New HSC syllabus implementation

Joan Lemaire
Senior Vice President

Federation says exam specifications must be given

Federation wrote to the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) on 10 May calling for the immediate commencement of consultation around the exam specifications for new HSC syllabuses.

NESA responded by issuing the "Stronger HSC" update on 11 May, confirming that consultation on exam specifications for Stage 6 English, mathematics standard, science and history would commence on 12 May and close on 12 June. The proposals for the exam specifications are now available on the NESA website and members are encouraged to respond.

During Terms 1 and 2, NESA has issued a range of materials to support the implementation of the new syllabuses including sample scope, sequences and assessment schedules and sample teaching units for Years 11 and 12. An indicative timeframe and outline of further support materials was also provided.

NESA’s timeframe for release of support materials does not, however, state the Term 3 date for the release of exam specifications and advice around assessment in a standards-referenced framework. The failure of NESA to provide these specifications compromises the value of sample assessment tasks and makes planning for 2018 difficult. Since NESA has stated that assessment tasks cannot replicate the HSC, the value of these materials becomes questionable.

Federation has called for the release of the exam specifications by the commencement of Term 3. Without the exam specifications and assessment material teachers will be unable to give all of the necessary information and guidance to assist students in choosing the most appropriate courses.

Federation met the Department regarding the need for additional resources to support implementation. The Department has appointed four Project Officers for the period 29 May to 22 September. Their role includes supporting the Stage 6 maths, English, science, history (mEsh) writing project and working with the secondary Education curriculum advisors to develop and deliver professional learning activities and resources.

The mEsh writing project will include providing 60 project leaders based in their own schools with some release days.

In addition, a rural and remote virtual network and writing teams will be formed in the Wagga Wagga and Tamworth Operational Directorates. The Department will provide funding to Distance Education writing teams to complete units of work by the middle of Term 3.

June Council will monitor the progress of this matter and determine any action that might be required.

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