his article maps current senior secondary certification arrangements in Australia, drawing on data on school completion rates, certificate attainment and post-school destinations, as well as policy documents within and across jurisdictions. It argues that irrespective of the jurisdiction, numerous changes over nearly 50 years to the rules governing the senior certificates have been principally responses to the original and continuing need to prepare young people for university and the more recent need to cater for near universal participation in the senior secondary years. It argues there is no consistent and shared view of the purpose of the senior secondary certificates, no consistent approaches to dealing with disadvantage, and continuing difficulties in meeting the needs of the full range of young people in the senior years, particularly those from regional and remote areas, Indigenous communities and low socio-economic status students. There is also considerable variability in retention rates and rates of attainment of the senior secondary certificates as well as the calculation of the Australian Admissions Tertiary Rank (ATAR) score which was primarily designed for university selection purposes. The certificates also have limited emphasis on capabilities in their design and considerable variation in the manner in which literacy and numeracy minimum standards are defined, set and assessed. Furthermore, there is no consistent approach regarding compulsory subjects or a core curriculum, the design and implementation of VET courses and the evolving role of the ATAR.