My project focused on the New South Wales HSC, including ATAR’s and scaling and the overall last years of a person’s school life, whether if it is focused on studies or more social aspects of High school. The test was also supposed to elaborate on people’s feelings towards the HSC and whether they enjoyed their last years of schooling life. The results of the tests were found through focus groups conducted involving UOW students who are currently studying at Wollongong. There were four participants, their names won’t be used for privacy reasons, however they will be referred to as “C”, “N”, “M” and “O” if they are mentioned. The use of a focus group was efficient and created the ability for me to gain an in-depth understanding of peoples experiences from High School and how it affected their marks.
By reading through the transcript and listening to the audio of the focus group, I have more of an understanding of various peoples experiences at school based on what school they attended, what they enjoyed and what they disliked about school. There was a variety of answers which made it difficult to find a definitive answer on whether the way we approach the last few years of school life are the right ways to approach them. The HSC is typically a stressful time that the majority of high school students have to endure, even from my own personal experience, it is stressful and nobody would disagree with that. There were various opinions on whether the way the HSC is structured is an efficient and effective way of testing students and helping them decide which careers they would like to pursue, for example scaling. Overall everyone who participated in the focus group agreed that scaling wasn’t the best way to approach marking as it has the potential to lower or increase someone else’s marks based on the amount of effort that another individual has put in. They believed that the marks should be created based on what you as a student put in, however didn’t show much knowledge of how it worked beyond that.
The students who participated all believed that they didn’t work to their full potential at school. This affected the marks they received at the end of year 12 and in some cases affected the career in which they wished to pursue. 2 of the 4 in the focus group believed that their marks didn’t affect their career path they’ve chosen, for “O’s” marks, they didn’t affect her choices due to the fact that she didn’t know what she career she wished to pursue. Whereas it affected “C” and “N’s” career choices. 3 of the 4 individuals involved in the focus group didn’t attend the university they wanted to originally, however all 4 people are happy with the outcome of their HSC a few years after the HSC.
The results helped elaborate on how people experience their schooling, and how it can be different due to the amount of effort a person puts in. An individual’s experience can be changed based on the topics or subjects that they choose for their last years, and from the results, ¼ of the focus group would change the subjects that they did to possibly get something better out of their education. 100% of the people involved in the focus group believed that they could’ve worked harder at school to help them receive a better ATAR, in-tern helping them go to the university they wanted and to help them start the degree they originally wanted to do.
The issues with using a focus group with this particular question was difficult, however I wanted a detailed response from only a few people. A survey would’ve been an excellent way to do this task and in future, a survey would be my first choice as it would provide more answers but a lack of detail.
The study was effective in the fact that it showed how people how others experience their last years of school. It shed light on how people feel about the HSC, including scaling, the amount of subjects and the core concept of the ATAR. The use of a focus group gave detailed responses to the questions, however was time consuming and inefficient. Time management was the main issue with this focus group as there was not much time to find more people and create more detailed questions that would have produced more detailed answers. It would have also produced more answers which would’ve given us more information to understand the various ways a person experiences their last years of school. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved, and gave us the information to help this study.