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

Minimum standard online tests: Candidates sitting the tests after school

ACE 4065

Last Updated: 1 June 2021

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

Students who did not meet the HSC minimum standard while at school may apply to NESA to sit one or more minimum standard online tests. To be eligible, candidates must have fulfilled all other HSC requirements.

Applying to sit the minimum standard tests

Candidates who have left school may apply to NESA to sit the tests by submitting an application. The application must be submitted at least 21 days prior to the desired test date. NESA will contact candidates to schedule a test

Candidates may apply 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).

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

Candidates 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.

Cancelling or re-scheduling a test

Candidates have up to 24 hours prior to a scheduled test to cancel or re-schedule the test. If a student does not attend a scheduled test attempt, and no evidence of illness or misadventure is provided (see below), NESA will consider that a real attempt, and candidates will be required to wait the requisite 30 calendar days before making another attempt.

Minimum standard test conduct, equipment and rules

Candidates must have appropriate supervision while sitting the minimum standard tests. NESA will make suitable arrangements directly with test candidates.

The minimum standard tests are delivered via a lockdown browser, which must be installed on the device used to undertake the tests. This may be the candidate’s own device, or a device provided by a testing venue. Tests must be undertaken using equipment approved by NESA.

Candidates 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 to ensure it is blank.

The following 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 use 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

NESA will review any instances of suspected malpractice or breaches of 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 candidate’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 candidate’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 candidate’s behalf
  •    breaching school examination rules
  •    using non-approved aids
  •    assisting another student to engage in malpractice.

Results from a test where a candidate 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, candidates 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 attending a test or making a reasonable attempt due to a verified illness or misadventure, the student may re-sit the test at another time.

If an incident occurs before a test starts, NESA can arrange for the student to sit the test later.

If the incident occurs during a test, the student may request that NESA cancel the test, so that it does not count as a test attempt, and arrange another test time.  

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

NESA makes no provision for marks from any other test or assessment to be substituted for minimum standard online test results.

For more information

More information about the minimum standard tests is available on the NESA website.