Concern for student welfare has been cited as one of the primary reasons for not publicly releasing data on the performance of ACT schools this year.
The organisation that oversees Year 12 school results for the ACT, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies, has defended its decision not to publicly release school-by-school results based on students' Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
Education Minister Yvette Berry has backed the board's decision. A spokesperson for the minister said "the board had been clear that their decision was to remove the 'winners' and 'losers' interpretation" from the scores.
The publication of school scores was described as "harmful" and "damaging to student welfare".
"This is consistent with the concerns held across the country regarding NAPLAN reporting," the spokesperson said.
The ACT Liberals' Elizabeth Lee said the decision not to publish was a surprise given the Year 12 ATAR was "an important milestone; a result of years of hard work by Canberra students, particularly those who wish to pursue tertiary studies".
"The education of our young people is something that the whole community has an interest in," Ms Lee said.
Meanwhile, one of Canberra's top private schools, Canberra Girls Grammar, was more than happy to champion its students' performances, stating that 10 students, or 9.4 per cent of the school's Year 12 cohort, had received a score above 99.
"This is the highest proportion of [Canberra Girls Grammar] students with an ATAR above 99 in the last decade," the school declared in an online post.
The Board of Senior Secondary Studies' chairwoman Roberta McRae said the decision was made to shift away from data on individual schools and focus on the year 12 cohort as a whole.
Previously, ACT schools were ranked by the median ATAR, the percentage of eligible students with an ATAR score above 60 and the number of Senior Secondary Certificates awarded.
Data publicly released by the board for 2019's results have included the number of students who attained an ATAR or Senior Secondary Certificates, along with the number of schools that had students receive an ATAR score of more than 95.
Individual schools, however, were not ranked, as is standard practice in neighbouring NSW.
"Following a detailed review of the end-of-year media communications, the board established a direction that focuses on celebration of all students and all schools at the expense of none," Ms McRae said.
The board's decision has been supported by ACT school principals, she said, adding that a board-initiated student forum of year 12 students also wanted to see a move away from competition between schools.
Ms McRae said previous publication of results by ranking ACT schools fostered a "climate of rivalry" between schools and generated negative publicity.
"The reporting on system-wide data rather than limited to comparative data on individual schools is a significant reform aimed at uniting the territory to work in unison," she said.
Students were able to find out their ATAR results from 1pm on Tuesday, the same day as some of the ACT's top students were honoured at a ceremony at Llewellyn Hall.
This year more than 4500 ACT students completed their year 12 with more than 2700 of them qualifying to receive an ATAR.