During Years 11 and 12, there’s one subject you can’t skip if you want to be eligible for an ATAR. English. However, if your English grade is not one of your five highest, it’s not mandatory for your grade to be included in the calculation of your ATAR score. So, with this in mind, does it actually count? Of course it does! So, which English subject should you choose in year 11 and 12? What about English scaling – should you take English Extension 2 to make it worthwhile for your ATAR score? We’ve done the hard work for you and come up with a few simple answers to help you navigate the often confusing world of ATAR.
How do I choose which Senior English to take?
English is a requirement for ATAR eligibility, but which English should you choose? And do you really need to put the effort in when your marks won’t necessarily count?
It seems obvious, but if you’re going to be taking English, it would be easier and much more logical to just ace your English course than it would be just to undertake an additional subject for your ATAR and receive no benefit. There are six different English courses available within Queensland schools:
● English. Focuses on studying literary and non-literary texts with the aim of developing critical, creative thinkers. ATAR eligible.
● English and Literature Extension. An extension of both the English and Literature courses and offers more of a challenge than the other courses. There are 2 versions of this course – 1 and 2 – 2 being more challenging. ATAR eligible. This is the most highly scaled of the ATAR English subjects.
● English as an Additional Language. Designed for students for whom English is their second language, or isn’t the language they speak at home. Eligible for ATAR.
● Essential English. Develops and refines students’ understanding of language, literature, and literacy. Only ATAR eligible when combined with four general subjects.
● Literacy. Not ATAR eligible.
● Literature. Focuses on the study of literary texts. ATAR eligible.
Obviously, if you wish to be ATAR eligible, don’t choose literacy, and maybe steer clear of Essential English if possible. An experienced tutor can offer the help you need to achieve the marks you want.
ATAR English Scaling
Scaling refers to one of the steps in producing your ATAR score. Your exam marks are converted into scaled marks, or standardised marks. Different marks from different subjects are converted into a single score for every subject. How else could someone who received very high marks in English be compared with someone else who received very high marks in English Extension? It’s almost like converting currencies.
This is a highly debated topic and differs from state to state, so there isn’t really one correct answer. Many sources dispute scaling information, and so it’s best to do your own research and choose the subject which best suits you and your career or study goals. In New South Wales and Victoria, the Education department suggests to its students that if you are particularly good at English and want to pursue a career in the arts, choose Extension English or Literature. These subjects are scaled higher.