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The College Question

By stayingmum - 30 December 2009 25

We have moved to the north side from interstate and have missed the chance to get to schools prior to enrolment. My daughter is about to start college and has some special needs that could use the support of good pastoral care and also has arts/music (contemporary, not formal) and drama interests.

Can any RiotACTers give a lowdown on strengths and weaknesses between Dickson, Canberra, Narrabundah and Lake Ginninderra Colleges? My daughter definitely wants to qualify for uni but not brilliant academically – should this make a difference to the college she chooses with all the scaling and ranking they do? (We are having a bit of trouble getting our head around the system!) Thanks!

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peterh 12:50 pm 06 Jan 10

I tend to think that the ACT Schooling system fails a lot of kids who are used to the regimen of High school – you must go to class, no exceptions… When they go to college, the regimen is removed. probably great for prep for uni, but many kids miss out on a decent education and their parents pay for them to spend all their time in the cafeteria. I know, mine did.

The high school year 7 to year 10 should be expanded to year 12. close the colleges down and redeploy their resources…

regarding the different colleges, I have limited experience – 20 odd years ago, I went to copland college, it was a good school, but the lack of order meant that we didn’t all pass year 12… If you are out of the feeder, chances of getting your kids into a preferred school are pretty slim. you get what is available to you.

astrojax 10:07 pm 04 Jan 10

why go to college? go to tafe, get a trade, and earn squillions, live in a new brick box in some new edge suburb like barry or kevin and have a ute, a statesman, four kids and a trophy spouse.

Mordd 1:49 pm 04 Jan 10

Fair bit of lack of understanding of how the current NSW HSW system works. I completed year 11 in 98 in a NSW high school in Sydney, dropped out at the start of year 12. Back then your end of year 12 marks were equally scaled from in class and out of class work (ie: homework) from both years 11 and 12, with the final HSC exam representing no more than 30% or 40% of the final mark at the time I was attending school. I dropped out as i was working 35hrs a week while doing year 11 and although I was getting high in class marks I was getting almost zero for out of class work thus if id gone on to complete year 12 I had wasted at least 35% of my overall end mark as a result, due to the fact that the HSC score is made up of a combination of factors. This misconception that 50% or more of your HSC mark is the exam pissed me off every time I hear it, it really isn’t that hard to look up how the NSW system works you know…..

georgesgenitals 11:31 pm 02 Jan 10

bd84 said :

georgesgenitals said :

bd84 said :

The scaling makes very little difference to results, it’s no different to NSW scaling HSC exam results. The major benefit is that the overall result is not dependent on a extremely high pressure end of year 12 exams, rather performance across years 11 and 12.

NSW schools have been using combined years 11 and 12 assessment and exams for many years. It is a fallacy that it ‘all depends on the final exam’.

NSW does have combined assessment, however the HSC exams still have a considerable impact on a student’s result as they form about 50% of their final mark.

When I went through the NSW system (finished about 15 years ago), the final exams made up 25% of your mark. They also drew marks from your trial exams, assessment exams and assessment assignments.

It was fairly exam heavy for the higher academic subjects, but the exam practise was great prep for the uni degrees that required heav exams also (which I then went on to).

Is one better than the other? I doubt it, although different kids do better in one or the other.

Mikaela 8:25 pm 02 Jan 10

I teach at Dickson, and I also did my prac there, and also went there as a student, so I may be a little bias… But it really is a fantastic school.

Narrabundah’s drama reputation is based upon the previous excellent drama teacher’s tuition, and he has since retired. The new teacher is also excellent, but I’d like to point out the new drama teacher at Dickson is fantastic also, so don’t discount Dickson in that aspect.

Dickson is only very slightly behind Narrabundah in scores, and it’s numbers are not dropping as Peter has suggested, in fact numbers in 2008/9 have been the highest in a number of years.

The focus on community is to be commended, and great things are about to happen in the arts and design.

As people have said, most Canberra colleges are pretty on par with each other, I don’t think any one school is a stand out above the rest, but I just wanted to give Dickson a little boost as not much had been said about it so far.

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