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Assessment Certification Examination (ACE)
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

Minimum standard online tests

ACE 4062

Last Updated: 25 August 2023

Students in Years 10 to 12 may demonstrate the HSC minimum standard by achieving Level 3 or above in the NESA minimum standard online reading, writing and numeracy tests.

Principals must nominate a test coordinator to administer the minimum standard tests.

Student entries for the minimum standard tests

Students who are in Years 10 and 11 may sit for each minimum standard test no more than four times per calendar year (i.e. four reading test attempts per year, four writing test attempts per year and four numeracy test attempts per year).

Students who are in Year 12 may sit for each minimum standard test no more than six times (i.e. six reading test attempts in Year 12, six writing test attempts in Year 12 and six numeracy test attempts in Year 12).

All students reattempting a test in the same domain must wait at least 30 calendar days after their previous attempt at that test.

Students may not sit for a minimum standard reading, writing or numeracy test if they have already demonstrated the HSC minimum standard (ACSF Level 3) in that test domain, unless they are leaving school.

Minimum standard test conduct, equipment and rules

Students must be supervised while sitting the minimum standard tests. Test Coordinators will work with principals and other teaching staff to arrange appropriate supervision.

The minimum standard tests are delivered via a lockdown browser, which must be installed on the device used to undertake the tests. Schools can decide whether the tests will be taken using school computer equipment or student laptop/tablet devices.

Students may take a pen/pencil and a ruler into the minimum standard tests, and may use blank paper for working out. The paper must be checked by a test supervisor or NESA representative before the test begins to ensure it is blank.

The following other items are not permitted to be used:

  • calculators (where a numeracy question requires the use of a calculator, an online calculator will appear with the question)
  • mobile phones, smart watches or programmable watches and other electronic devices, such as but not limited to: tablets, gaming devices, music players
  • dictionaries or translation apps/devices
  • notes
  • headphones.

Students are not permitted to leave the test window, view any other websites during a test or access notes or unauthorised materials during the test. All work in a minimum standard test must be the student’s own work.

Malpractice and breaches of minimum standard test rules

Malpractice is defined as behaving dishonestly to gain an unfair advantage in assessments. It includes, but is not limited to:

  • copying part or all of someone else’s work and presenting it as the student’s own
  • using material directly from books, journals, or the internet
  • building on the ideas of another person without reference to the source
  • buying, stealing or borrowing another person’s work and presenting it as the student’s own
  • submitting work to which another person, such as a parent, coach or subject expert, has contributed substantially
  • paying someone to write or prepare material or undertake an exam on the student’s behalf
  • breaching school examination rules
  • using non-approved aids
  • assisting another student to engage in malpractice.

Schools must notify NESA of any instance of suspected malpractice or breaches of test rules as soon as possible after the test has been completed by completing the form HSC Minimum Standard Literacy and Numeracy Tests: Suspected Breach of Test Rules or Malpractice. Notifications must be forwarded to studentsupport@nesa.nsw.edu.au.

Results from a test where a student has been found guilty of malpractice or a breach of test rules may not be used to demonstrate achievement of the HSC minimum standard. In some cases, penalties may be extended to other HSC exam results.

Illness/misadventure for the minimum standard tests

Where a student is prevented from a reasonable attempt at a test due to school-verified illness or misadventure, the student may re-sit the test at another time.

If an incident occurs before a test starts, the school can arrange for the student to sit the test at another time.

If the incident occurs during a test, the school may:

  • arrange for the student to sit another test at another time, and
  • request that NESA cancel the test so it does not count as a test attempt.

Illness/misadventure enquiries should be forwarded to LNsupport@nesa.nsw.edu.au.

NESA makes no provision for school-based assessment or estimated marks to be substituted for minimum standard online test results.

For more information

More information about the minimum standard tests, including advice for test coordinators and supervisors, and technical specifications for operating the tests, is available on the NESA website and on Schools Online. On Schools Online, navigate to: Downloads > Memos and Documents > Minimum Standard Tests.