Minimum standard online tests

ACE 4062

Last Updated: 26 June 2020

This rule is affected by changes made to RoSA and HSC rules and requirements in 2020.

Find these amendments in our COVID-19 ACE rule.

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

Schools may enter students no more than four times per calendar year to sit for each minimum standard test (ie four reading test attempts per year, four writing test attempts per year and four numeracy test attempts per year).

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. The test supervisor will provide paper once students enter the test room. Students cannot bring their own paper into the test room. Paper must be checked by a test supervisor before the test 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
  • dictionaries
  • notes

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.

Malpractice and breaches of minimum standard test rules

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. Notifications should be forwarded to

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 addition, students found to have engaged in malpractice, breach of test rules or have written a response considered offensive may not be permitted to re-sit the test for a period of up to 12 months.

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 later in the same test window.
  • If the incident occurs during a test, the school may:
    • arrange for the student to sit another test at another time, or
    • request that NESA cancel the test, which would allow re-enrolment in the same test at another time.

Illness/misadventure enquiries should be forwarded to

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.