A NSW Government website
Assessment Certification Examination (ACE)
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

About ACE

Legislation, NESA and Assessment Certification Examination (ACE) online

The NSW Education Standards Authority, referred to as NESA, is responsible for school curriculum, assessment, and teaching and regulatory standards in NSW schools.NESA replaced the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) on 1 January 2017.

NESA has responsibility for the development of curriculum and curriculum support materials for all schools in New South Wales from Kindergarten to Year 12 and for the development and conduct of examinations leading to the award of the Higher School Certificate and the Record of School Achievement.

The Education Standards Authority Act 2013 , the Education Act 1990 (NSW) and the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 are the legislative basis of the NESA operation.

These Acts also empower NESA to make Rules, consistent with the Acts or associated Regulations, which require the approval of the Minister.

The term ‘requirements’ is used in this manual to refer to matters that may be covered by a combination of the Act itself, the Regulations, Rules and other requirements the Minister or NESA may impose.

NESA is empowered to make such arrangements and set down such procedures as may be necessary to carry out its functions.

Delegation by NESA

The Education Standards Auhority Act 2013 (NSW) allows NESA to delegate to an authorised person or body the exercise of any of its functions under the education and teaching legislations (defined as the Education Standards Auhority Act 2013 (NSW), the Education Act 1990 and the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004).

NESA has delegated certain functions to its President, committees, members of staff and school principals.

ACE online

Assessment Certification Examination (ACE) provides current, easily accessible information to principals, teachers, parents and students about the rules and procedures set by NESA for secondary education in New South Wales.

The Higher School Certificate

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is awarded to students who satisfy requirements, generally after completing two years of study (Years 11 and 12), although NESA pathways provisions allow students a longer completion period. ACE sets out the rules, requirements and procedures for the HSC.

The details of all the examinable topics, and the experiences necessary for completing each Board Developed Course, are contained in the following documents:

  1. NESA syllabuses, and assessment and reporting documentation
  2. prescribed text and specifications documents
  3. Official Notices and syllabus version logs.

The Record of School Achievement

The Record of School Achievement (RoSA) is a cumulative credential showing Year 10 grades as well as any grades for Year 11 (Preliminary) courses completed. 

ACE reflects the recent legislative and policy changes associated with the Record of School Achievement in Stage 5. NESA policies in relation to Years 7–10 curriculum are incorporated in the ACE website.

Dates and events

All important dates and events that require action by NESA and individual schools in relation to assessment, examination and certification for the ROSA and the  HSC are listed in the  Timetable of Actions for Secondary Schools.