St Margaret’s high achievers not captured by OP stats

The principal of one of Brisbane’s elite girls’ schools has defended the Ascot institution’s academic performance after Queensland’s 2017 OP rankings placed it outside the top 100.

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School’s position in the rankings left some scratching their heads.

The school — with fees of $22,536 for Year 12 students — is known for its academic and extra-curricular excellence.

Principal Ros Curtis said while St Margaret’s was ranked 103 in the state for students who received an OP 1-5, the number of OP1 students was more than double the state average.

Ms Curtis said 7.15 per cent of last year’s crop of OP-eligible students (including international students) received an OP or OP Equivalent of 1.

That compared with just 2.77 per cent of OP 1 students Queensland-wide.

“This has been fairly consistent at St Margaret’s over the past five to 10 years,” Ms Curtis said.

“In fact, some schools listed above St Margaret’s in the latest report did not have any OP 1s in their OP 1-5 statistics.”

Chris Lester, CEO of Good Education Media, the organisation responsible for The Good Schools Guide, said an OP score was only one aspect of a school’s performance.

“Test scores are a good indication of the number of high-performing students, but alone don’t tell a school’s full story,” Mr Lester said.

Ms Curtis said it was the boarding school’s high number of international enrolments that affected its overall result. International students on visas were ineligible for the traditional OP scores which were used in most statistics.

While the school officially recorded 17 students who attained an OP 1-5, six international students also clocked the score, boosting the school’s OP 1-5 per¬centage from 23.29 to 27.38 per cent.

Of that number, four international students received an OP 1, along with two domestic students.

Ms Curtis said when looking at OP scores of 1-15 — which provided easy access to tertiary studies — St Margaret’s consistently achieved between 91 and 97 per cent.

She said the real measure of academic success was whether the students received their OP based on application to their studies and whether they were accepted into their preferred university course.

Of the 93 St Margaret’s students who applied for semester one university courses, 92 received offers.

Ms Curtis said this figure included students who were not OP eligible, but studied a Diploma of Business or Diploma of Project Management — giving them an OP equivalent of 9 — and was a reflection of the school’s academic care policy where alternative pathways to university were provided.

“To judge the student experience at a school based on one figure is easy, but certainly not an appropriate measure and reveals a total misunderstanding of the complexities of the current system for tertiary entrance,” Ms Curtis said.

Mr Lester said the academic ranking system was only one method of university entry and would be replaced in Queensland. Year 11 students starting next year will be working towards an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

“More broadly, success has a different meaning for each school, its students and families,” he added.

“Ultimately, success will depend on a range of factors, but making sure a student is prepared for life after school and has the opportunity to take the path they desire, is key.”

Nearby Clayfield College also came under scrutiny for its noticeable decline in OP 1-5 students this year.

For more information on St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, visits


This article originally appeared in The Courier Mail – St Margaret’s high achievers not captured by OP stats

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