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Dux.. how is it decided ?


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#1 Koby1983

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:18 AM

Hi there,
My son in Year 6 has topped every assessment and task academically this year. His teacher told me at mid year interviews that though his attitude was a little negative at the start of the year, this had improved and he was a contender for DUX at the end of the year.

He has continued to rank highest in all marks and has had no detentions or any other formal discipline needed to be taken.
His teacher tells me now, while stopping me at the school gate, that its unfortunate that his school year started the way it did (negative attitude ) as its cost him dux to the next highest performing student academically. This other child has had previous siblings and cousins (and parents) who received Dux at the same school.

Now, I don't push my child. He is academically gifted due to his own merit and natural ability. I just feel a bit like he has had this taken from him because it probably means a lot more to this other family than they presume it means to us and to him as a student.

I called the department who said its up to the school how they award this particular thing and that its individual. I was under the impression its based on academic scores only ? I would understand if he had any behavioural problems or anything going on in class to differentiate him but he really just lays low and does his work without any fuss.

Feeling a bit disappointed for him.

#2 purplekitty

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:21 AM

I would expect it to be assessed on academic scores and achievement,
i.e. a non-subjective criteria.

There are other awards for different strengths.

#3 hills mum bec

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:22 AM

Our primary school doesn't have a Dux award but they do have a year 7 student of the year award (final year of PS).  Year 7 teacher will put forward candidates from their class with high academic achievement and the whole school staff will vote for who gets it taking into account attitude, extra curricular activities, community/school involvement etc.  I don't think awards should be based solely on academic achievement.

#4 purplekitty

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:24 AM

^ I think that is fair enough,the assessment is transparent to the school community.

#5 JRA

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:25 AM

Dux for primary school.... Really?

#6 Cimbom

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:26 AM

I think dux of year six is a bit overkill IMO. I always thought it was just a year 12 thing

#7 born.a.girl

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:28 AM

Primary dux in our school was definitely more than just academic - they were consistently also 'great attitude' kids.

#8 Dianalynch

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:31 AM

Ask the teacher to see the school policy that outlines the criteria used to award dux. It should be transparent.

It is perfectly fine to express that you are disappointed in their decision, as you understood it would be based on academic merit as well as behaviour. It is also fine to state that as far as you are aware, your son has not been in trouble due to his behaviour or attitude, so you would like some clarity on why he was excluded from the award as you also understood he had the highest academic marks.

#9 lunariviera

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:48 AM

I'd question the 'negative attitude' comment.  It would cut a lot of kids with depression, anxiety or even potentially introverts out of awards.

Unless there was a specific thing like bullying or being rude to teachers it seems unfair.  And even then if he turned the behaviour around shouldn't that be cause for reward?  What's this going to teach him?  That he shouldn't even bother?

Edited to add: They could always have two dux anyway. I was dux of year 12 with two other girls. We were all quite different.

Edited by lunariviera, 06 December 2018 - 11:51 AM.


#10 seayork2002

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:57 AM

I believe Dux is top academically and Prefect decided by speech and voting ? (not saying for all schools!)

How do you know he has 'topped' compared to other kids? isn't that detail private?

Edited by seayork2002, 06 December 2018 - 11:58 AM.


#11 Seven of Nine

Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:57 AM

That would really irk me. Do they take the blue ribbon away from the kid who came first in the 100 metres if he had a bad attitude 10 months ago?

#12 annodam

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:13 PM

We don't so Dux in the Jnr or Middle School.
Yr 12 yes, & it goes to the student who has received the highest marks at the end of the year & that's how it should be!

#13 FearsomeFeralFreak

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:15 PM

I think that is unfair. I’d be peeved in the extreme

#14 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:38 PM

View PostSeven of Nine, on 06 December 2018 - 11:57 AM, said:

That would really irk me. Do they take the blue ribbon away from the kid who came first in the 100 metres if he had a bad attitude 10 months ago?

100% this.

It’s been happening for years.

I remember being in history in year 10. One other student and I battled all year for top spot. We’d have debates and discussions about topics in class, with a teacher that didn’t like it, and just wanted to use the textbook with no discussion. (Our year 9 teacher had encouraged us to interact and discuss and debate)

Neither of us won the first prize for history. I would have been 100% fine with the other student getting it.

A suck up, who had come third behind us on all assessments got first on “class marks”.

I remember both of use looking at each other in surprise. It wasn’t fair then. It sounds like it’s still not fair and other aspects get in the way.

#15 marple

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:40 PM

Sorry I didn't read the OP through.

Edited by marple, 06 December 2018 - 12:46 PM.


#16 spr_maiden

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:43 PM

I find it odd that a Dux award is for anything other than academic achievement. It is traditionally for those students who achieve the highest academic scores, and I think it should be that way.  If it wasn't I am pretty sure the child who was awarded Dux at one of my schools (who argued with teachers and demanded re-marks if they received a score that wasn't an A/A+) would have missed out for their "negative attitude".

What constitutes negative attitude can be so subjective, no award that is traditionally given for academics should be based on such vague criteria.  Too easy to move the goalposts, so students are unsure of what exactly it is they are striving for.

Upside, it's clearly a bs award so hopefully your son will be ok about not needing a token award as validation.  He knows he has done remarkably well - how awesome.  He should feel really proud of himself regardless!

#17 maryanneK

Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:56 PM

I was dux of my primary school in the late 80s so its definitely been a 'thing' for at least that long.

Just a local government primary school.

It was definitely based on academic merit but I don't know anything beyond that. Its not like we had an exam at the end of the year and the one with the highest marks got the dux award.

We just sort of knew that they gave the dux to the 'smartest kid' and there were other awards for other things.

There might have been an element of 'good student' about it - ie well behaved, diligent, interested, shows a love of learning, participates in class etc? so at a stretch a 'bad attitude' might lose you some points?

I can see why you feel peeved OP but without knowing exactly what the criteria are its hard to say.

#18 maryanneK

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:00 PM

View Posthills mum bec, on 06 December 2018 - 11:22 AM, said:

  I don't think awards should be based solely on academic achievement.


why not?? There are all sorts of different awards. Sports awards are based on achievement in sport. Music awards for achievement in music. We had the equivalent of the 'all around good guy' type award, which equates to achievement in being a nice person and a good all rounder. etc. Dux is for academic achievement/ability and so it should be

#19 purplekitty

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:03 PM

View Postspr_maiden, on 06 December 2018 - 12:43 PM, said:

I find it odd that a Dux award is for anything other than academic achievement. It is traditionally for those students who achieve the highest academic scores, and I think it should be that way.  If it wasn't I am pretty sure the child who was awarded Dux at one of my schools (who argued with teachers and demanded re-marks if they received a score that wasn't an A/A+) would have missed out for their "negative attitude".

What constitutes negative attitude can be so subjective, no award that is traditionally given for academics should be based on such vague criteria.  Too easy to move the goalposts, so students are unsure of what exactly it is they are striving for.

Upside, it's clearly a bs award so hopefully your son will be ok about not needing a token award as validation.  He knows he has done remarkably well - how awesome.  He should feel really proud of himself regardless!
Yes,too much scope for Finnegan's Finagling Factor.

#20 Ellie bean

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:08 PM

Surely dux is just for academics?
I remember getting dux in year 6 and being very excited, I don’t think it’s overkill, unless you’re also going to do away with all sporting awards etc as well

#21 Milly Molly Mandy

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:11 PM

What sort of testing is the school doing to give a definitive result of who is top academically?

My kids never had testing which gave percentages or A B C for classroom tests until high school. I'm sure the teachers were tracking it and the kids obviously knew who the academic kids were but they never would have known actual marks they or other kids were getting. (or maybe I'm just completely in the dark about such things.)

My DS regularly received the academic award for his year. I actually questioned the teacher the year he was in year 6 as he got it over a kid who got into a selective high school and she said it was given for a whole heap of reasons and that he definitely deserved it.

#22 maryanneK

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:11 PM

View PostEllie bean, on 06 December 2018 - 01:08 PM, said:

Surely dux is just for academics?
I remember getting dux in year 6 and being very excited, I don’t think it’s overkill, unless you’re also going to do away with all sporting awards etc as well

cheers, fellow primary dux nerd :-)

#23 boatiebabe

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:19 PM

I'm 50 and we had a dux award at my primary school. I came second - not due to bad behaviour but because the other kid was smarter. So they have been around a while.

Funny sideline is that he ended up being my anaesthetist a few years ago - I knew I was in good hands!

But one year my child missed out on the academic award for his class due to some previous poor behaviour that year that he did manage to turn around.

They bascially changed this award for his class only, just so that they could give the award to someone else. He was gutted. And I was gutted for him. It did teach him resilience but it was a tough lesson.

I do think the dux award should go to the best performing academic student and not be based on anything else. I really hate it when schools mess around with the criteria to reward some children over others for subjective reasons.

#24 just roses

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:37 PM

At schools I’ve been involved in, Dux is for the student with the highest marks. And it’s unweighted. So the kid who gets dux - perhaps by topping humanities and music - may end up with a lower ATAR than a kids who didn’t top as many subjects but excelled generally at science/maths subjects.

#25 WaitForMe

Posted 06 December 2018 - 01:45 PM

I think its worth meeting with the school to discuss.

I can't weigh in on what it should be judged on since neither my primary or high schools awarded Dux.

But even if behaviour/attitude is included, how much of an impact should it make? Whats the difference in overall scores between the two kids? And was there more bad behaviour they didn't tell you about?

At the very least it will hopefully get them thinking about next time and whether they need to clarify how it is determined.




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