I was fascinated to read that the State ALP government has decided not to release the annual report detailing the senior Year 12 results of every high school in Queensland. There are legitimate reasons for and against this decision, as there is a fine line between “public shaming” and “accountability”. It is, however, important that when schools make certain claims, that this can be backed up by publically available evidence, so that parents can make informed decisions regarding schooling.
Whilst the government has decided not to publish data that allows parents to interrogate the Year 12 outcome data of the schools they may be considering, each year we analyse our results at all levels and use the data to guide our drive for continuous improvement. We also choose to make this summary of our outcomes data available to our community.
As many of you know, I am passionate about quality regional independent education and providing educational options for regional Queensland families, having spent a large portion of my teaching career in independent schools outside of cities. In Australia, parents are given the choice of the type of schooling they wish for their children. In and around cities, such as the southeast corner of Queensland, this provides a plethora of different school options, Government, Catholic, and Independent, of differing standards and expectations, and associated costs. However, outside the southeast corner, this is not always the case.
Therefore it is affirming when a small, regional, high-performing school (such as TAS) is able to be compared favorably against their large, expensive city school cousins. In an announcement from the Minister of Education, The Honourable Grace Grace, on Thursday 22nd April, the 37 top-performing students academically in Queensland for 2020 were announced. Remarkably, two of those to receive the Distinguished Academic Achievers award were Trinity Anglican School graduates, Lexi and Victor.
Let me put their achievement into context using some numbers.
There are around 530 secondary schools in Queensland.
Of these 530 schools, 21 of them had one or more of the 37 awardees. This is 4% of schools in Queensland
5 of the awardees were at schools located outside the southeast bubble (Greater Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast) in regional Queensland
Almost 49% of awardees attended an Independent school, 35% attended a Government school and 16% attended a Catholic school. This compares to the overall Queensland school population proportions by sector of 15.2% (Independent) 17.9% (Catholic) and 66.9% (Government).
Far North Queensland (with 2 awardees) was the highest achieving Queensland region, followed by North Queensland (1), Capricornia (1) and the Darling Downs (1).
Of the 21 schools with students who received a Distinguished Academic Achievers only 6 of those schools achieved more than 1 award. 5 of those 6 schools are located in the southeast corner of Queensland.
These 37 award winners constitute 0.08% of the ~45,000 students who achieved a QCE in 2020.
This is a truly outstanding achievement by Lexi and Victor. With the 2020 TAS cohort also earning a remarkable 10 Certificate of Academic Commendation awards from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority and ~15% achieving an ATAR of 99.00 or greater, we were advised recently that Year 12 graduate Thaine has achieved the highest mark in English (100%) in the state. Again, a remarkable achievement.
The results of the commitment and perseverance through 2020 by all involved is clear to see. It is characteristic of all our students who, through the support and encouragement of their peers and families, and the guidance and expertise of a truly outstanding team of teaching and non-teaching staff, year after year grow and enhance our strong culture of learning. Our students continue to step up and perform to their best, at all levels and show that a high-quality regional independent school can take on the large, established, expensive schools down south and show them how it is done.
P.S. As part of our annual review of academic outcomes, we have analysed subject outcomes for our 2020 Year 12 graduates against state data. The whole Year 12 cohort has done a terrific job.
In ALL subjects:
The state average for the number of A grades awarded to all Queensland students is 23.4%, whilst it is 32.9% for TAS students.
The state average for the number of A and B combined grades awarded to all Queensland students is 61.2%, whilst it is 74.9% for TAS students
Remarkable fact: 3/4 of all subject grades by all TAS students was an A or a B
In STEM subjects only:
47.1% of all grades earned by all TAS Year 12 students were A grades (compared to all state of 23.9%).
84.3% of all grades earned by all TAS Year 12 students were either A or B grades (compared to all state of 62.9%).
Remarkable fact: Almost half of all TAS student grades in STEM subjects were A grades.
Another remarkable fact: We have worked hard to provide a STEM pathway independent of gender. The distribution of A grades amongst students in STEM subjects was 48% male and 52% female (enrolment in STEM subjects was 49% male and 51% female).
As STEM subjects become more and more important elements of a 21st Century education, our outstanding student achievements place our graduates in a wonderful position for success as they finish school and move into the next phase of their lives.
At TAS we continue to refine and improve what we do as data becomes available in a continuous cycle of improvement. Results may vary from year to year, but we are confident (and the data would appear to back it up) that choosing an education for your child at TAS is a very sound decision.