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Frequently asked questions about Preliminary grading

Should English (Advanced) and English (Standard) A–E grades be placed on the same scale?
No. As with all other Preliminary courses, A–E grades are to be awarded for each course. The common grade scale for Preliminary courses needs to be considered in relation to the knowledge, skills and understanding of each course.
Are students in each Preliminary mathematics course (Mathematics General, Mathematics and Mathematics Extension) graded independently?
Yes. Students in each course are to be graded by considering the common grade scale for Preliminary courses in relation to the knowledge, skills and understanding of each individual Preliminary mathematics course.
Are A–E grades awarded to Year 11 students related to the HSC band they may achieve in the following year?
The A–E scale for Preliminary grades is not the same as the performance band descriptions used to apply standards to HSC results. The A–E Preliminary grades are an extension of the A–E grading system used in Years 7–10, and are not meant to be a predictor or indication of results beyond Year 11.
Are there pre-determined percentages for Preliminary A–E grades?
No. The proportion of A–E grades both in a particular school and across the state should reflect the number of students whose achievements in a course are best described by the appropriate descriptor in the common grade scale for Preliminary course.
How can school retention of Preliminary student work samples assist schools in awarding grades?
There are a number of ways in which schools can use student work samples to strengthen their understanding of standards. For more details, see Using student work samples.
Are grades required for English Studies?
Yes. A–E grades are to be awarded for all Board Developed and Board Endorsed courses (apart from Life Skills and VET courses). A–E grades for English Studies should be awarded using the common grade scale for Preliminary courses as they relate to the knowledge, skills and understanding of English Studies.
Can a student be awarded a grade A in English Studies?
Yes. If, in relation to the knowledge, skills and understanding of English Studies, a student can best be described in terms of the grade A description, then they should be awarded this grade.
Are A–E grades required for extension courses that are taught in Year 11?
Yes. A–E grades are to be awarded for all Board Developed and Board Endorsed courses (apart from Life Skills and VET courses).
Do we use A–E grades or A10–E2 grades for Preliminary mathematics courses?
Preliminary mathematics courses are graded using A–E grades as detailed in the common grade scale for Preliminary courses.
How can I compare A–E grades for the Preliminary Mathematics (‘2 unit’) and Preliminary Mathematics General courses?
As with any two different courses, students being awarded a particular grade (say an ‘A’ grade) in two different mathematics courses means that each of them can best be described by that common grade scale for Preliminary courses descriptor in relation to the knowledge, skills and understanding of that course. It would be invalid to relate a grade in Preliminary Mathematics General to a grade in Preliminary Mathematics (‘2 unit’).
If grades are based on holistic, professional judgements, do we need to have an assessment schedule with formal tasks?
The suggested methods for awarding grades are entirely consistent with the typical assessment schedules widely used in schools for both Preliminary and HSC assessment (see Awarding grades). However, the components and weightings for Preliminary courses are suggested only, and schools may vary both the assessment methods and components and weightings.
What is BOSTES providing to support consistency of grading across the state – or is it a school-based decision?
BOSTES has resources and advice on its website, professional development materials to facilitate consistency of judgement within and across schools, and a grade monitoring program that identifies and seeks to address anomalies in school grading patterns.
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