WHAT IS AN ATAR?
* A score between 0 and 99.95 that shows how a student performed compared to all students in their year across the country.
* Its calculation varies from state to state but is generally based on how a student performs in Year 11 and 12 subjects, with different weightings and adjustments based on assessments and a subject's difficulty.
* It allows universities to make admissions decisions quickly and efficiently.
* Universities are less often looking solely at ATARs when they offer undergraduate places.
IF NOT ATAR, THEN WHAT?
* Universities are already using a range of other methods to offer places, including aptitude tests, interviews, "bonus point" schemes to compensate for disadvantage, and short pathway or enabling courses.
Other suggestions from the Mitchell Institute:
* an opt-in ATAR where only the students who want to apply for a competitive-entry course get the score.
* University selections based on individual subject scores, particularly those that relate to the course.
* Universities to publish descriptions of the skills relevant to a course and the careers associated with it, meaning aptitude tests could become more appropriate.
* Using broader statements of school achievement recognising the wide range of students' accomplishments.
* Providing high-quality careers advice that highlights the many pathways available to get into university.