Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre admits ‘technical error’ notifying 24,000 year 12 students they are ineligible for an ATAR



Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) has apologised for accidentally emailing 24,000 year 12 students across the state, informing them they are “ineligible” for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

The erroneous email was sent out by QTAC as a result of an internal testing procedure.

QTAC CEO John Griffiths said it was a human error, triggered when someone entered a date into the program incorrectly, triggering a release of emails without the required data.

“Regretfully, testing of the release information rolled out into our live production space, which issued ATAR notifications to 24,000 year 12 students,” Dr Griffiths said in a statement.

“QTAC acknowledges this technical error and deeply apologises to our year 12 cohort. This has no doubt caused additional anxiety during what has already been a trying year for our school community.”

ATAR results are not due to be released until December 19 and the erroneous notice is dated December 18.

This is the first year Queensland students will receive an ATAR instead of an Overall Position (OP) measure.

Dr Griffiths spoke later on Saturday afternoon, apologising for the stress the mistake had caused for students and their families.

“I sincerely apologise to all year 12 students after the distress this has caused,” he said.

“I am a father of a year 12 student, so I am well aware of the pressures the year 12 students have been under this year.”

He said QTAC would be reviewing the system again to ensure the error would not be repeated.

“I take this very seriously and obviously we will undertake another series of reviews … and make sure there are no further issues that are going to impact students,” he said.

“I have to work through who is responsible and how that occurred … my focus at the moment is just reassuring parents and year 12 students.

“It’s very unfortunate that this occurred and it occurred in the first year [of the Queensland ATAR] … overlayed with a COVID pandemic.”

‘A stressful year for students’

Among the students to receive the notification was Stella Eaton, the dux of Indooroopilly High School’s year 12 cohort in Brisbane.

“It was honestly such a shock, before I thought about the fact that ATAR actually comes out on December 19,” she said.

“I had no idea what was going on.

“I was pretty certain it was a scam, but still not the most amazing feeling for 9:00 in the morning.”

But a concerned parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told the ABC the notice had given several students a sleepless night.

“It’s already been a stressful year for students, with schooling from home due to the coronavirus pandemic and having to adjust to a new system,” the parent said.

Numerous students have posted questions about the notification to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s ATAR page on Facebook.

Career Development Association of Australia president Wanda Hayes said several students had been in touch with her about the email.

“My first email was at 6:30am this morning and it just said, ‘Wanda – help’,” she said.

“Just a really gut-wrenching thing after what they’ve been through this year, to get this message.”

Dr Griffiths said QTAC would receive the year 12 result file on Monday “which is when the actual calculation of the Queensland ATAR begins”.

“We are on track for official release on Saturday, December 19,” he said.



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