Waving goodbye to the OP system
FOR the first time ever, schools across the South Burnett are gearing up to have their 2020 Year 12 classes graduate with an ATAR score.
The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) has replaced the Overall Position (OP) as the standard pathway to tertiary study for Queensland Year 12s.
The ATAR is the primary mechanism used across the country.
Their senior year for 2020 has already begun preparation for their ATAR scores.
Olivia Almond and Emma Hilsley are high-achieving Year 12 students at Kingaroy State High and are both expected to be up there with the school's highest ATAR scores.
Both girls agreed they were nervous about the new system.
"It is absolutely nerve-racking," Olivia said.
"We've all been very nervous and very busy trying to prepare. We're just doing the best we can."
The teachers at Kingaroy have been working hard to get the students ready for the new system.
"It's brand new for all of our teachers as well," Olivia said.
"They're pretty well-prepared and we've all known about this for a while now.
"They're trying the best they can, which is what matters."
Transitioning from the OP system to the ATAR system has proven no small feat.
"We started last year to prepare," Emma said.
"But I honestly think we could have started a bit earlier and done more.
"It's a really big change and everything we've done at school so far has been for the OP system."
The biggest difference for the girls is the introduction of external assessment.
"We all sit the same tests for the same subjects at the same time," Olivia said.
"But it's scary because our teachers don't even know what is going to be on the exams.
"Plus the maths and science ones are worth 50 per cent of our final ATAR score."
The girls said to cope with the adjustment they were trying not to stress.
"There's no point stressing over something you can't control," Emma said.
"I think it's important not to be heartbroken if you don't end up with the score you need or want at the end of the year.
"Because there are other options.
"You can't be too hard on yourself and I think it's important to remember we've really been thrown in the deep end here as the first class to go through the ATAR system.
"Of course that change and adjustment is going to affect our scores."