Announcing AU Norms update 2024 FAQ

Why did you update the norms?

Our general policy at The Learning Bar is to update our norms whenever we modify or update an existing measure, or every five years.  Norms are updated to ensure that the comparison lines appropriately reflect student perceptions as well as capture changing trends in student experiences. We want to ensure that our comparison lines are as timely as possible to facilitate informed decision-making.  Since the implementation of the previous norms there has been continued growth of the Tell Them From Me surveys across Australia.  Updating the norms ensures they have greater national representation.  The regeneration process also ensures that measures that may have been created since the release of the previous norms are based on a larger sample size of students.


What year are the new norms based on?

The norms are based on data collected from student surveys (primary & secondary) administered in 2023.


How much did the norms change?

The majority of the norms have changed by 5% or less from the historical values. These differences may be more pronounced when results are disaggregated by sex and year level.


A few notable differences at the primary level are:

  • Decreases of between 7% to 12% in participation in sports, sense of belonging, homework behaviour, and interest and motivation.
  • Increase of 7% in anxiety.
  • Norms are now available for advocacy at home and Feel Safe, which were not previously available.

A few notable differences at the secondary level are:

  • Decreases between 9% - 11% in sense of belonging, values schooling outcomes, intellectual engagement, interest and motivation, effort, feel safe at school, aspirations to finish high school, and aspirations to attend university.
  • Positive homework behaviour decreased by 14%.
  • Bullying increased by 7%.
  • Norms are now available for self-esteem, hedonia, eudaimonia, goal orientation, and self-regulation, where previously norms had been unavailable.


Why do some norms differ so much in comparison to the previous norms?

There can be many contributing factors that influence a norm, including the amount of time between norm generations, the composition of the sample used for the calculation (e.g., new regions or number of participants), impact of regional or global events (e.g., COVID-19) and other trends that can influence student perceptions (e.g., social media).


How do I access the updated norms?

Updated norms will be applied automatically to newly generated One-click and Thematic reports. Within the Interactive Charts the updated norms will be applied when you select the Replica School comparison and the National Line. Updated norms will also be applied to the Trend Reports.


Have the norms in all reports been updated (e.g. OCR text & graphs, ICs, thematic reports)?

The following norms have been updated:

-One-click reports

-Interactive charts

-Replica School

-Trend reports

-Thematic reports (Bullying & Engagement).  


Have the norms for all measures been updated?

All measures that were previously normed have been updated and several new norms were introduced. No norms were “lost” during this norming exercise.

There continue to be some measures for which there is insufficient data to calculate norms.


Does this affect the Replica School in the Interactive Charts too?

Yes, the Replica School for both primary and secondary has been updated as well.


Are the new norms displayed retroactively, in reports from previous years?

For all reports (One-clicks, Thematic Reports, Interactives, Trend reports) from this point moving forward the new norms will be displayed.

One-click: The behaviour of the One-click report is to pick up the ‘current years' norm or latest available. When looking at reports from years prior to the 2024 school year when the new norms were applied, the historical norms will be displayed.

Thematics:  The behaviour of the Thematic report is to pick up the ‘current years’ norm or the latest available. When looking at reports from years prior to the 2024 school year when the new norms were applied, the historical norms will be displayed. 

Interactive Charts: When looking at data prior to the 2024 school year, the historical norms will be displayed. For data 2024 and onward the new norms will display.

Replica lines: When looking at data prior to the 2024 school year, the historical norms will be displayed. For data 2024 and onward the new norms will display.

*Special considerations for Year-over-year comparisons: When applying YOY comparisons including 2024 data, the new norm will be displayed. When viewing historical year-over-year comparisons, historic norms will be displayed. This applies to both the purple band and the replica school.

Trend Reports: Trend reports will only display the 2024 norms, even when viewing historical data. The trend reports intend to compare the current data to historical data, therefore only the current norms are relevant.


Can I have access to the previous norms again?

The previous norms will still be available when accessing reports prior to the 2024 school year (one-click, thematic reports, and interactive charts). 

Trend reports only display the most recent norm, as the historical data is always shown alongside every snapshot.


Are there norms for the parent and teacher surveys?

There are currently no available norms for the Parent and Teacher survey. Other comparisons are available namely the Region Mean.


When will you next update the norms?

Our goal will be to update our norms every 5 years. Norms for any new measures or reports will be developed as necessary.


Who creates these norms?

The norms are developed by the Research Department using procedures established by Dr. Doug Willms, the President of The Learning Bar.


What do I do, or what does this mean, if I have already set my benchmarks using the old norms?

Even though we have updated the norms, it does not mean the historical norms are no longer valid or useful. The new norms can be viewed as a new piece of information and introduced when appropriate
(e.g. when developing new reports, or setting new benchmarks). The new norms should also bring greater alignment and clarity to those comparisons.


Why are the norms only based on a single year?

Historically, the norms were based on 3 years of data due to the limited sample available, however, the standard practice is to use data from a single year. The sample size from one full school year is more than sufficient to construct a norm (>50,000 participants is very generous for norming). We want to ensure that data is as timely as possible and reflects current trends, using multiple years of data may mask differences. Using multiple years of data could also result in the overrepresentation of data from certain states, districts, or schools (this is similar to how we ensure that data from only one snapshot is included within the data set).