There is widespread concern about the reduction in the number of students in Australia studying calculus-based mathematics courses in the final year of secondary education. Over the last 20 years in New South Wales, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students studying general mathematics in place of calculus courses. The concern arises because students graduating from high school with no calculus are often not well equipped for many aspects of university-level study. This paper explores one potential reason for this in New South Wales, namely the scaling algorithm used to derive the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. At a time when we are encouraging students to study higher mathematics, this paper contributes to the discussion by illustrating some empirical evidence, based on an analysis of published output from the application of the scaling algorithm used to derive Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks, as to why students may be opting for lower level mathematics at the Year 12 level in great numbers.