Mac.Robertson Girls High School and Melbourne High School – both selective entry government schools – filled out the top five with median scores of 37.

Girls’ schools from Melbourne’s high-fee private school belt in the south-eastern suburbs took out the next seven spots in the rankings: Beth Rivkah; Loreto Mandeville Hall; Haileybury Girls; Strathcona; MLC; PLC and Ruyton.

Bialik principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner said his students had risen to the challenge of an unprecedented year, supported each other and got on with it.

“They saw that success in year 12 was not just about themselves, but about community,” he said.

“They have reaped the rewards of a breadth of experience: the highest achieving kids don’t lock themselves away in a room, they work hard and they play hard and they get involved in things and they help others.”

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It is the third time in the past five years that Bialik has topped the rankings. It pipped second-placed Mount Scopus – also a Jewish coeducational prep-year 12 school – by a tiny margin.

Mount Scopus principal Rabbi James Kennard said the students had shown profound resilience and determination this year.

“Transitioning back and forth from in-person to online learning whilst maintaining motivation for studies was exceptionally demanding for our students,” Rabbi Kennard said.

“We are therefore prouder than ever of their achievements and we thank their teachers for their endless support and commitment.”

Loreto Mandeville Hall in Toorak was the best performing Catholic school in the state, with a median of 36 and 29.3 per cent of study scores at 40 or better.

St Kevin’s College was the best performing Catholic boys’ school, its VCE students shrugging off a difficult year to achieve a median study score of 35 and with 25.9 per cent of study scores at 40 or more, placing the school 20th in the state rankings.

Among local entry state schools, two regional schools far from Melbourne achieved the best results: East Loddon P-12 College in Dingee, which had just 17 VCE students this year, and Tyrrell College in Sea Lake, which had 25 students. Both achieved median study scores of 34.

Balwyn High School, McKinnon Secondary College, Melbourne Girls College and Narre Warren South P-12 College were among the highest ranked local entry state schools, with median study scores of 33.

International student Chuting Tang, dux of Balwyn High School, was one of just six girls to get an ATAR of 99.95.

International student Chuting Tang, dux of Balwyn High School, was one of just six girls to get an ATAR of 99.95.

Balwyn High also had among its cohort one of just six girls who received a perfect ATAR of 99.95, out of 38 students statewide.

Chuting Tang, an international student, checked her results on Wednesday morning from her home in China, having returned there after completing her VCE at Balwyn High.

“It was so exciting to see the 99.95 on my screen,” she said. “I want to tell future VCE students that as long as you try your best with constant effort, nothing is impossible.”

VCE subjects are marked out of 50 and a score of 40 puts a student in the top 9 per cent in the state. Thirty is the mean score.

The median study score is a good measure of typical student achievement. A school with a high median typically has a large proportion of high-achieving students.

How school rankings have changed over time

The interactive below tracks how this year’s top schools have ranked over the past five years.

The rankings are based on the school’s median study score followed by its percentage of study scores of 40 or above, the two main metrics on school performance that are publicly released each year by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.

The animation may have started, so to view it from the start select ‘Replay’ to see how the rankings have changed over this time.

“Rank in Victoria” shows how each school ranked based on median study scores and percentage of study scores of 40 and above relative to every school in the state.

If you click “Rank among group” you can see how each school ranks relative to this year’s 16 top schools.

Hover your cursor or tap on a school to highlight its changing rank over time.

Due to the way Victorian school performance data in VCE is presented, school rankings can be volatile and tend to vary year on year depending largely on the median study score schools obtain.

The median study score for small schools, in particular, can vary greatly, so for this reason small schools have been excluded from this rankings interactive.

On average three schools per year tie for the highest median study score (for example, 38). Then there are six schools on average that get a median score one below that (i.e. a median score of 37), followed by an average of 12 for the next level, and then 15 the level below that.

That means there are usually a handful of standout schools in the top five, followed by a cluster of high-performing schools that fill out the rest of the top 30 rankings.

There are about five schools that consistently rank in the top 10, but which might rank fourth one year and then ninth the next, for example. There are also about 20 schools that consistently rank somewhere between 5th and 30th each year

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