co-operating by moving through the site as requested. I am responding to staff complaints about parental behaviour when accessing the grounds to drop off or pick up students. There are limited car spaces and parents who park in them, particularly in the mornings, are denying staff opportunities to get to work. Parents are reminded that it is a privilege granted to them to enter the grounds and that they ought not to abuse it. Please do not park your car when dropping off or picking up your sons. If you are asked to leave by a member of staff because you are occupying a car spot, please do so promptly.  If more compliance is not evident in the next week or so, I shall be forced to deny parents entry onto school grounds and instead, direct them to the area east of the light rail station to do their drop-offs and pick-ups.

Interpreting Year 11 Reports - Semester 2

In Year 11, teachers record individual marks for courses and these are run against an ATAR predictor program. All the raw marks are converted into scaled marks per unit. In the iterative scaling process, students’ marks in one course are compared against all the other students who completed the same course and against their performances in their other courses. The data we use are last year’s HSC results for High. The essential comparative assumption is that boys will perform at the same standard this year as they did last year. Means and standard deviations are derived from our HSC results from the previous year and applied to our results in the current year.

A scaled score out of 50 is calculated for each course on a one-unit basis. Where candidatures are very small – eg visual arts and LOTE- we use historical results in that course in our school to calculate the mean and standard deviation to be applied to this year’s results. We use all 12 Preliminary Units to calculate our ATAR estimate for two reasons. First, we would like students to receive a realistic appraisal of their progress in state terms as well as relative to their peers at High. Second, we want them to know their relative performance in each of their courses, to inform their subsequent choices. Next April, the estimate process will be moderated against the 2019 HSC results and calculated for the best ten units for each student.

At this stage of the year, every Year 11 student faces a choice, some have more choices to make than others. Will I do 12 units, 11, ten or less? For those students who have a guaranteed entrance into Extension 2 mathematics, they can drop two courses immediately (Extension English and a 2-unit course) and still have ten units to present at the HSC. Students who really want to exit a course and have made the rank cut–off for extension 1 mathematics, can keep their Extension English and drop a course. Most accelerants remain doing ten units until their HSC results in the acceleration course are published. Acceleration students have a choice to reduce their load to 8 units if they believe their HSC marks for their chosen course are high enough. Students qualifying and choosing to do four units of English can drop one course. High performing students tend to use acceleration results as insurance and do ten units for the HSC anyway. Others want to be rid of a weak course and explore choosing others – eg picking up one or two-unit studies of religion, or taking an extension unit in history, music or LOTE. Students I speak to when discussing their reports are thoughtful about their strengths and weaknesses and mindful of their preferred tertiary options. Pragmatism often informs their decisions. At this important time, future tertiary intentions are important considerations. Choices are made to maximise enjoyment, ATAR ranks or both. I hope all Year 11 students choose sagely.
Dr K A Jaggar

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