Meeting the new HSC standards

By Greg Whitby, 3 April 2019


Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta

If you have a son or daughter who is doing the Higher School Certificate (HSC) from 2020 onwards, then you need to be aware of something called the HSC minimum standards for literacy and numeracy. These standards have been introduced to ensure that all students from Year 10 have a foundational understanding of reading, writing and maths.

This doesn’t mean that students who don’t meet the minimum standards won’t be able to sit the HSC. In fact, students will be given two opportunities per year to undertake the online literacy and numeracy test from Year 10 up until a few years after Year 12.

However, what it will mean is that without passing the online test, students won’t receive the testamur or document that states that the student had met the requirements for the award of the HSC. They will still receive their record of achievement and an ATAR, meaning that they will still be able to apply for studies at university.

The HSC minimum standards replaces the previous policy that prevented students from sitting the HSC if they hadn’t achieved a Band 8 in Year 9 NAPLAN. It is no surprise that the policy was scrapped by the NSW Education Minister after an outcry from parents that it would create stress for many Year 9 students.

I am aware of one of our high achieving students from 2018 who gained early entry into a law degree who would not have been eligible to receive the HSC due to their Year 9 NAPLAN results. It just shows how the most well-intentioned policy can end up disadvantaging students.

If you are still unsure about what the HSC minimum standards will mean for your son or daughter, have a chat to your school. The standards are ultimately aimed at closing the literacy and numeracy gap to ensure that students have the skills they will need to succeed when their days at school are over.

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
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