Principals Blog: A deeper look at the data – the story of a regional standout
Date: February 17, 2020 Posted by: Alana Ripepi
We were delighted to see the TAS class of ’19, the last group to ever receive an OP, placed #24 on the list of 368 Queensland secondary schools with graduating cohorts. This list is based on the percentage of students receiving an OP1-5. This is a wonderful effort by our students, staff and families and a reflection of the high academic standards of TAS, year in, year out.
Schools in Queensland tend to be either focused on a specific pathway (OP, VET, special program known as QCIA) or more commonly, they provide a mix of pathways. This is where the ranking of schools by the media can be very misleading. I noticed in the media reporting that much has been made of Benowa State High School finishing top-ranked of Queensland schools with almost 73% receiving an OP1-5. On the face of it, an outstanding result. What is misleading in this particular case is that only 11 of their 175 students sat for an OP, that’s 6.3% of their Year 12 cohort. If only 6.3% of students sit for the OP at any school, one would expect a very high percentage to do well (after all, they would be considered the “academic” students). This has been one of the major issues regarding the media “league tables” and not comparing apples with apples.
There are around 20 schools in Queensland who are considered to be “academically focused”; that is, schools where >90% of their cohort achieve an OP. Some of these schools are academically selective (you need to sit an exam to gain entrance) and some are open enrolment (such as TAS). When we start to dig deeper into the data, we can gain a better understanding of the achievement of a cohort. Schools such as Brisbane Grammar and Brisbane Girls Grammar, with 100% OP participation and >50% OP1-5 percentages, have achieved truly outstanding results.
Nine of the top 25 ranked Queensland schools in 2019 are considered academically focused (OP participation >90%). These are shown highlighted green in the table below. TAS, whilst ranked 24th overall, is ranked 8th in Queensland amongst these schools.
There are two major take-aways from the table.
The first is the high caliber of schools in this group of 9:
- Brisbane Girls Grammar School
- Brisbane Grammar School
- Cannon Hill Anglican College,
- Ormiston College
- Somerville House
- Matthew Flinders Anglican College
- St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace
- Trinity Anglican School
- All Hallows’ School.
These are some of the most highly regarded, prestigious schools in Queensland.
The second takeaway, the one that is often overlooked, and that gives me the greatest sense of pride as a regional Queenslander:
- Eight of the Nine schools reside in the southeastern corner of Queensland. One of them doesn’t.
I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.