Explaining the Minimum Standards for a Stronger HSC

There are a lot of different ideas floating around about the new Minimum Literacy and Numeracy Standards in place for the new Stronger HSC Standards.

This has in turn led to a lot of confusion, and like with anything new, a lot of anxiety amongst students, parents and teachers alike.

The new Minimum Standard is a nationally agreed standard of functional literacy and numeracy, which is the equivalent of Australian Core Skills Framework (ASCF) Level 3. This is the same level that someone attains if they achieve a Band 8 on NAPLAN in year 9, and is different to the National Benchmark, which for year 9 Students is Band 6.

It has been put in place to support the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy for 2017 – 2020.

Students can meet the standard in various ways, the first of these is to obtain a Band 8 in Writing, Reading and Numeracy NAPLAN tests. Historically only 30% of the candidature across the state would be able to achieve this level.

There are many opportunities to meet the standard up until 5 years after the student has sat for the HSC, with a minimum of two online testing periods being organised each year, starting at the end of year 9.

The student will only have to sit the exam for which they did not achieve a Band 8, and they can sit them as many times as needed to meet this target.

The student will not have to sit year 9 NAPLAN again.

Even if they don’t achieve a Band 8 in year 9, students will still be able to:

  • Complete year 10
  • Complete all stage 6 Subjects
  • Be awarded a Record of School Achievement
  • Receive an ATAR
  • Apply and enter University and attain a degree
  • Enter TAFE and complete Vocational training.

Not achieving a Band 8 in Numeracy does not mean that they have to study a mathematics course in year 11 and 12, though it is advisable, and the new courses developed in the Stage 6 are designed to give students the numeracy skills needed for everyday life, work and further education.

The one thing that they will not achieve is the credential titled the Higher School Certificate. There are some jobs that require this qualification.

Students who study life-skill courses in year 9, 10, 11 or 12 will be exempt from this standard.

Like most new policies, it does take time for information to become fully understood, and there may be some changes to the fine detail, though the information supplied here has come from the New South Wales Education Standards Authority (NESA).

If you have any further questions about this new Standard, please do not hesitate to call the school and speak to Mr Quince.

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