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2009 HSC Notes from the Marking Centre – Industrial Technology



This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 course in Industrial Technology. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2009 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

This document should be read along with the relevant syllabus, the 2009 Higher School Certificate examination, the marking guidelines and other support documents which have been developed by the Board of Studies to assist in the teaching and learning of Industrial Technology.

Teachers and students are advised that, in December 2008, the Board of Studies approved changes to the examination specifications and assessment requirements for a number of courses. These changes will be implemented for the 2010 HSC cohort. Information on a course-by-course basis is available on the Board’s website.

General comments

Teachers and candidates should be aware that examiners may ask questions that address the syllabus outcomes in a manner that requires candidates to respond by integrating the knowledge, understanding and skills they developed through studying the course.

Candidates need to be aware that the mark allocated to the question and the answer space (where this is provided on the examination paper), are a guide to the length of the required response. A longer response will not in itself lead to higher marks. Writing far beyond the indicated space may reduce the time available for answering other questions.

Candidates need to be familiar with the Board’s Glossary of Key Words which contains some terms commonly used in examination questions. However, candidates should also be aware that not all questions will start with or contain one of the key words from the glossary. Questions such as ‘how?’, ‘why?’ or ‘to what extent?’ may be asked or verbs may be used which are not included in the glossary, such as ‘design’, ‘translate’ or ‘list’.

Major project

Teachers and candidates are reminded that Major Projects should be submitted on the date set down by the Board of Studies, ready to be marked. No further work on any part of the Major Project should be carried out after the submission date.

Folios that reflected the syllabus, and set out the information clearly and logically, scored substantially better marks than those that were irregularly and inconsistently presented. Candidates and teachers should be made aware that if some sort of teacher-based or textbook-based template is used, the candidate’s contribution must be clearly explained. In many folios that used these templates, examiners could not readily identify the candidate’s input to the work.

Design and management

Many candidates produced a quality product, but devoted insufficient time and effort to the accompanying folio. Teachers need to highlight the importance of this folio and its role in the marking process. The major projects, particularly in Multimedia Industries, are submitted in their completed form. Many different processes have been involved in the development of these projects. Much of this is not apparent in the completed project and it is only through the folio that the examiners are able to understand the full input of the candidate. Multimedia candidates should investigate computer software that allows them to take clear screen shots of their work as it develops.

The statement of intent needs to be written as a clear statement of how the student will approach the major project. Candidates are reminded that this statement gives the foundation for their research and planning and should give details of where they are heading with the project. Candidates also need to realise that the project presented is marked in relation to their statement of intent. What the examiner sees should be the same as, or at least similar to, what was intended. Better responses related the ‘what’ to ‘why’ and ‘how’ and also gave details of ‘where’ and ‘how’ information would be sought in order to fulfil their requirements and/or where the project would be put to use. Simple statements of what candidates want, intend, or need to make are not sufficient.

Research and information gathering should be relevant to the project as outlined in the statement of intent. Any collection of brochures, catalogues, company information and downloads from web pages must relate to the project being constructed, and it should be clearly evident that the candidate has used the information in some way. Better responses showed clearly what information had been gained and how it would be used with the project. They also included a brief, to-the-point evaluation of the research for each item, process or material, as part of ongoing evaluation.

Timelines and finance plans were usually presented well and in a variety of ways. Candidates need to be sure to add detail in these plans and not restrict them to a few general headings. Research, for example, needs to include details of type, how and/or where. It is also important to note that these time and finance plans must include both a proposed plan and an actual plan and not be written after the event.

Most candidates commented in some detail regarding the personal protective equipment (PPE) aspects of OHS, especially when using machinery in the workshop. Better responses outlined the OHS concerns associated with the processes being considered, the safe handling of materials, adhesives and finishes as well as both the physical handling and the chemical/dust concerns, not just PPE for machine use and the safe handling of tools, etc.


In most instances, candidates successfully used a variety of communication techniques to complete the Design, Management and Communication folio. Better folios used sophisticated CAD drawings, digital images and a variety of output devices to produce a quality of folio approaching professional desktop publishing. Very few candidates completed the folio with no ICT skills being apparent, even the weakest folios used word-processing and spreadsheets.

Sketching of ideas and their development was not particularly strong, with some exceptions. Most candidates included some rough, and in some cases, almost unidentifiable sketches without any annotation. Candidates must remember that this section of the folio communicates to the examiner how they arrived at their final design, or how an original design was modified. All of their sketches should be included and they must be clearly annotated. Annotations should be precise and related to the sketch. Each sketch should lead the examiner from where the candidate started to where they finished.


Projects should also be of sufficient rigour to allow the candidate to fully satisfy the marking criteria for the major project.

Candidates should also allow themselves sufficient time to produce a ‘quality’ finish. Too many projects were let down by insufficient surface preparation or by lack of patience in applying the finish to the work. Metal projects were in many cases roughly finished, often with welding spatter clearly not removed and sharp and dangerous edges still evident. Timber projects often are treated to only a rudimentary quick sanding and application, usually roughly brushed on.

Candidates should present as much supporting material as possible with their projects. Jigs, models, prototypes, preliminary sketches, working rods and all other material used during construction identifies a broader range of skills and techniques that may have otherwise been overlooked.

Many candidates used some degree of outside help and/or resources. Care must be taken to fully document outside resources in the folio. Candidates will not be given credit for work done by others. (See Assessment and Reporting in Industrial Technology Stage 6, page 9)

Candidates for Multimedia Industries and Electronics Industries must be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure that their project is fully operational at the time of marking.

Weaker Multimedia Industries projects contained downloaded material from sources found on the internet. This is not a recommended practice and should be discouraged. As is the case with all focus areas, any work that is not the work of the candidate should be acknowledged as such.

Often, Multimedia Industries responses did not fully show how their projects evolved. They need to present the development of the project as well as the final product. Weaker Multimedia Industries responses showed little evidence of storyboarding, sketching or planning. Better responses used screen dumps, dated and initialled by their teachers at regular intervals to give a clear indication of project development. These better responses also used a range of processes that included video, digital imaging and web design. Weaker responses used simple hyper-linking techniques to relate imported objects or used only one or two basic software packages.

Weaker Multimedia Industries responses often contained long video presentations that, despite their length, failed to show a range of skills. Candidates should be aware that the length of video presentations has no bearing on the marks awarded. In most cases a lengthy video showing a limited range of skills will be awarded lower marks than a short, concise presentation showing a wide range of skills in its development, production and presentation. Some weaker Multimedia Industries Design, Management and Communication folios consisted of a conglomeration of information, often without headings or organisation.

As many of the Multimedia Industries major projects use software packages that are not available in the school, it is essential that in such cases the work is presented on either the candidate’s own computer, or at least on one capable of running all the software used in its production, along with the final presentation.

Written examination

Section I

Question 1

  1. Most responses identified two appropriate strategies to maintain sales.
  2. Better responses identified possible changes and outlined the relationship between those changes and improvements to company efficiency. Mid-range responses identified possible changes to management structure.
  3. Most responses identified a suitable method for determining the decrease in demand. Better responses provided a description of the method and expanded upon this to explain why such a method might be appropriate to use.
  4. Responses typically demonstrated some understanding of the role of government legislation. Better responses provided a clear link between the relevant legislation and the impact that the legislation might have on the proposal. High-range responses identified more than one impact and articulated the relationship between these impacts and the relevant legislation.
  5. Most candidates were able to name an appropriate technology. Better responses listed positive and negative effects that the technology could have on both employee and company. Mid-range responses addressed the effects that this technology could have on the company or the employee. These responses demonstrated a depth of understanding by providing an analysis of the way in which the technology could impact on the company and employee.

Question 2

  1. Most candidates demonstrated an understanding of the term ‘workplace communication’ and were able to list two valid forms.
  2. Most candidates were able to identify issues that would affect personnel and give an outline of each issue. Weaker responses only named issues and did not give an outline, or else gave examples of issues not related to personnel.
  3. Most candidates gave examples of and discussed OHS practices that ensure a safe workplace. Better responses related the practices to the training process instead of OHS in general.
  4. Some candidates identified methods that did not relate to determining viability prior to production of the product. Better responses described ways of measuring viability before the company produced the product or service.
  5. Most candidates outlined how software was used in both design and production. Better responses also addressed the requirement to give value judgements. Some candidates evaluated software only in design or in production, but not both.

Question 3

  1. Most candidates listed two advantages of using freehand drawings to present initial design ideas.
  2. Most candidates explained why graphics are used in OHS signage and used an example to support their answer.
    1. Most candidates correctly calculated the information required to complete the table showing the weekly wages for IND TECH.
    2. Most candidates graphed the weekly wages for each group of employees.
  3. Better responses provided characteristics and features of the advantages of using word processing to complete a management folio.
  4. Better responses determined the value of computer graphics to the annual report. Weaker responses neglected to evaluate their relevance to the annual report.

Section II

Focus area – Automotive Industries

Question 4

  1. Most candidates indicated why an oil change is a routine maintenance procedure, and included appropriate details as to why this procedure is important.
  2. Better candidates gave features of both petrol-driven and electric cars and how petrol engines and electric motors can work together.
  3. Better responses gave points both for and against diesel motors in modern cars. Some responses provided only a point for or a point against.
  4. Better responses gave a sequenced answer of how to secure a cylinder head to an engine block, mentioning all tools and procedures required for this operation. Others gave a general description only.
  5. Better responses named all of the major components of the cooling system and explained the function of each. Some better responses included the operation of an air-cooled vehicle as well as a water-cooled vehicle.

Question 5

  1. Most candidates listed two routine maintenance procedures to prolong the life of tyres on vehicles.
  2. Most candidates outlined the differences between drum and disc brakes, and used sketches in support of their answer.
  3. Many candidates indicated why panel replacement was now more popular than panel repair. Better responses discussed the differences in support of panel replacement.
  4. Many candidates gave examples of why complying with government and statutory regulations was important. Better responses explained the importance and supported their statements with one or more examples.

Focus area – Electronics Industries

Question 4

  1. Most responses displayed a good understanding of electrical fundamentals and provided the correct units for measuring electrical potential and electron flow.
  2. Most responses displayed a good knowledge of digital and analogue signals. A small number confused ‘analogue and digital’ with ‘AC and DC’.
    1. Most responses displayed sound knowledge of how to read a circuit diagram and complete a truth table.
    2. Most candidates did not name the ‘OR gate’ used in the truth table.
    1. Most responses displayed a good understanding of the nature of output waveforms as seen on a cathode ray oscilloscope.
    2. Some responses showed a very good understanding of the function of a capacitor and a bridge diode in a power supply circuit. A large number showed a lack of experience in analysing a basic power supply.
  3. Most responses showed adequate knowledge and understanding of the positive impacts of using LEDs in low voltage lighting applications. Responses tended to illustrate their understanding of LEDs with only one example.

Question 5

  1. Most responses named at least one variable resistor. Some showed very little understanding of what a variable resistor was.
    1. Most responses indicated a feature of a stepper motor or a free-running motor but did not explain how they differed. Some provided in-depth explanations of the difference between the two types of motor.
    1. Most responses identified a feature of a thermistor but failed to adequately outline its function in the circuit.
    2. Very few responses demonstrated a clear understanding between the operation of a general purpose transistor and a power transistor.
  2. Most responses provided a feature or characteristic of a solenoid and a relay but failed to address their similarities or differences.
  3. Mid-range responses demonstrated a good understanding of the technologies used to generate electrical energy in remote locations. Better responses included the storing of the electrical energy created. Most responses could give adequate examples of the technology used.

Focus area – Graphics Industries

Question 4

  1. Most candidates identified the architectural symbol for the door. Only a few correctly identified the symbol for the window.
  2. Most candidates understood that there was an advantage to using 3D drawings, and articulated this well. Many candidates gave more than one advantage of using 3D drawings.
  3. Most candidates sketched the camera in third-angle projection and correctly placed and aligned the views.
  4. A large number of candidates did not attempt this question. Of those who did, most identified the block shape; a number of them showed some understanding of perspective projection.
  5. Most candidates gave the main features of computer software packages, but few gave features of mechanical drawing.

Question 5

  1. Most candidates gave a reason why engineers use sectional drawings.
  2. A number of candidates explained that first- and third-angle projections were associated with orthogonal drawing. A smaller number clearly explained the difference.
  3. Most candidates identified an issue related to drawing standards. Fewer candidates provided points for and/or against these issues related to design and manufacture. Many responses confused drawing standards with safety standards and building regulations.
  4. Most candidates sketched most of the bearing accurately in isometric projection.
  5. Many candidates identified one or more presentation techniques. Fewer discussed in detail how these techniques help clients to visualise the concepts.

Focus area – Metals and Engineering Industries

Question 4

  1. Most responses mentioned two metals other than mild steel that could be used to construct the trailer tray. A few indicated little knowledge of metals other than mild steel.
  2. Mid-range responses named a number of methods of applying a corrosion-resistant finish, but many either did not outline how these methods were applied, or else outlined only one method.
  3. Most responses indicated a good knowledge of how to fabricate a tray from sheet metal, and provided a sketch in their answer.
  4. Most responses demonstrated a good knowledge of how to attach wheels to the chassis. Very few responses failed to identify a suitable method. Mid-range responses failed to provide enough characteristics and features of the processes they listed.
  5. Most responses gave an example of how to attach the tray to the trailer but did not describe the advantages/disadvantages of each method in enough depth. Mid-range responses listed some characteristics and features of methods of permanently joining the tray to the chassis, or the use of removable fasteners.

Question 5

  1. Most candidates had difficulty distinguishing between industrial methods and hand tools when referring to cutting the vice jaws from metal stock.
  2. Most responses named a method of attaching the handle caps to the handle but did not give sufficient details.
  3. Responses tended to focus only on the manufacture of the screw and not on the manufacture of the screw cap.
  4. Responses showed a lack of understanding of a logical sequence of steps on how to prepare the jaws and vice body for assembly using M6 x 1 CSK screws. Many responses exhibited minimal knowledge of tapping a thread.
  5. Most responses showed a good understanding of mass-production processes with cast iron. Many responses had difficulty in explaining processes using mild steel and were not confident with hot rolled steel cross-sections or general fabrication processes.

Focus area – Multimedia Industries

Question 4

  1. Candidates identified two suitable devices for capturing images.
  2. Most candidates were able to name an appropriate storyboard. Better responses clearly indicated the main feature of this storyboard.
  3. Better responses included characteristics and features of formatting text for web pages with points for or against each. Some candidates gave features of text layout, rather than formatting text.
  4. Better responses sketched, in general terms, the ethical implications for both the video store management and its customers. Mid-range responses identified ethical issues related to the proposal for placing downloadable movie soundtracks on their website for the video store or the customer.
  5. Better responses included a full range of characteristics and features of solutions to problems encountered by both web developers and users of websites. Mid-range responses sketched, in general terms, solutions to the problems of video clips but only for the developer or user. Weaker responses used only lists or points to identify problems of viewing video clips on the web.

Question 5

  1. Better responses identified two types of video files.
  2. Mid-range responses recognised a process for reducing the file size of a graphic, or named two compression techniques. Better responses recognised processes to reduce the file size of a graphic for use on a website.
  3. Mid-range responses sketched, in general terms, an animation technique. Better responses demonstrated their understanding of characteristics and features of a technique to create an animation. Most candidates identified features of an animation technique.
  4. Most responses identified features of tools that can be used to produce and publish a hard copy photo album from digital images. Better responses justified the use of appropriate tools.
  5. Mid-range responses identified characteristics and features of factors that can affect sound quality when creating or playing music sound files. Better responses described the relationship between these factors. Most candidates were able to sketch the factors in general terms factors.

Focus area – Timber Products and Furniture Industries

Question 4

  1. Candidates correctly listed two tools used to check if the gate frame is square.
  2. Most candidates described a method to support the gate structure and supported their answer with a relevant sketch. Better responses identified a method, such as diagonal bracing, to prevent the gate from sagging.
  3. Better responses correctly named two suitable materials and supported this with accurate justifications for each material. A basic response identified one suitable exterior material, with one appropriate justification.
  4. Most candidates did not address manufacturing or attaching the slats in sufficient detail. In general, candidates did not name appropriate tools and equipment or provide characteristics of relevant mass-production processes.
  5. Better responses identified tools and machines relevant to mass production. Responses that addressed the maintenance schedule demonstrated a superficial understanding of the issue, with many candidates not addressing this section of the question at all. Better responses described a maintenance sequence appropriate to mass production tools and machines.

Question 5

  1. Most candidates gave two correct responses.
  2. Candidates had trouble differentiating setting out and machining as distinct processes. Good responses described the processes of setting out using materials, jigs and templates as a process and then applying a machine tool operation to make a complete component.
  3. In their description and drawing, many candidates failed to mention the removability and sliding design of the glass door. ‘Detailed sketch’ involves providing labels and including a correct method of removability.
  4. Candidates generally used a sketch or a statement to identify a suitable type of joint. Some identified the joint and explained its purpose but did not relate this to the reason for choosing it. Better responses named the joint using cabinet-making practice terms and concepts related to strength of materials, types of materials and accepted industrial processes.
  5. This question was poorly answered regarding both the number of characteristics given and the omission of any relationship to ‘mass production’.


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