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1997 Higher School Certificate Media Guide

Index


All Media Enquiries to:

Media and Public Relations Branch
Office of the Board of Studies
117 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone (02) 9367 8250
Mobile 0418 418 053
Fax (02) 9367 8479


1997 Higher School Certificate Statistics and Story Leads

The Higher School Certificate: Meeting the needs of students

This year an estimated 63 038 * students around the world will sit for the New South Wales Higher School Certificate examinations. The first HSC examination took place in 1967 and since then more than one million people have been awarded this internationally recognised credential.

Over the years there have been many changes to the HSC. A student in the first HSC would not have recognised such terms as `assessment tasks', `scaling', `accumulation' and `acceleration' -- terms that are familiar to today's HSC candidature.

The HSC has changed and developed to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and diverse candidature. Today's HSC offers 74** subjects organised into 164 courses. It was the HSC of 1975 that introduced courses differentiated by `units' and 1975 also saw the introduction of school-designed courses.

Since 1990 several new subjects have been introduced. Legal Studies and Computing Studies were introduced in 1990. Provisions for good quality vocational and technological courses were also made in 1990. In 1991 Personal Development, Health and Physical Education was introduced as a Key Learning Area.

The introduction of the Pathways program in 1993 enabled students to take a more flexible approach to their HSC studies, giving Year 12 students up to five years to complete their HSC courses. (See page 15.)

The 1994 HSC introduced the Design and Technology course, broadening the school approach to technology education and allowing students to submit a Major Design Project as part of their assessment.

Distinction Courses -- high-level courses offered through universities by distance education -- were introduced in 1994. Three courses are available: Comparative Literature, Cosmology and Philosophy.

Given the flexibility and diversity of the current HSC it is not surprising that in the mid-1990s 70 per cent of school students chose to stay on at school until Year 12.


* Please note: All statistics in this guide refer to the enrolled candidature of 13 September 1997.

** Each Science course is treated as a separate subject; all three Distinction Courses are treated as one subject.


Languages and the Higher School Certificate

Students can now choose from the 37 languages on offer in the 1997 HSC.

Many of these languages are studied through the Saturday School of Community Languages or the Open High School run by the Department of School Education.

Japanese is the most popular language, although languages that have been popular in the past, such as French, German and Italian, continue to have appeal. The most recent languages introduced to the HSC are Hindi, Persian and Portuguese.

Eighteen years ago there were only 56 students studying Japanese in New South Wales: this year there are just under 2000 students studying the language.

Twenty-six languages are covered by a national syllabus under the National Assessment Framework for Languages at Senior Secondary Level (NAFLaSSL). All are developed according to a common structure emphasising the ability to communicate in varied contexts, flexibility to accommodate all students in all areas of Australia, and emphasis on cultural awareness.


Some facts about the class of 97

Here are some general facts that may give a picture of the class of '97

  • An estimated 63 038 students are enrolled as HSC candidates this year.

  • The subjects with the biggest candidatures are English, Mathematics, General Studies, Biology, Business Studies and Computing Studies (in that order), while the subjects with the smallest candidatures are Estonian, Lithuanian, Khmer, Latvian, Swedish and Maltese.

  • One student is doing the HSC on a Royal Australian Navy warship.

  • Another student is doing the HSC in Bermuda, so they can take part in the World Championships in sailing.

  • A member of the Australian Junior Martial Arts team is participating in a competition in Hungary and will sit for their HSC examinations there.

  • In Japan, 27 students are doing the HSC examinations in order to sit for the Japanese University Examinations.

  • There are also students sitting for the HSC in England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Spain, the Sultanate of Oman, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Some facts relating to HSC candidates' ages

  • There is one 13-year-old HSC candidate doing a Chemistry 2 Unit course.

  • There are three 14-year-old HSC candidates doing HSC courses. A student from Sydney and a student from New England are doing Music 3 Unit courses and another student from Albury, is doing General Studies 1 Unit.

  • The oldest HSC candidate this year is an 82-year-old Hornsby student who is studying Ancient History 2 Unit through TAFE.

  • There are three 75-year-olds sitting HSC exams this year. A Central Coast student is doing General English 2 Unit , Legal Studies 2 Unit and Modern History 2 Unit. A student in the Blue Mountains is taking a French 2 Unit course and a student in the Far West is doing a Rural Studies 2 Unit course.

  • A 72-year-old candidate in the Hunter is taking General English 2 Unit and Music 2 Unit.

Please contact the Media and Public Relations Branch on (02) 9367 8250 or (02) 9367 8248 if you wish to make contact with any of the HSC candidates listed above.

Special provisions for students

  • Four students sitting the HSC this year will have specially produced braille examination papers. The papers are an equivalent transcription of the standard examinations papers -- including diagrams that are ingeniously formed by using dry spaghetti to make the raised lines and angles needed.

  • Approximately 50 students sitting this year's HSC will have examination papers that are printed in colours different from the standard papers. These papers have been specially designed to enable students to read the examination questions easily, as some students find it problematic to read text printed on paper of a certain colour.

  • There will be approximately 380 large-print examination papers produced for students. The papers' type size ranges from 18pt to 36pt and most of them are printed on A3-sized paper.

  • Approximately 17 hearing impaired or deaf students sitting the listening paper examination in Contemporary English -- which is aimed at testing student comprehension -- will watch an AUSLAN, signed English or subtitled video instead of the usual audio tape.


Technology and teachers helping Higher School Certificate students

The HSC Advice Line

The HSC Advice Line opened in October 1995 to offer HSC students last-minute advice and information from highly qualified teachers, prior to the examinations.

In its first year of operation 23 849 students called the HSC Advice Line. Last year 35 230 students called -- an average of 57.6 calls for every 100 students taking the HSC Examinations.

The Advice Line is designed to give support and advice to students at times when students cannot access their own teachers -- on weekends and after school hours throughout the examination period. It opens on 13 October 1997, two weeks before the examinations begin.

No matter where a student is calling from in New South Wales, the cost is that of a local call.

The phone-in service is staffed by 680 teachers who are chosen on the basis of their experience and expertise in their subject areas.

The service will offer advice for the following large candidature subjects:

The Advice Line will operate up until, and including, the night prior to the final examinations in each of the above subjects.

There was very positive feedback from students who used the Advice Line last year. This year the Advice Line will operate from Monday 13 October until Thursday 20 November.

The hours of operation will be Monday to Friday 4 pm-10 pm, Saturday 10 am-6 pm and Sunday 10 am-10 pm. The Advice Line telephone number is 13 11 12.

Students with hearing difficulties

Students with hearing difficulties have access to the HSC Advice Line through a teletypewriter facility. Students wishing to use this facility are encouraged to make initial contact with the Advice Line operators through family and friends.


The Internet

Since the Board of Studies launched its website on the Internet in September 1995 the site has had more than 150 000 hits per month. With more and more schools accessing the Internet, students and teachers can now link up to the Board's site to find out important information relating to syllabuses, the School Certificate, the Higher School Certificate and Board publications.

For students doing the Higher School Certificate, this means they will be able to access a calendar of important events leading up to the examinations, as well as the Higher School Certificate examination timetable.

Students and teachers will also be able to access Board of Studies publications such as Board Bulletin, which offers important news and updates about Board requirements; On Board, a magazine for students in Years 10, 11, and 12 that is written and designed by students in Years 10, 11 and 12; and `Primary Matters', a monthly column for K-6 teachers; plus past HSC examination papers and HSC examination reports.

The site offers a sample of Board products, including access to extracts from some of the educational CD-ROMs produced by the Board of Studies. The Board's site also features students' artworks from ARTEXPRESS (selected works from each year's Visual Arts HSC) in a virtual art gallery exhibition.

The Board of Studies updates its site weekly, adding new announcements, syllabuses and support documents and other useful information.

A list of links to schools throughout Australia is maintained, as are lists of links to subject-related websites across the world.

Planned developments for the site include a Parents' Page and a new section that will contain regular updates on the New South Wales Government's HSC White Paper.

The website address is http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au


1995/96 HSC Examination CD-ROM

In January 1997 the Board of Studies published the 1995/96 Higher School Certificate examination papers and selected examination reports on CD-ROM.

Schools were provided with all the HSC examination papers on CD-ROM using Adobe Acrobat software.

Acrobat allows access across Macintosh and Windows computers and is provided to schools at no charge. This initiative was first developed in 1996 in response to schools' requests to provide past papers early in the new year.

Schools have responded very positively to the HSC examination CD-ROM and as a result the 1997 examination papers will also be provided on CD-ROM.


Whats new in 97

Release of the 1997 HSC results by telephone

This year, for the first time, New South Wales students will be able to access their 1997 HSC results four days earlier than usual, by using an automated telephone service.

From Friday, 2 January 1998 until the end of January 1998, students can key in their student number and Personal Identification Number (PIN) and get their results by recorded message. The students' PINs will be sent to them in mid-November in a letter from the Board of Studies.

The service will run 24 hours a day and it is estimated that each call will take approximately two minutes, although students will have the option of having their results repeated.

Students will still receive their results by mail, through Australia Post, on Tuesday, 6 January 1998.

The Board of Studies decided to set up the phone service to give students as much time as possible to make decisions concerning tertiary studies and employment choices.

The Board will also run an Inquiry Centre to support the new phone service. The centre will run from Friday, 2 January 1998.


The New South Wales Governments HSC White Paper

The New South Wales Government's HSC White Paper, Securing Their Future, was released in August 1997.

Securing Their Future is the result of the most comprehensive, open and consultative review of the Higher School Certificate (HSC) in its 30-year history. It reflects the overriding themes of the McGaw Review which preceded it, emphasising the need to achieve greater equity and to challenge students to achieve their best.

The White Paper builds on the best features of the current HSC and its reforms are designed to enhance the HSC's intellectual rigour, fairness and relevance to the needs, interests and abilities of all senior secondary school students.

Schools and education professionals will continue to be consulted about the implementation process.

The White Paper will also effect changes to the School Certificate, beginning next year.

Key Reforms to the School Certificate

The White Paper announced the introduction of statewide curriculum-based tests for Year 10 students in four areas: English literacy; Mathematics; Australian History, Australian Geography and Civics; and Science. Reference Tests will be replaced by these external tests and students will receive their own marks.

Testing of English literacy and Mathematics will commence for Year 10 students in November 1998, together with trial tests in the other two areas.

Key Reforms to the Higher School Certificate

HSC reforms will be fully implemented for the students who graduate at the end of 2001 -- the current Year 8 students. Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 students will continue the current HSC program. The only change that directly affects this year's candidates is in the change to the method of reporting a student's TER. (See page 37 for more information on this topic.)

From 1998 the TER will be known as the Universities Admissions Index.

In 2001 the changes listed below will be implemented.

Improving the curriculum -- By 2001 strict new criteria will be applied to existing and proposed new syllabuses. In principle, a 2 unit structure for all HSC subjects will be adopted. Students will be required to complete at least 12 units of Preliminary courses in Year 11 and 10 units of HSC examination courses in Year 12 . Six of the ten units in Year 12 must be Board Developed units.

Strengthening English -- English will be the only compulsory subject and students will be able to take 4 units of English for the first time. There will be a 2 Unit standard, 2 Unit advanced and a 2 Unit Literature course. A new English as a Second Language course will be introduced for students recently arrived in Australia. A course, Fundamentals of English, will be introduced for students needing additional help with English literacy -- taken with and complementing the Preliminary standard English course.

Vocational Studies -- the quality and status of vocational courses is to be enhanced to ensure students have the skills and knowledge recognised by employers.

Reporting Student Achievements -- All subjects will be reported in a way that will make results clearer and where there are two courses in a subject reporting will be on a single scale to reward capable students for successfully completing advanced study. All Year 12 graduates will receive a comprehensive portfolio documenting what they know, understand and can do in each subject.

Copies of Securing Their Future are available from the Department of Training and Education Coordination (DTEC) on(02) 9561 8192.

Securing Their Future is also available on the DTEC website at http://www.dtec.nsw.gov.au


Release of Tertiary Entrance Rank information to the media

On 6 January 1998 the Board of Studies will provide the media with a list of the top 1% of students in each course, where students scored over 90.

There will be no release of the Tertiary Entrance Ranks of the top regional students this year, as the Board of Studies no longer has access to TER information from the Universities Admissions Centre. As recommended in the White Paper, Securing Their Future, individual results will be treated as confidential and will not be provided to parties other than the Universities Admissions Centre and the universities to which the student has applied.


HSC On-line launched

The exciting new website HSC On-line was launched in July 1997. This initiative is designed to help students who are sitting for their HSC by giving them access to a wealth of HSC resources and support, no matter where they live in New South Wales.

The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, John Aquilina MP commented: `Through this initiative students studying at one of the most remote high schools, in the heart of Sydney or at home, will have access to the most extensive resource of information and assistance ever brought together in one place.'

HSC On-line's materials have been developed by highly experienced HSC teachers and examiners and many of the site's resources have been drawn from the best available world-wide resources.

The site includes a newsgroup to enable students to exchange ideas and practices as well as information about career and further study options. It also has links to school websites in New South Wales and around Australia.

The following subjects are covered by the site: Aboriginal Studies, Agriculture, Ancient History, Computing Studies, Cosmology, Drama, English, Geography, Japanese, Mathematics, Modern History.

Biology, Business Studies, Design and Technology, French, Music, PDHPE, Studies for Religion and Visual Arts will be covered by the site in the near future.

Mr Aquilina said, `It is a boon for students. It will provide them with the resources and support to secure better learning and improved HSC results.'

The HSC On-line project is a joint venture between the Department of School Education and Charles Sturt University. It is supported by the Board of Studies NSW and the Joint Council of Professional Teachers Associations and is sponsored by Access Australia.

HSC On-line: http://hsc.csu.edu.au


New marking centres

This year, new marking centres will operate in Lismore for General English 2 Unit (Reading) and Bathurst for Contemporary English 2 Unit (Listening).

Wagga, Newcastle and Wollongong will have marking centres again this year. At Wagga the Reading question from English 2/3 Unit will be marked along with the Projects from Agriculture 3 Unit. The Newcastle centre markers will mark General English 2 Unit (Topic Areas), Biology, Engineering Science, Mathematics and Business Studies, and the Wollongong centre will mark Reading and Writing from Contemporary English 2 Unit as well as General Science.

Day Marking

For the first time this year the marking of written papers in some subjects will occur during the day. This initiative will allow greater access to marking for teachers from country schools. In addition to the English courses marked in Bathurst, Lismore and Wagga, Geography and the Poetry, Fiction and Drama questions in English General 2 Unit and English Related 2 Unit will be marked during the day in Sydney.


A more flexible Higher School Certificate

Pathways

Today's Higher School Certificate offers students more flexibility than ever before in the way they can approach their study program through the provisions offered by Pathways.

Prior to the introduction of Pathways, senior students could only take one year to do Year 11 studies (Preliminary courses), and one year to do Year 12 studies (HSC courses). Furthermore, if a student was not satisfied with their HSC results there was no provision to repeat an individual course or courses. To improve their Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) the student had to repeat their entire Year 12 program of study.

All this changed when Pathways was introduced for students in 1993. Pathways is proving popular -- by 1995 there were 4680 students using the Pathways model.

Under Pathways provisions, students are now able to take extra time to complete their Higher School Certificate, move through their program more quickly, or repeat one or more courses.

Students may now `accumulate' their studies over a longer period of time by taking up to five years to complete the HSC study pattern, and unlimited time to complete their Preliminary pattern.

Another option is to `accelerate' HSC courses. Students who are gifted or talented in a particular area can undertake HSC courses ahead of their peers.

After completing their Higher School Certificate, students can also use the Pathways provisions to repeat one or more courses in an attempt to improve their Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER).

Because they may take up to five years to complete their Higher School Certificate, students now have the option to combine part-time work or TAFE study with school work.


The Higher School Certificate and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The Board of Studies uses the term `Recognition of Prior Learning' (RPL) as a generic term for the two mechanisms (Credit Transfer and Advanced Standing) by which the Board may recognise formal or informal study and/or relevant life experience as contributing to the award of the Higher School Certificate.

RPL arrangements are provided for individual students and are granted as follows:

  • Credit Transfer for study successfully completed at a TAFE or another recognised post-secondary institution;

  • Advanced Standing, whereby students may be exempted from certain study requirements of a particular Board course if they are able to demonstrate that they have already achieved the relevant outcomes.


The Higher School Certificate on show

There are a range of forthcoming exhibitions and performances of outstanding works from HSC students of 1997.

ARTEXPRESS

ARTEXPRESS is a touring exhibition of outstanding works of art from the 1997 HSC examination in Visual Arts. The works in this exhibition will be presented in a range of media including photographs, films and computer-generated images, paintings, drawings, sculpture, wearables and jewellery, textiles and fibre, ceramics, collections of works, design, graphics, and integrated visual/verbal studies.

The program for ARTEXPRESS in 1998 is as follows:

Sydney Art Gallery of New South Wales 24 January - 15 March 1998
Sydney State Library of New South Wales 30 January - 15 March 1998
Sydney David Jones city store 19 January 1998
Newcastle Newcastle Regional Art Gallery 2 May - 26 April 1998
Dubbo Dubbo Regional Art Gallery 2 May - 31 May 1998
Wagga Wagga Wagga Wagga City Art Centre 11 June - 12 July 1998
Broken Hill Broken Hill City Art Gallery 23 July - 23 August 1998
Grafton Grafton Regional Gallery 1 September - 27 September 1998
Wollongong Wollongong City Gallery 9 October - 22 November 1998


For further information please contact Ms Jan Hackett, Exhibitions Officer/ARTEXPRESS, Department of School Education on (02) 9561 8446.


ENCORE

Encore is an annual concert of outstanding music performances and compositions from HSC Music students. The inaugural concert was held in 1989, and since 1993 ENCORE has been presented in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. ENCORE 97 will take place on Sunday, 22 February 1998.

In ENCORE 97, students will present original works and performances in a range of styles and genres that represent their study of the performance and compositions of HSC Board Music courses (in 2/3 Unit and 2 Unit Course 1) and also performances from AMEB Music (2/3 Unit).


DesignTech

DesignTech 97 is an exhibition of outstanding Major Design Projects by HSC Design and Technology students. DesignTech 97 offers an insight into how Major Design Projects are designed and produced.

Projects are selected for DesignTech on the basis of their demonstrated creativity and innovation, production techniques, project design and marketing aspects.

DesignTech 97 will be exhibited in Sydney at the Powerhouse Museum from 20 December 1997 to 17 February 1998.

Country venues will be finalised shortly.


OnSTAGE

Exemplary 1997 HSC Drama students will have an opportunity to perform their Group Presentations and Individual Projects in Performance and present their design, script writing, video and critical analysis projects at OnSTAGE 97.

OnSTAGE comprises a series of group-devised and individual performances as well as an exhibition of script writing, set, costume, lighting and publicity design projects, which reflect the hard work, talent and dedication of students and their teachers.

The OnSTAGE season will be from Wednesday, 25 February 1998 to Sunday 1 March 1998 at the York Theatre, Seymour Theatre Centre, Chippendale NSW.

For further information on DesignTech, ENCORE and OnSTAGE, please contact Ms Julie Eather, Exhibition Coordinator, Board of Studies on (02) 9367 8309.


Where, what and how HSC students are studying in 1997

Category of candidates

Candidate number Proportion of total
Metropolitan 37 453 59.40%
Country 25 180 39.95%
Interstate and overseas 405 0.65%
School students 59 575 94.50%
TAFE students 3378 5.40%
Self-tuition students 85 0.10%

Geographical Location

Female Male Total Percentage
Metropolitan Categories



Metropolitan East 5635 4919 10 554 16.75%
Metropolitan North 3660 3663 7323 11.60%
Metropolitan South West 4794 4568 9362 14.85%
Metropolitan North West 5317 4897 10 214 16.20%
Total 19 406 18 047 37 453 59.40%
Country Categories



Hunter 3244 2880 6124 9.72%
North Coast 2278 2086 4364 6.93%
North West 1302 997 2299 3.64%
Riverina 1679 1448 3127 4.96%
South Coast 3113 2812 5925 9.40%
Western 1786 1555 3341 5.30%
Total 13 402 11 778 25 180 39.95%
Overseas Categories



All overseas 171 149 320 0.50%
Total 171 149 320 0.50%
Other Categories



All other 41 44 85 0.15%
Total


0.15%
Total of all categories 33 020 30 018 63038 100.00%


(NB: Candidates by geographical location and gender as at 13 September 1997.)


Subjects with the largest candidatures

Subject

Candidates
English
56 858
Mathematics
55 925
General Studies
16 542
Biology
14568
Business Studies
13 588
Computing Studies
13 094
Modern History
10 561
Chemistry
10278
Physics
9265
Visual Arts
9073
Geography
8901
PDHPE
8491
Legal Studies
7912
Studies of Religion
7055


Subjects with the smallest candidatures

Subject

Candidates
Estonian
2
Lithuanian
2
Khmer
4
Latvian
4
Dutch
6
Hindi
6
Maltese
6
Slovenian
6
Swedish
6
Hungarian
7
Ukrainian
7



Entries in Board Developed Courses by subject, course and gender for the 1997 HSC at 13 September 1997

Subjects and courses

Course

Value

(Unit)

Total

Female

Total

Male

Total Male

& Female






Aboriginal Studies
2
352
117
469
Accounting
2
275
170
445
Agriculture
2
600
956
1556
Agriculture
3
154
175
329
Ancient History
2
2167
1303
3470
Ancient History
3
938
458
1396
Ancient History (Personalities & Times)
2
1436
1040
2476
Applied Studies
1
587
652
1239
Arabic
2
21
20
41
Arabic
3
53
59
112
Arabic (General)
2
103
80
183
Arabic Z
2
6
11
17
Armenian
2
15
9
24
Biology
2
9357
5211
14 568
Business Studies
2
4977
5586
10 563
Business Studies
3
1462
1563
3025
Chemistry
2
4797
5481
10 278
Chinese
2
12
16
28
Chinese
3
10
11
21
Chinese (BS)
2
107
112
219
Chinese (BS)
3
251
165
416
Chinese Z
2
17
9
26
Classical Ballet
2
30
0
30
Classical Ballet
3
10
3
13
Classical Greek
2
2
4
6
Classical Greek
3
1
6
7
Comparative Literature - Distinction Course
2
5
0
5
Computing Studies
2
2550
4154
6704
Computing Studies
3
268
1333
1601
Computing Studies (General)
2
2352
2437
4789
Contemporary English
2
7742
10 812
18 554
Cosmology - Distinction Course
2
10
11
21
Croatian
2
29
12
41
Dance
2
263
7
270
Design and Technology
2
862
3316
4178
Subjects and courses
Course
Total
Total
Total Male

Value
Female
Male
& Female
Design and Technology
3
197
341
538
Drama
2
2362
818
3180
Dutch
2
6
0
6
Economics
2
2185
2823
5008
Economics
3
708
1055
1763
Electronics Technology
2
4
180
184
Engineering Science
2
74
1185
1259
Engineering Science
3
9
201
210
English
2
4452
2429
6881
English
3
1231
448
1679
English (General)
2
16346
13398
29744
Estonian
2
1
1
2
Food Technology
2
2228
682
2910
Food Technology
3
433
54
487
French
2
223
93
316
French
3
120
55
175
French (General)
2
376
103
479
French Z
2
294
47
341
General Science
2
840
1215
2055
General Studies
1
8744
7798
16 542
Geography
2
2903
3526
6429
Geography
3
1246
1226
2472
Geology
2
113
126
239
German
2
121
82
203
German
3
100
50
150
German (General)
2
143
60
203
German Z
2
87
43
130
Hebrew
2
7
6
13
Hebrew
3
3
8
11
Hebrew (General)
2
26
25
51
Hindi
2
4
2
6
Hungarian
2
6
1
7
Indonesian
2
92
26
118
Indonesian
3
40
24
64
Indonesian (BS)
2
33
48
81
Indonesian (BS)
3
22
19
41
Indonesian Z
2
106
13
119
Industry Studies - Hospitality
2
882
371
1253
Industry Studies - Metal & Engineering
2
3
322
325
Industry Studies - Retail
2
226
145
371
Subjects and courses
Course
Total
Total
Total Male

Value
Female
Male
& Female
Industrial Technology
2
52
741
793
Italian
2
224
139
363
Italian
3
66
30
96
Italian Z
2
146
35
181
Japanese
2
648
193
841
Japanese
3
205
107
312
Japanese (BS)
2
56
35
91
Japanese Z
2
359
141
500
Khmer
2
2
2
4
Korean (BS)
2
20
19
39
Korean (BS)
3
74
62
136
Korean Z
2
2
0
2
Latin
2
41
42
83
Latin
3
54
46
100
Latvian
2
2
2
4
Legal Studies
2
4108
2375
6483
Legal Studies
3
932
497
1429
Life Management Studies
2
1852
461
2313
Life Management Studies
3
711
47
758
Lithuanian
2
0
2
2
Macedonian
2
39
31
70
Malay (BS)
2
38
22
60
Malay (BS)
3
9
2
11
Maltese
2
5
1
6
Mathematics
2
8415
7979
16394
Mathematics
3
3619
4255
7874
Mathematics
4
745
1532
2277
Mathematics in Practice
2
2957
2233
5190
Mathematics in Society
2
13 249
10 941
24 190
Modern Greek
2
102
71
173
Modern Greek
3
109
79
188
Modern Greek Z
2
12
9
21
Modern History
2
2934
2214
5148
Modern History
3
1203
741
1944
Modern History (People & Events)
2
1825
1644
3469
Music (AMEB)
2
50
50
100
Music (AMEB)
3
45
21
66
Music (Board)
2
151
95
246
Music (Board)
3
237
134
371
Music(Board) Course 1
2
1325
1298
2623
Subjects and courses
Course
Total
Total
Total Male

Value
Female
Male
& Female
Persian
2
40
33
73
Personal Develop, Health & PE
2
4313
4153
8466
Philosophy - Distinction Course
2
15
14
29
Physics
2
2432
6833
9265
Polish
2
18
17
35
Portuguese
2
21
9
30
Rural Technology
2
1
101
102
Russian
2
6
11
17
Russian
3
25
11
36
Russian Z
2
4
2
6
Science
3
99
64
163
Science
4
213
259
472
Science for Life
2
1625
2332
3957
Serbian
2
41
26
67
Sheep Husbandry & Wool Technology
2
0
26
26
Slovenian
2
5
1
6
Society & Culture
2
1773
400
2173
Society & Culture
3
500
74
574
Spanish
2
106
79
185
Spanish
3
65
42
107
Spanish Z
2
46
17
63
Studies of Religion
2
391
181
572
Studies of Religion
1
3680
2803
6483
Swedish
2
5
1
6
Textiles & Design
2
542
7
549
Textiles & Design
3
244
2
246
Thai Z
2
10
7
17
Tourism sector services
2
558
87
645
Turkish
2
28
13
41
Turkish
3
52
29
81
Ukrainian
2
2
5
7
Vietnamese
2
155
90
245
Visual Arts
2
3318
2208
5526
Visual Arts
3
2382
1165
3547



Higher School Certificate
Examination and Assessment

The Board of Studies NSW organised 68 examination committees to set 340 different examination papers for 131 courses between December 1996 and April 1997. In addition, examination papers for some small candidature languages were set by other States participating in the National Assessment Framework for Languages at Senior Secondary Level (NAFLaSSL).

It took more than 40 staff members 6-7 weeks to pack all the written examination papers for all students in each course, which resulted in over half-a-million parcels.

More than 3500 people will supervise the HSC examination sessions in 700 examination centres. These centres are mostly in schools and NSW TAFE colleges that have more than 40 candidates.

Other examination centres will be set up in all States and Territories in Australia, as well as on a number of islands and ships off the coast of Australia. Internationally, examination centres will be set up at the place at which a candidate is located at the time of the HSC examinations (see section `Some facts about the class of '97' on page 8). The centre may be located at a school, another institution or the Australian Embassy based in the relevant region.


Eligibility for the Higher School Certificate

To be eligible for the Higher School Certificate, students must follow a course of study comprising a minimum of 11 units at a government or registered and accredited non-government school, a college of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) or a school outside New South Wales that is recognised by the Board.

Students may enter for courses they have studied at another school or a college of TAFE in addition to those studied at their own school. For example, 2590 students have entered for the HSC examination in Languages studied at the Department of School Education's Saturday School of Community Languages. A student may also enter for an `outside' subject that has been studied with a private tutor, if this is approved by the school principal.


The Higher School Certificate Assessment Scheme

Students will have a scaled examination mark and a moderated assessment mark reported separately on the Record of Achievement. The examination mark is based on examination performance and the assessment mark is based on tasks undertaken during the HSC course.


The purpose and scope of assessments

Assessments are designed to measure a wider range of achievements than can be measured by the external examination, and they use a number of measures over the HSC year to provide an accurate measure of each student's achievement for the course. Together, the examination and assessment marks provide a more accurate and complete picture of a student's achievement.

Towards the end of the HSC course, schools provide a mark based on a student's performance in set assessment tasks. To ensure that comparisons of results for the same courses from different schools throughout the state are fair, assessments from each school are adjusted to a common scale of marks using the exam marks in the course from the school.

Assessments are required for most courses set or endorsed by the Board. They are not required for vocational courses with student logs, such as Industry Studies.

Moderated assessments are reported on the Record of Achievement and are available for use in Illness/Misadventure appeals. Assessments provided by tutors are not reported but may be used in Illness/Misadventure appeals.


Components and weightings

To assess students' achievements, courses are divided into components that represent the skills and knowledge objectives of the course. The components are weighted and the school devises individual assessment tasks to measure a student's performance consistent with these components.

For example, the weightings of the components of the Modern History 2 Unit course are:


Component

Weighting (%)
1. Core
30
2. Twentieth Century Studies
40
EITHER

3a. Nineteenth Century Studies

OR

3b. Modern World Studies
30
Total
100


Moderation of assessments

The assessment marks awarded to students in each course are adjusted to match the average (mean) of those students' scaled examination marks (SEM). A similar spread of assessments to the exam marks is achieved by setting the top assessment to the top SEM and, where possible, the lowest assessment to the lowest SEM. This places the assessment marks on a common scale, allowing them to be compared with assessments from other schools.

Because the raw assessment marks cannot be compared fairly, schools are not allowed to reveal these to students. However, the Board informs students of their ranking within the school for each course after the final examination. Schools are required to provide feedback on performance in each assessment task that contributes to assessment throughout the course.


Unsatisfactory assessments

Students are expected to undertake all assessment tasks set. If a task is missed, the school may require the student to undertake an alternative task. Decisions to allow students to do alternative tasks, as well as decisions to award a zero mark, are based on guidelines issued by the Board of Studies and conveyed to students in each school's assessment policy.

If a student does not attempt assessment tasks that together are worth more than 50% of available marks in any course, the principal certifies that the course has not been satisfactorily completed. Unless a student subsequently appeals successfully to the Board, neither an assessment mark nor an examination mark is granted, whether or not the student attends the examination.


School reviews and appeals to the Board

After all students at a school have finished their examinations, students may obtain a sheet from the Board showing their position within their school in the rank order for assessments in each course they studied. If students consider their placement in any course incorrect, they may apply to the school for a review.

There is no provision for a review of the actual marks awarded for assessment tasks. The only matters a school may consider are whether:

  • the weightings specified by the school in its assessment program conform with the Board's requirements;

  • the procedures used by the school for determining the final assessment mark conform with its published assessment program;

  • there are computational or other clerical errors in determining the assessment mark.

The final date for applications for a school review of assessments is 2 December 1997.

The school advises the student of the outcome of the review by 6 December 1997. If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of a school review, appeal to the Board is possible.


Producing the examinations

Setting the examinations

HSC examinations are set by examination committees that usually comprise six people including practising teachers and representatives from tertiary institutions. This year 68 committees prepared 340 different examination papers for 131 courses set in NSW.

In addition, examination papers for some small candidature languages are set by other States participating in the National Assessment Framework for Languages at Senior Secondary Level (NAFLaSSL) scheme.

Special versions of examinations are prepared for students with special needs.


Assessors

After examinations are set, each paper is assessed by practising teachers of that subject and a representative of the syllabus advisory committee. The assessor checks whether the paper is a fair and valid examination of the relevant course and attempts the actual paper to ensure its fairness to students. It is also assessed by a specialist to ensure that students with special needs are not disadvantaged.


Aural and practical examinations

For each examination in most modern languages, cassette tapes are produced to test a student's aural skills. Sample tapes are prepared by examination committees and checked by assessors.

Each aural examination is then produced in a high quality form using two readers who are native speakers of the language.

Compact discs are prepared for the Music aural exams.

Cassette tapes are produced for the Contemporary English Listening Paper. Special video tapes in sign language are prepared for hearing-impaired students studying Contemporary English.

Examinations in Industry Studies include a Practical and Written examination paper in Retail, Hospitality, and Metal and Engineering. A video is produced for the Retail Practical Examination.


Preparing the pack

Once examination cassettes, disks and video tapes are produced and examination papers printed, compilation of `the pack' begins. This involves packing and labelling enough cassette tapes, CDs, videos and sets of papers in each course for all students at each examination centre.


Conducting the examinations

Supervision of the examinations

The task of running each examination centre is the responsibility of a Presiding Officer (PO). The Presiding Officer is responsible for supervision throughout the examination period and is assisted by a number of supervisors.


Examination provisions for students with special needs

Special examination provisions are made for Higher School Certificate students who experience difficulty receiving examination questions or communicating acquired knowledge in an examination at a level that allows those students to complete the examination on an equal basis with all Higher School Certificate students.

Arrangements include provision of large print, coloured, and braille papers; the assistance of a writer; provision of an appropriate reader or oral interpreter; rest breaks; use of a typewriter or keyboard; provision for special furniture and lighting; and establishment of a special examination centre or separate supervision.

Applications for special examination provisions for students with disabilities were submitted to the Board of Studies from 26 September 1996. Arrangements needed as a result of accidents or other emergencies may be applied for up to and including the examination period.


Illness/Misadventure appeals

Students who are prevented from attending an examination, or whose performance has been affected by illness or misadventure immediately before or during the examination, may apply to the Board of Studies for consideration and a possible variation to their results.

Students must notify the Presiding Officer at every examination session in which they consider their performance may have been affected. The student is responsible for lodging an appeal with the Board of Studies by 28 November 1997 except in the case of oral/aural or practical examinations, where the appeal must be lodged within one week of the date of examination. Appeals must be supported by appropriate documentary evidence.

If an appeal is upheld, in most cases a student's achievement may be measured by the use of the moderated school assessment mark for that subject. In general, appeals are not considered for courses for which no assessment is available.


Courses with practical examinations and submitted works

Some HSC subjects involve forms of examination other than written examination papers. For example, all modern languages have an oral/aural component.

Submitted artworks

Candidates in Visual Arts submit an artwork, or series of artworks, for examination that contributes 50% of the final mark for the 2 unit course, the other 50% being derived from a written examination. Artworks are produced in a wide variety of media including painting, film and video, sculpture, drawing, photography, jewellery, design and graphics. Students taking a 3 unit course may choose to submit an additional submitted artwork or an integrated visual/verbal study or undertake another written examination.

Music performance

All students of Music (Board) courses are examined in music performance. Depending on the student's choice of electives, this may contribute between 10% and 70% to the 2 Unit Course 1 total examination mark. In Music 2/3 Unit, performance is worth between 20% and 50% and in Music 3 Unit, students may specialise totally in performance. Candidates may present solo and/or ensemble performances using instruments or voice.

Design and Technology

A subject that particularly reflects the contemporary flavour of the 1997 Higher School Certificate is Design and Technology. Introduced for Year 12 students as an HSC course in 1994, Design and Technology has broadened the school approach to technology education.
It can include study of areas such as computer graphics, aquaculture, textiles, desktop publishing, building and construction, manufacturing and entertainment.

Design and Technology is one of the major subjects that offers students the chance to provide a submitted work as part of their Higher School Certificate.

Industry Studies

Candidates in Industry Studies present in one of three strands -- Hospitality, Metal and Engineering, or Retail. Retail students present for a practical exam based on responses to a video. Metal and Engineering and Hospitality students undertake and are examined on a practical task in the presence of two HSC examiners.

Classical Ballet, Dance, and Drama

Practical examinations for Classical Ballet 2/3 Unit and Dance 2 Unit were held at central metropolitan venues in August/September 1997. Performance in Classical Ballet 2 Unit contributes between 15% and 55% of the total examination mark, depending on the student's choice of electives. Performance in Dance 2 Unit contributes between 20% and 60% of the total examination mark, depending on the student's choice of electives.

Group performances and group presentations of an original devised piece of theatre in Drama 2 Unit were examined in schools throughout the metropolitan and country areas in September 1997. The group presentation is worth 35% of the total examination mark.

Projects and reports

Twelve courses require candidates to submit a project or report for examination. Students select and pursue an area of interest closely related to the basic concepts of the course. For example, Design and Technology 2 Unit candidates carry out a Major Design Project, which will result in a product, a system or an environment, and a folio documenting all aspects of the project. Music (Board) students may submit scores and tapes of their original compositions and arrangements and/or an extended essay on topic(s) from the syllabus, while the Society and Culture candidates complete a Personal Interest Project based on a topic related to the fundamental concepts of the course.

Languages

In 26 language subjects, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria cooperate to provide one common examination for students of these languages living anywhere in Australia. This means, for example, that a student of Hindi living in Broome will do the same examination as a student living in Sydney. Each student will receive recognition for their results from their own State or Territory certification authority. This is known as the NAFLaSSL (National Assessment Framework for Languages at Senior Secondary Level) Project.

Industrial Technology

1997 sees the return of Industrial Technology -- students were entered for the course and completed practical components in Wood, Metal, Industrial Drawing, Automotive, Electronics, Plastics or Ceramics.


Marking of the Higher School Certificate examinations

Security

A high level of security is maintained throughout the whole of the Higher School Certificate operation.

Security procedures include allowing entry to marking centres for authorised personnel only. Security guards are employed to guard each marking centre at all times, day and night.


Employment of markers

Approximately 7000 markers will mark the exams at 17 venues. They will be assisted by 700 clerical staff. The traditional centre at the RAS Showground and other centres in its vicinity comprise the largest marking centres, accommodating approximately 60 subjects. As well as those in Sydney, marking centres will be set up in Newcastle, Wollongong and Wagga Wagga as well as new centres in Lismore and Bathurst (see page 14).


Marking

A Supervisor of Marking is appointed to coordinate the marking of each subject. Supervisors of Marking ensure that markers are fully briefed at the beginning of the marking session.

The majority of HSC papers are marked by groups of markers, marking together in centres established by the Board of Studies.


Reliability control measures

Generally, questions where a range of answers would be acceptable will be double marked. For example, all questions in subjects such as English and General Studies will be marked by two examiners. In the case of significant discrepancy between the marks awarded by these two examiners, additional independent marking is undertaken. Since different examiners are assigned to mark the various questions in the papers, in some subjects up to 10 different examiners are likely to mark a student's paper.

Questions or parts of papers where students are given detailed guidance as to the structure and nature of the answer required, and where the range of responses can be specified, will be marked by one examiner supported by a range of additional checks.

Where single marking is used, additional checking procedures are employed throughout the marking process. Where appropriate, these will include daily statistical checks.


Results

Students will be able to access their 1997 Higher School Certificate results on Friday, 2 January 1998 via the new automated phone service (see page 12). Students will still receive their results by mail, through Australia Post, on Tuesday, 6 January 1998.

All students who satisfactorily complete at least one HSC course will receive a Record of Achievement listing courses and results.

Those who have not followed the required HSC study program will receive a Higher School Certificate Record of Achievement but not a Higher School Certificate. Self-tuition students will receive only a Result Notice, which lists their results in each course satisfactorily completed.

On the back of the HSC Record of Achievement is an explanation of the way in which the Board determines the marks and percentile bands for each course.

All students will receive an application form for a clerical processing recheck. There is no provision for re-marking of papers, but a clerical recheck ensures that all answers have been marked, and that marks have been correctly allocated and computed.

UAC will send students separate advice of their Tertiary Entrance Rank shortly after the Board sends out students' HSC results. A TER is confidential and will only be known by the student, UAC and the universities to which the student applied.


Reporting of results in Board courses

Students' results in the various Board courses are reported by a scaled examination mark, a moderated school assessment mark and a percentile band that shows each student's relative position in that course.

Students who are absent from an examination for which they are entered, and who do not have an Illness/Misadventure appeal upheld, will receive neither an examination mark nor a moderated assessment for the paper concerned.


Scaled examination marks for Board courses

In all 2 unit courses the scaled examination mark is out of 100, with the median mark for all students set at 60. The pattern of marks in large candidature 2 unit courses except English 2 Unit Related will be such that:

  • 1-2% of candidates will be awarded marks of 90 or more;

  • approximately 25% of candidates will be awarded marks of 70 or more;

  • no less than 50% of candidates will be awarded marks of 60 or more;

  • no less than 75% of candidates will be awarded marks of 50 or more;

  • no more than 5% of candidates will be awarded marks of less than 30.


Variations of this pattern of marks will occur for students doing 1 unit, 3 unit and 4 unit courses. These variations will be explained in detail in the literature accompanying the Certificate or Result Notice.

In this context there is no `pass mark'. The current HSC is not designed to indicate the concept of passing or failing.


Reporting of results in Board Endorsed Courses

These courses are not examined by the Board and results are reported in terms of assessment marks submitted by schools and colleges. These marks are not moderated and cannot be compared with marks awarded in similar courses at other schools or for Board Developed Courses. Board Endorsed Courses have the symbol *** in the space designated for the examination mark.

Joint Secondary Schools/TAFE courses that are Board Endorsed Courses will also be reported as being either satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily completed.


Dual-accredited vocational HSC courses

In Industry Studies 2 Unit and vocational Content Endorsed Courses, a student log provides specific information on modules successfully completed for the course.

Students who successfully complete the Industry Studies 2 Unit course or a 240-hour vocational Content Endorsed Course will receive a Certificate issued by the Board of Studies under authorisation from the Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board (VETAB). Students who successfully complete modules that total less than 240 hours will receive Statement(s) of Attainment issued by the Board of Studies under authorisation from VETAB.


Result Notice

Result Notices are issued to students who are not enrolled at an accredited school or a school recognised by the Board. Such students cannot receive either a Record of Achievement or a Higher School Certificate testamur. The Result Notice is a cumulative record, which will list the courses satisfactorily completed and the results achieved.


The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER)

The Tertiary Entrance Rank (TER) is a number reported on a scale of 0 to 100 with intervals of 0.05. The TER is calculated by the University of Sydney (on behalf of universities in NSW and the ACT) and is based on a scaled aggregate calculated by using a student's best 10 units in Board Developed HSC courses, subject to the following restrictions: at least one unit of English must be included; at least one unit from each Key Learning Area group must be included; at most, two units of Category B courses may be included, and the TER may include units accumulated by a candidate over a total span of five years.

Students who do not attempt at least 10 units of Board Developed Courses are not eligible for a TER. Board Endorsed Courses do not count towards the TER.

The Board of Studies reports the marks for each course on the Record of Achievement. It is not valid to add the Board's marks for each course as doing so takes no account of the comparative difference between candidates in different courses.

The University of Sydney calculates the TER using a scaling process that enables marks obtained in different courses to be added together for tertiary entrance purposes. It should also be stressed that the TER is a rank or position, not a mark.

The TER shows where a student stands in relation to all other Higher School Certificate students for whom a TER was calculated. The TER ranks students in order of merit.

Students on the top rank will receive a TER of 100. TERs of less than 15 are reported as `15.00 or below'.

Students will receive advice of their TER from the Universities Admissions Centre on a separate document, in a separate envelope, from their HSC examination results.

Students will only receive a TER if they have requested it on their HSC entry form. Their results are then forwarded to the Universities Admissions Centre, which will then send students their TER results.


Tertiary entry

Students will only receive a TER from UAC if they request it. UAC will send the student separate advice of their TER.

A student's TER is confidential and will only be known by the student, UAC and the university to which the student applies.


HSC Examination Inquiry Centre

The Board of Studies will run an Inquiry Centre to support the release of the HSC Examination Results.

This year students will be able to get their results by phone from Friday, 2 January 1998, as well as by post on Tuesday, 6 January 1998 (see page 12). The Inquiry Centre will open from 9 am on Friday, 2 January 1998. It will be staffed by the Board Liaison Officers, Board of Studies officers and personnel from government and non-government schools.

The HSC Examination Inquiry Centre provides an opportunity for students to discuss any queries regarding their Higher School Certificate results.

Personnel at the HSC Examination Inquiry Centre are able to answer questions about results only. Inquiries in relation to university admissions and post-secondary education should be directed to the Universities Admissions Centre or the Advisory Centres for Students and School Leavers.


The Higher School Certificate Curriculum

The Higher School Certificate study program

To qualify for the 1997 Higher School Certificate, students must study a pattern of Preliminary and HSC courses. Both patterns must comprise at least 11 units of study including:

  • at least two units of English

  • at least one unit from Key Learning Area Group 1 (Science/Mathematics/ Technological and Applied Studies [TAS])

  • at least one unit from Key Learning Area Group 2 (Languages Other Than English [LOTE]/Human Society and Its Environment [HSIE]/Personal Development, Health and Physical Education [PDHPE]/Creative Arts)

  • at least 6 units of Board Developed (examination) Courses.

Students may undertake a combination of Board Developed and Board Endorsed Courses to make up the 11 required units for both the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate patterns. However, at least six of these units must be Board Developed Courses for the students to be eligible for the award of the Higher School Certificate.


Types of courses

The Preliminary and HSC courses fall into a number of categories.

Board Developed Courses

These are courses that are set and externally examined by the Board of Studies, eg English, Mathematics, Biology, Computing Studies and Visual Arts.

Distinction Courses

Distinction Courses are high-level HSC courses delivered by universities through distance education. The courses consist of 2 units of study, which are additional to the required 11 units of HSC study but can be counted towards the calculation of the TER. In 1997 three Distinction Courses were offered -- Cosmology, Comparative Literature and Philosophy.

Board Endorsed Courses

These include courses that may be developed by schools or colleges of TAFE but not examined by the Board. Board Endorsed Courses are designed to meet the particular needs of their students and to extend the range of courses offered. These courses must be endorsed by the Board of Studies for inclusion in an HSC program of study.

Generally, there are two broad requirements for the endorsement of a Board Endorsed Course:

  • the course must offer subject matter for study that does not duplicate an existing Board course;

  • it must meet the Board's requirements for course aim and objectives, content, assessment of student achievement and course evaluation. These courses must be as challenging as Board Developed Courses, of equivalent unit value and duration. Schools must complete a course evaluation as part of the endorsement process. After a course has been implemented for four years, it must be completely revised and re-submitted as a new course.


Categories of Board Endorsed Courses

Board Endorsed Courses fall into three categories: those developed by schools; those run in conjunction with colleges of TAFE, namely Joint Secondary Schools/TAFE (JSSTAFE) courses; and those developed from exemplary school-developed courses and used by the Board of Studies.

The flexibility that these three approaches give to schools means that local resources and personnel can be used most effectively to the advantage of students.

Students who satisfactorily complete JSSTAFE courses have the added advantage of receiving accreditation from both the Board of Studies and TAFE. Other courses attract industry-recognised accreditation.


Board Endorsed Courses in the 1997 HSC

A variety of Board Endorsed Courses is available for HSC candidates in 1997. Popular areas of study include:

Religious Studies

Visual Arts, Ceramics
Interpreting and Translating Business Management
Technology: Graphic Design Health Studies
Parenting and Child Care  



Joint Secondary Schools/TAFE courses

There is a wide range of Content Endorsed Courses available in conjunction with TAFE. JSSTAFE courses are externally examined by TAFE. Popular areas include:

 

Office Skills

Hospitality Studies
Automotive Studies Rural Studies
Child Studies  



Content Endorsed Courses

Content Endorsed Courses (CECs) were introduced in 1985. The courses are endorsed by the Board to cater for a wide candidature. Course outlines have been distributed to all secondary schools in NSW and any school may implement any course that meets the needs of its own students.

Currently there are 17 such courses:

Drama and Theatre

Religion Studies
Practical Writing Skills Skills for Living
Ceramics Horticulture
Computing Applications History for Leisure
Environmental Studies Studies in Dance
Exploring Early Childhood Mass Media Studies
Marine Studies Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation Studies
Photography Work Studies
Visual Design  


The assessment marks for Content Endorsed Courses do not contribute to the TER, but satisfactory achievement is recorded on the appropriate Record of Achievement.



Dual-accredited vocational HSC courses

These courses contribute to the Higher School Certificate and can be either 1 or 2 units. The courses have the following features:

  • they are dual-accredited; that is, accredited by the Board of Studies for HSC purposes and the Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board (VETAB) for industry purposes;

  • they are arranged in a modular structure;

  • successful completion of modules ensures advanced standing into TAFE and a range of traineeships and apprenticeships;

  • students can be taught in a variety of settings, including school, TAFE or in an accredited industry training situation;

  • students spend at least a third of course time in an industry workplace. This placement will enable students to gain quality, structured training in a real workplace setting;

  • in addition to the Higher School Certificate, students will receive a credential issued by the Board of Studies under authorisation from VETAB for modules successfully completed;

  • are based on national training curriculum where available;

  • are written and assessed in competency-based terms.

Dual-accredited courses can be either Board Developed or Content Endorsed.

Industry Studies is the only Board Developed, dual-accredited vocational course. This course consists of three strands; Metal and Engineering, Hospitality, and Retail.

The dual-accredited vocational Content Endorsed Courses (CECs)are:

  • Hospitality CEC

  • Retail CEC

  • Office Skills CEC

  • Rural Industries CEC

  • Building and Construction CEC

  • Furnishing CEC

  • Electronics CEC



Units of study

Most subject areas have a number of courses that are divided into units of study. The number of units is based on the amount of indicative school time spent studying the course.

Most courses are at 2 unit level and most have a 3 unit additional course of study. Mathematics and Science both have a 4 unit additional course. Others, such as General Studies and Applied Studies, can only be studied as 1 unit courses.

Each unit requires approximately 60 hours of classroom study per year. Therefore, a student taking Science 4 Unit for Preliminary and HSC courses could expect to study that course for approximately 240 hours each year.

The higher unit values allow students with special aptitude for, or interest in, a particular course to study the content more deeply and pursue more of the available options.

There are three kinds of 2 unit courses:

  • 2 unit courses that lead to a 3 unit course in the subject

  • 2 unit courses that do not lead to a 3 unit course in the subject

  • 2 unit Z courses in Languages Other Than English, designed for students who begin study of the language for the Higher School Certificate.

3 unit courses: 3 unit courses incorporate all of a 2 unit course and, in the required additional timetabled school study, provide a deeper and more extensive treatment of the subject. Students in 3 unit courses sit for the paper for the 2 unit course (and any other submitted work required) and then will prepare for an additional paper and/or submitted works.

3 and 4 unit courses in Mathematics and Science: Mathematics 3 Unit is a course of study that incorporates all of the 2 unit course and would generally require 180 hours of timetabled school time in each of the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate courses.

Science 3 Unit is interdisciplinary and contains some Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geology. It requires 180 hours of timetabled school time in each of the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate components.

Mathematics 4 Unit incorporates all of the 3 unit course and would require approximately 180 hours of timetabled school time for the Preliminary component followed by 240 hours for the Higher School Certificate component.

Science 4 Unit requires 240 hours of timetabled school time for each of the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate courses.


NAFLaSSL

The National Assessment Framework for Languages at Senior Secondary Level (NAFLaSSL) is a joint venture by the States to provide a common syllabus and assessment scheme for 26 of the small candidature languages. Each participating State assumes responsibility for certain languages and writes the syllabuses, and sets and marks the examination papers that are used in all States.


Prescribed texts and works

For many subjects in the 1997 HSC there are prescribed texts, topics, projects and works that students will have studied specifically for the examination. These texts and topics were determined at least two years in advance of their inclusion to ensure that schools were able to plan ahead. 1998 HSC course prescriptions and other important information are now set out in detail in the eight new Key Learning Area Handbooks, which were dispatched to schools in Term 1, 1997.


Board of Studies NSW

The Board of Studies NSW, established by the Education Reform Act 1990, is responsible for the Higher School Certificate and the School Certificate, curriculum developments, and registration and accreditation of non-government schools.


Board members

The membership of the Board includes a full-time President and three ex-officio members, with the remaining 19 members being appointed by the Minister for Education and Training as nominees of particular organisations or persons with identified knowledge or expertise.

The President of the Board of Studies since March 1994, Mr G G (Sam) Weller, retired in September 1997. Mr Warren Grimshaw is interim President of the Board until 5 December 1997.

Board Members

Representing

Mr Warren Grimshaw


President


Dr Terry Burke
Nominee of the Director-General of School Education

Ms Judy Byrne
Nominee of the Managing Director, Technical and Further Education Commission

Ms Jane Diplock
Director-General, Department of Training and Education Coordination

Professor Jeremy Davis
Nominee of the New South Wales Vice-Chancellors' Committee

Mr Ian Morris
(representing parents of primary school children)
Nominees of the Council of the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales

and


Ms Dianne Butland
(representing parents of secondary school children)


Dr Brian Croke
Nominee of the Catholic Education Commission of New South Wales

Position currently vacant
Nominee of the Association of Independent Schools, the Headmasters' Conference and the Association of Heads of Independent Girls Schools

Ms Kitty Guerin
Non-government school teacher being a nominee of the Independent Education Union

Dr Gregory Haines
Parent of a child attending a non- government school, being a nominee of the Catholic Education Commission, New South Wales and the New South Wales Parents Council

Mr Terry Sanders
(representing primary schools)
Principals of government schools, one being a nominee of the New South Wales Council of Primary School

and


Mr Bernard Shepherd
(representing secondary schools)
Principals and the other being a nominee of the New South Wales Council of Secondary School Principals

Mr Charles Simpson
(primary school teacher)
Nominees of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, one being a primary government school teacher

and


Ms Mary Fogarty
(secondary school teacher)
(other than a principal) and the other being a secondary government school teacher (other than a principal)

Dr Sue Dockett
Person with knowledge and expertise in early childhood education

Ms Linda Burney
Aboriginal person with knowledge and expertise in the education of Aboriginal people

Mr Stepan Kerkyasharian AM
Five other persons having, in the Minister's opinion, qualifications or experience that enables them to make a valuable contribution to primary or secondary education in New South Wales

Dame Leonie Kramer AC


Dr Gregory Hotchkis


Professor Jillian Maling AM


Mr Tony Selmes


In relation to the Higher School Certificate, the Board is responsible for:

  • developing and endorsing courses of study;

  • making arrangements for conducting examinations and student assessments;

  • regulating the conduct of examinations and assessments, and the recording of students' achievements in them;

  • granting the Higher School Certificate;

  • providing the Preliminary and HSC Records of Achievement and/or Result Notices;

  • providing advice and assistance to students, employers and the public regarding the nature and content of secondary courses, assessment and examination procedures, and the reporting of students' achievements in them.

The Board has a number of standing committees that make recommendations to the Board concerning syllabus and examination requirements.



Staff of the Office of the Board of Studies

The staff of the Office of the Board of Studies involved with the Higher School Certificate provide administrative, technical and professional support in the following areas:

  • designing Higher School Certificate courses

  • preparing Higher School Certificate examination papers

  • planning, conducting, marking and processing Higher School Certificate examinations

  • processing student assessments

  • issuing the certificate, Records of Achievement and/or Result Notices

  • conducting statistical analyses

  • setting up the Higher School Certificate Examination Inquiry Centre

  • advising schools of Board policy and procedures directly and through Board Liaison Officers

  • communicating information about the Higher School Certificate to school students, parents and the community

  • facilitating and coordinating the HSC Advice Line

  • developing high-profile exhibitions to demonstrate achievements and excellence at HSC level.

Staff of the Office of the Board of Studies also provide similar support to the committees of the Board that deal with the School Certificate.


Board of Studies Liaison Officers

The Board of Studies has ten Board Liaison Officers (BOSLOs) located across the State.

A Board of Studies Liaison Officer is:

  • the Board's representative who works closely with government and non-government schools;

  • the immediate contact person within a region for any inquiries from interested parties on Board-related matters;

  • a communications link between the Board and schools;

  • available to assist schools in design, implementation and evaluation of their assessment programs;

  • the coordinator of Board Endorsed Courses and Joint Secondary Schools/TAFE programs within the region;

  • a member of the Higher School Certificate Illness/Misadventure Appeals Review Panel;

  • involved in the Higher School Certificate Examination Inquiry Centres to assist students with interpretation of their Higher School Certificate results.

The Board of Studies Liaison Officer may assist with:

  • statistics on course entries for the region;

  • factual information concerning the Higher School Certificate such as the Higher School Certificate examination timetables, HSC eligibility and course requirements;

  • school liaison (in consultation with government and non-government school systems).

Board of Studies Liaison Officers are:

Metropolitan North

Metropolitan East
Ms Sandy Langford Ms Denise Harris
(02) 9367 8356 (02) 9568 8218
   
Metropolitan West Metropolitan North West
Mr Brett Harper Mr Chris Freeman
(02) 9683 9637 (02) 9683 9642
   
Hunter North Coast
Ms Jennifer Moody Ms Robyn Hawkshaw
(049) 24 9976 (066) 59 3274
   
North West Western
Ms Beverley Hobson Mr Greg Simpson
(067) 68 5843 (0263) 33 4299
   
Riverina South Coast
Mr Michael Lee Mr Col Anderson
(069) 21 0989 (042) 26 8260



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