High Notes, Vol 22 No 18, June 18 2021

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From the Principal

High Talent

Congratulations to our talented Combined GPS representatives in volleyball to play CAS and to their coaches. Well done to Zachary Liu (12S), Edward Ly (10M), Alec Ng (12F), Billy Nguyen (12M), David Zhou (12T) and Blair Zong (12E). Well done to our first grade basketball team who were runners-up to Hunter Sports High School in the CHS Schools Basketball Competition. Congratulations also, to our first grade tennis team of Stepan Sytnyk (11E), Jo Kawahashi (11E), Angus Khuu (9T) and Isaac Wang (8E). Endeavour Sports High were too strong for them in the final of the Stan Jones Cup. 

Interpreting Year 11 Reports- Semester One

All Year 11 students should have their reports. Parents should be aware that the information, upon which the first semester report marks are based, might be a measure of just one or two skill sets or a limited number of completed topics and thus a proportionately fewer number of marks. These are extrapolated to produce a mark out of 100 or 50 per unit. Individual marks for courses supplied by teachers are recorded and 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. We shape current data, in terms of means and standard deviations, against the previous year’s actual HSC data. The essential comparative assumption is that students, as a cohort, will perform at or around the same standard this year, as they did last year.

Of course, individual courses have better or worse results on any given year, but overall, the predictor yields ATAR ‘guesses’ that are reliable to the +/- 1 level. A scaled score out of 50 is calculated for each course on a one-unit basis. Any student missing a task or studying a course outside the school is given the average per unit of their other courses, instead of missing the values altogether. We use all 12 Preliminary Units to calculate our ATAR estimate (rather than 10 as in the HSC calculations), 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, in terms of scaled marks contributing to their TES score for ATAR calculation.

Students can use this data later in the year to make decisions about which courses to add, continue or terminate for their HSC year. Their choices are restricted, given that 12 Preliminary units can only be reduced to ten for the HSC, nine if an extension course is added (as in music extension) after successful acceleration, or eight if an accelerant performed well in two HSC units in a course in Year 11. Big fluctuations in rank order can occur in the transition from stage 5 to stage 6 work. High-scoring stage 5 electives might be replaced by more difficult stage 6 courses. Students good at mathematics and science have one extra mathematics unit and up to four extra science units added into their calculated ATAR as compared to their Year 10 report calculation. By contrast, those weak in English have to count one extra unit of English in their calculated score. Students may find the intellectual challenge and workload of stage 6 a bit of a shock in their first semester of learning. In short, the reasons for big fluctuations in rank order are many and varied. The point of the exercise is to determine strengths and weaknesses in various courses and to gauge how strong student interest in them is, as evidenced by their commitment to try to master them.

Joint SGHS and SBHS forum on Mental Health

On Tuesday in Campbell Hall, the Black Dog Institute presented a case study as a basis for an identification and management plan for teen mental health. It was a practical parenting guide around what signs to look for in young people - depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder.  The presenter gave a candid, and at times, emotional recount of her family’s experiences with their own son who suffered from serious and debilitating anxiety and depression disorder. She set out a series of concise and useful strategies to manage teenage mental health issues. Working with health professionals for parental support was also important for her success in bringing her son through two decades of illness. Further information about the Black Dog Institute and its work is available on its website at: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au.
Dr K A Jaggar

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