High Notes, Vol 22 No 32, October 22 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to Patrick Chen (10F), Wilson Sun (10S), Justin Vu (10F) and Tony Wang (10M) who were declared the Year 10 NSW winners of the Business Idea-Marketing-Finance-Human Resources – elevator pitch. Their idea: ‘Vuhoo cups’ – folding, reusable, washable cups attached to a key ring. Congratulations, boys!

Returning to School Monday 25 October

We are very pleased to be able to resume full school operations as from next Monday. In preparation, all our ceiling and wall fans have been tested and are working. All windows are operable. Staff will try to have as much ventilation in rooms as possible. Mr Prorellis and Mr Barris have designed and distributed plans for cohort separation throughout the day. They have established recreation areas and protocols for parents to be able to drop off and pick up their sons. Parents and students are advised to keep soft copies of these plans on their cell phones for reference. Arrival to school will be staggered: Years 9 & 10 at 0840, Years 7 & 8 at 0850 and Year 11 at 0900. Years have assigned areas to go to after signing on. The roster for the canteen is Recess 1 and Lunch 1 – Years 8 & 10; Recess 2 and Lunch 2 – Years 7 & 9; Year 11 access in study periods. We urge all students to order their lunches. It is a quick and efficient way to access your order. At the end of each day, Years 10 & 11 will be dismissed at 1505; Years 7 & 8 at 1510; and Year 9 at 1515.

AAGPS Sports Update

The AAGPS Chairman Mr Mark Ticehurst, and Executive Officer Mr Nigel Price, in consultation with the GPS Headmasters’ Standing Committee wish to provide the following update regarding AAGPS sporting programmes in 2021:

‘Considering current COVID-19 NSW Government and Health regulations, and in the best interest of our staff, students, volunteers, the entire AAGPS community and our many families and friends, it is with regret that the GPS Headmasters’ Standing Committee has announced that the AAGPS 2021 Athletics Championships have been cancelled. All other Term 4 summer sport fixtures will remain suspended until further notice. The AAGPS will continue to work within NSW Government and Health guidelines in preparation for the re-commencement of sporting programs and fixtures when it is deemed appropriate to do so. The AAGPS acknowledges that advice and the current situation has and will continue to change rapidly. As the situation evolves, the AAGPS will continue to monitor, and act accordingly throughout the remainder of 2021’. (15 October 2021). [Nb School sport will recommence as from 25.10.21 in cohort-based training sessions.

Mock HSC Examinations

Our Year 12 students have taken full advantage of the mock HSC examinations, held under HSC-style invigilation, with all boys wearing masks. Each day they came in and chose a paper to tackle in the three-hour time set aside for the practice session. Around 100 boys have taken the opportunity to practise under examination conditions each day. We have learnt that over extended periods of time, mask wearing can be irritating and dehydrating. We advise students to carry adequate water supplies with them during the HSC examination period.

Interpreting Year 11 Reports - Semester 2

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 2021 HSC results and re-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. Doing ten or 11 units usually maximises individual ATAR performance.
Dr K A Jaggar

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