Scaling is a process that allows SATAC to compare the performance of students in every possible combination of SACE subjects.
The data produced by scaling shows us how scores in one subject relate to scores in other subjects.
SATAC uses the data to adjust or ‘scale’ subject scores to enable fair and accurate comparisons of student performance.
How scaling works
Scaling adjusts the raw scores of a subject. Raw scores are the results of the individual assessment components of each subject.
For example, say you have a raw score of 10.4 in Biology. This tells us where you sit in relation to other Biology students. It does not allow us to compare your performance in Biology with students who completed different subjects to you.
By applying scaling to your raw scores in Biology, we can fairly compare your achievement in this subject to the achievement of another student in Modern History, or English, or Specialist Mathematics, and so on.
Why we need scaling
When selecting students, tertiary institutions need to compare the overall performance of applicants who are applying for the same course.
For each SACE subject you complete, you get an overall grade (A+ to E-) which tells us how well you performed compared to other students studying the same subject.
However, your overall grade for one subject does not tell us anything about how you compare to students studying other subjects.
Scaling is important because students with different abilities study many different combinations of subjects.
It is scaling that enables fair comparisons between the different subjects for the purpose of tertiary selection.
It ensures that you are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged by picking one combination of subjects over another.
Calculating scaled scores
The A+ to E- grades awarded for each SACE subject you complete are derived from the results of the different assessment tasks or exams you undertake in a subject. To create scaled scores using these results, two things need to happen:
- the results need to be converted into a numeric equivalent (the raw score)
- the numeric equivalents need to be comparable
There is no direct conversion from an overall subject grade to a scaled score equivalent. Each overall subject grade corresponds to a range of scaled scores. Each student who has achieved a particular grade for a given subject will receive a scaled score that falls somewhere within that range.
Let’s say for the grade B- in Legal Studies that the minimum scaled score is 12.4 and the maximum scaled score is 14.2. If you and another student both achieve B- in Legal Studies, you could end up with different scaled scores. This is because for each of the assessment tasks you might have performed differently, and the different tasks account for different percentages of your overall grade. You may also have studied a different pattern of SACE subjects.
Additionally, because the process of scaling is applied to your raw score and not your overall subject grade, your grade and scaled score for the same subject are not intended to have any correlation.
Raw scores are on a scale of 0 – 15.0 with a decimal place. Where a subject has a school assessed component of 70%, its contribution to the raw score is out of 10.5 (70%) and therefore the externally assessed contribution is out of 4.5 (30%).
For more information on how a raw score is calculated read our fact sheet below.
Fact Sheet - Calculating the raw scores for scaling (393KB PDF)