Australia: “Student loses appeal over 99.95 HSC mark”

by Walter Olson on August 13, 2012

“After achieving a university entry rank of 99.95, winning fifth place in the state for chemistry and a place at the University of Sydney studying medicine, the former Abbotsleigh student Sarah Hui Xin Wong believed she could have done better in the [Higher School Certificate].” A New South Wales administrative tribunal has now turned down her complaint that she suffered disability discrimination by not being allowed further accommodations on the test, specifically a computer and extra time. But Australia does have loser-pays: “Ms. Wong has been ordered to pay some of the Board of Studies’ costs, including a proportion of the fees of the leading Sydney barrister Chris Ronalds, SC.” [Sydney Morning Herald]

In other Australia schools litigation news, a “former student who is suing Geelong Grammar School says she decided to seek damages after she failed to qualify for her preferred university course. Rose Ashton-Weir, 18, alleges Geelong Grammar gave her inadequate academic support, particularly in maths.” [Melbourne Age] More in update at The Age (“was perpetually disorganised and failed to attend classes, a tribunal has heard.”)

{ 3 comments }

1 BM 08.13.12 at 12:32 pm

99.95 will get her into any course in any university. Apart from ego, what is she complaining about?
And I can tell you, writing as fast as you can for 3 hours IS a part of the test. The more essay-oriented exams(english, history etc) have a fairly direct ratio of how much you can write vs how much you get marks for. We all got hand cramps, writing like that for 3 hours really hurts.
Chemistry, at least, involves stopping and thinking for a bit. In fact, why is chemistry the only exam she is disputing? She had at least 4 other exams too – what did she do for them?

2 Anonymous Nicholas 08.13.12 at 4:02 pm

Something is wrong with this story. The article says

“AFTER achieving a university entry rank of 99.95…she believed if she had been granted a computer or extra time, she would have achieved much higher marks.”

but according to Wiki, “The maximum rank attainable is 99.95″

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Tertiary_Admission_Rank

Can anyone explain the discrepancy? In any case, the article makes the plaintiff seem like a whiner with no perspective, and if that is true, then it is right and proper she pay. (If it’s not true, then perhaps there is injustice here.)

3 James 08.13.12 at 7:49 pm

In reference to nicholas’ comment. She sat the HSC exam when it was still the UAI system out of 100 however recently has changed to the ATAR system of 99.95 as maximum. Nonetheless she’s ridiculous, but I like to say, typical abbotsleigh girls. I’m a local to that area.

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