Early this morning the Herald Sun published its annual Top Scorers section online. Unlike in previous years where the website simply served a set of static pages corresponding to VCE subjects, this year’s website features an interactive search tool exclusively. It is possible to search by surname and by study name. In general, the new format is far superior to the old static pages and reduces at least somewhat the need for the Study Score Archive. The CSV files used to store the student names and scores are also readily accessible: there is one arranged by surname and one arranged by study name. Access to the data already sorted neatly into a CSV file is good news for me, since it means there is no longer any need to manually copy and paste huge chunks of text from 100 separate web pages.
Updated: school data now available.
The Bad News Unlike in previous years (and indeed unlike in today’s Herald Sun’s lift-out), school names are not listed alongside student names. This reduces greatly the usefulness of the Study Score Archive in comparison to previous years. Apart from losing the ability to group students by school (so you can easily find out how your friends (and enemies) went), even grouping by student name becomes potentially meaningless due to different people sharing the same name. Having the school name alongside the student’s name doesn’t mean the same problem can’t arise: two or more students at the same school might share the same name (I know of 2 examples), but it is rare. Without school names, though, I suspect there will be many students incorrectly grouped together. In short, there isn’t much more information that I can provide that’s not already exposed by the Herald Sun’s new search interface .
I will still aim to publish some sort of update in the near future (if not tonight then tomorrow), but don’t expect as much as in previous years.
The Herald Sun was kind enough to respond quickly to my queries this morning. I asked whether they might provide access to data with school names included for this year, but since they are busy with end-of-year projects (and preparing for the much bigger VTAC results release in mid-January), it seems unlikely. However, it is possible that we will see school names make a return next year.
If you’d like to see that happen, I’d recommend (politely) emailing the Herald Sun and telling them so. I suspect that we won’t be able to make them change their minds about releasing this year’s data, but I think it is more likely that we will see it next year if they feel there is a widespread community desire for the information.