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  5. Maintaining HSC examination integrity
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Maintaining HSC examination integrity

The Higher School Certificate is a highly respected credential that is recognised for its standards of integrity. BOSTES conducts a range of programs to maintain this standard, ensuring that all examination responses represent the work of the student with no inappropriate assistance.

The relatively small number of cases noted below should be considered in the context of over 70,000 students attempting over 500,000 examination papers. All examinations are independently supervised and students are reminded of the rules at the start of every exam. Students cannot enrol in their HSC year until they have completed BOSTES All My Own Work ethical scholarship program. Read more about the background to these cases.

Breach of examination rules and malpractice Non-certification of project Non-serious attempt

Description

A breach of examination rules occurs when a student introduces unauthorised notes or equipment in an examination, or is otherwise disrespectful of the examination conditions. A breach of examination rules is deemed to be malpractice when the student uses the notes or equipment to gain an unfair advantage in the examination.

Description

Students submitting a major project are required to have the project certified by their teacher, that all work has been undertaken by the student, or that necessary outsourcing has been attributed. Principals advise BOSTES if a project cannot be certified. Statements from the student and the supervisor of marking are also considered.

Description

The HSC Rules and Procedures require students to attempt a range of questions throughout the examination paper. Attempting multiple-choice questions is not sufficient. Supervisors of marking report students who submit frivolous or objectionable material.

Case studies

  • A student brought unauthorised notes into the examination where they were found on the desk.
  • A student copied information from an electronic device. The student’s alternative explanation of ‘rote learning’ was not accepted.

Case studies

  • A student completed much of their project at home and did not provide for regular monitoring by the class teacher.
  • A student purchased and modified a commercial product and submitted it as their own project.

Case studies

  • A student attempted multiple-choice questions only and did not engage with other question types across the examination.
  • A student submitted an obscene response which was considered to be highly objectionable.

Penalty range

Minor breaches are dealt with during marking or by a warning. Cases of potential malpractice are referred to the Examination Rules Committee (ERC), a subcommittee of BOSTES. Penalties include a reduction in examination marks, zero marks for the examination or cancellation of the course.

Penalty range

Where it cannot be established that the project represents the student’s own work, penalties include a reduced mark or zero marks for the project. In some cases the project is accepted as the entire work of the student and the mark stands.

Penalty range

Students engaging in a non-serious attempt generally receive no result in that course. This in turn may jeopardise the award of the Higher School Certificate.

Number of ERC cases

  • 2015: 10
  • 2014: 21
  • 2013: 19
  • 2012: 15

Number of cases

  • 2015: 97
  • 2014: 115
  • 2013: 102
  • 2012: 118

Number of cases

  • 2015: 242
  • 2014: 323
  • 2013: 463
  • 2012: 236
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