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Explaining the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) credentials

  1. What are the requirements for the Higher School Certificate?
  2. What are the requirements for the Record of School Achievement?
  3. What is a Transcript of Study?
  4. How are HSC courses reported?
  5. What is an HSC Course Report?
  6. How are Stage 6 Preliminary (Year 11) courses reported?
  7. How are Stage 5 courses reported?
  8. How are Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses reported?
  9. How are courses based on Life Skills outcomes reported?
  10. What are the Literacy and Numeracy Test Reports?

1 What are the requirements for the Higher School Certificate?

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Higher School Certificate (HSC), students must have:

  • satisfied the eligibility requirements for the Record of School Achievement (RoSA)or such other qualifications as the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) considers satisfactory
  • attended a government school or an accredited non-government school in NSW, a school outside NSW recognised by BOSTES, or a college of TAFE
  • satisfactorily completed the prescribed pattern of courses required by BOSTES for the award of the HSC (see below)
  • undertaken the requisite HSC external examinations to the satisfaction of BOSTES.

Patterns of study

To meet the course requirements for the HSC students must satisfactorily complete a Preliminary pattern of study comprising at least 12 units and an HSC pattern of study comprising at least 10 units. Both patterns must include:

  • at least six units from Board Developed Courses
  • at least two units of English
  • at least three courses of 2 unit value or greater (either Board Developed or Board Endorsed courses)
  • at least four subjects.

A unit of study comprises 60 hours indicative time in each of the Preliminary and HSC courses. Indicative time is the time expected for a student to typically achieve the objectives and outcomes of the course.

2 What are the requirements for the Record of School Achievement?

Eligibility and issuance

To be eligible for a Record of School Achievement (RoSA), students must have:

  • attended a government school or an accredited non-government school within NSW, or a school outside NSW recognised by BOSTES
  • satisfactorily completed the mandatory curriculum requirements (see below)
  • satisfactorily completed the required school-based assessment program
  • completed Year 10.

Mandatory curriculum requirements

The following are the BOSTES mandatory curriculum requirements for the award of a RoSA:

  • courses in each of English, Mathematics, Science, and Human Society and Its Environment are to be studied substantially throughout each of Years 7–10, with 400 hours in each to be completed by the end of Year 10. Included in the Human Society and Its Environment requirement are 100 hours each of History and Geography to be studied in both Years 7–8 and Years 9–10, and including Australian history and Australian geography
  • courses in each of Creative Arts and Technological and Applied Studies are to be studied, with 200 hours in each to be completed by the end of Year 10. Included in the Creative Arts requirement are 100 hours of Visual Arts and 100 hours of Music
  • a course in Personal Development, Health and Physical Education is to be studied in each of Years 7–10, with 300 hours to be completed by the end of Year 10
  • one language is to be studied for at least 100 hours, over one continuous 12-month period between Years 7 and 10, preferably in Years 7–8.

3 What is a Transcript of Study?

Students leaving school who receive a Transcript of Study have not met one or more of the requirements for an HSC or RoSA.

4 How are HSC courses reported?

The HSC Record of Achievement is issued to students who have met the requirements for the award of the HSC. It is a cumulative record of Preliminary and HSC courses satisfactorily completed.

Any courses undertaken but not satisfactorily completed are not reported.

Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary course (or its equivalent) is a prerequisite for entry into an HSC course.

A student is considered to have satisfactorily completed a course if, in the principal’s view, there is sufficient evidence that the student has:

  • followed the course developed or endorsed by BOSTES
  • applied themself with diligence and sustained effort to the set tasks and experiences provided in the course by the school
  • achieved some or all of the course outcomes.

In the case of HSC courses a student must also make a serious attempt at any external examinations.

For HSC courses the assessment mark, examination mark, HSC mark (average of the assessment mark and the examination mark) and performance band awarded are also listed where applicable. For 2-unit courses the maximum possible mark is 100, the lowest performance band is 1 and the highest performance band is 6.

For 1-unit courses the maximum possible mark is 50.

Extension courses are of 1-unit value and have a maximum possible mark of 50, with the exception of Mathematics Extension 2. There are four performance bands, with E1 the lowest and E4 the highest.

The HSC Record of Achievement also indicates that the student has completed all necessary requirements for the award of the HSC.

5 What is an HSC Course Report?

For every HSC Board Developed Course with an external examination that has been satisfactorily completed, a Course Report will be produced. The Course Report will show:

  • the name of the course and its unit value
  • the performance scale for the course, including the band descriptions that describe the syllabus outcomes in terms of the knowledge, skills and understanding typically demonstrated by students whose HSC marks fall within that band
  • the distribution of HSC marks awarded in the course.

In courses of 2-unit value a mark of 50 corresponds to the minimum standard expected. A student who is awarded a mark below 50 is still regarded as having received a result in the course. Courses of 1-unit value have a maximum possible mark of 50 with a mark of 25 corresponding to the minimum standard expected.

6 How are Stage 6 Preliminary (Year 11) courses reported?

Preliminary courses satisfactorily completed are shown on the HSC Record of Achievement and the RoSA.

Courses may be Board Developed Courses or Board Endorsed Courses. The RoSA includes the following information:

  • the indicative duration of the course (1 unit – 60 hours or 2 unit – 120 hours)
  • achievement in the course, generally reported as a grade, awarded by the student’s school in accordance with the BOSTES statewide standards (see below)
  • for courses designated as Life Skills courses, reference is made to the Profile of Student Achievement, which provides details of the Life Skills syllabus outcomes achieved by the student
  • for Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, a reference appears to the VET credentials earned by the student in undertaking the course.

Where applicable, Stage 6 Preliminary and Stage 6 HSC courses in which the student has participated, but not completed, at the date of leaving school are listed on the RoSA or Transcript of Study.

Stage 6 Preliminary grades

Grades A to E are awarded for Stage 6 Preliminary courses satisfactorily completed.

Grades are determined by relating each student’s achievements to the following common grade scale for Preliminary courses:

A - The student demonstrates extensive knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies highly developed skills and processes in a wide variety of contexts. In addition, the student demonstrates creative and critical thinking skills using perceptive analysis and evaluation. The student effectively communicates complex ideas and information.

B - The student demonstrates thorough knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies well-developed skills and processes in a variety of contexts. In addition, the student demonstrates creative and critical thinking skills using analysis and evaluation. The student clearly communicates complex ideas and information.

C- The student demonstrates sound knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies skills and processes in a range of familiar contexts. In addition, the student demonstrates skills in selecting and integrating information and communicates relevant ideas in an appropriate manner.

D - The student demonstrates a basic knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies skills and processes in some familiar contexts. In addition, the student demonstrates skills in selecting and using information and communicates ideas in a descriptive manner.

E - The student demonstrates an elementary knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies some skills and processes with guidance. In addition, the student demonstrates elementary skills in recounting information and communicating ideas.

7 How are Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) courses reported?

The RoSA reports on student achievement in all Stage 5 (Years 9 and 10) courses completed. Courses may be Board Developed Courses or Board Endorsed Courses. The RoSA includes the following information:

  • the indicative duration of the course (100 hours or 200 hours for Stage 5)
  • achievement in the course, generally reported as a grade, awarded by the student’s school in accordance with the BOSTES statewide standards (see below)
  • for courses designated as Life Skills courses, reference is made to the Profile of Student Achievement, which provides details of the Life Skills syllabus outcomes achieved by the student
  • for VET courses, a reference appears to the VET credentials earned by the student in undertaking the course.

Stage 5 grades

Grades A to E are awarded for Stage 5 courses satisfactorily completed. In Mathematics, the grades are further differentiated as A10, A9, B8, B7, C6, C5, D4, D3 or E2.

For each Board Developed Course, course performance descriptors (CPDs) have been developed, which describe in detail typical performance by students awarded each grade at the end of Stage 5.

Grades in other courses are determined by relating each student’s achievements to common grade scale descriptions.

The mandatory requirements in English, Mathematics, Science, Human Society and Its Environment, Languages, Technology, Music, Visual Arts, and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education are reported as ‘Completed’ on the Transcript of Study.

8 How are VET courses reported?

Students who have undertaken a VET course through their high school pattern of study may be issued with a VET qualification.

VET qualifications are based on nationally endorsed competency standards developed by the relevant industry group. VET qualifications are issued by a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

A VET Certificate is issued when a student has achieved all the units of competency required for the VET qualification. The Transcript of Competencies Achieved, which accompanies the VET Certificate, lists all the units of competency that have been achieved.

A Statement of Attainment is issued when a student has achieved one or more of the units of competency from a VET qualification. All the units of competency that have been achieved are listed on the Statement of Attainment.

Students may be awarded either a VET Certificate and a Transcript of Competencies Achieved, or a Statement of Attainment, depending on:

  • the competencies included in the VET course undertaken
  • the requirements for the award of the VET qualification
  • the achievement of competencies.

VET qualifications issued to a student by an RTO must be recognised by any other RTO. When students enrol in a related post-school VET qualification they should provide this vocational documentation to the RTO as verification of the units of competency and VET qualification they have achieved.

Further information on VET qualifications, units of competency and RTOs is available from training.gov.au

9 How are courses based on Life Skills outcomes reported?

The Profile of Student Achievement is issued to students who have satisfactorily completed one or more courses based on Life Skills outcomes and content. It is a record of the syllabus outcomes achieved by students in each course based on Life Skills outcomes and content studied.

Outcomes reported on the Profile of Student Achievement can be achieved independently or with support. Where a student has achieved an outcome with support, this is indicated against the outcome. Achievement of outcomes may be demonstrated in a range of school and community contexts.

The Profile of Student Achievement may also list outcomes achieved from an additional course(s) based on Life Skills outcomes and content in order to supplement the study undertaken in courses for which the student has been entered.

The additional course(s) will not be listed on the student’s Record of School Achievement.

10 What are the Literacy and Numeracy Test Reports?

Students may choose to sit for tests in Literacy and Numeracy. The tests are focused on the literacy and numeracy skills required by school-leavers for employment and further education.

The concepts of literacy and numeracy being tested have been drawn from the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF), developed and endorsed by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The ACSF describes five levels of performance in key skill areas that are essential for people to participate in our society: Learning, Reading, Writing, Oral Communication and Numeracy. The framework provides a consistent national approach to the identification of the core skills requirements and a common reference point for describing and discussing individual performance, strengths and areas for further support and learning.

The levels used for reporting performance in the Literacy and Numeracy tests are derived from Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the ACSF for Reading, Writing and Numeracy, with Level 1 being the lowest and Level 4 being the highest.

The maximum possible mark for each test is 80.

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