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

Development of HSC school-based assessment programs

ACE 8072

Last Updated: 25 August 2023

NESA's syllabus packages, including assessment and reporting documents, indicate the mandatory components for HSC assessment and the weightings to be attached to those components.

Each school will determine:

a. the practical and written tasks, such as tests, assignments or projects, on which their assessments are to be based

b. the weightings to be allocated to each task, except when these are specified in the syllabus package.

  1. Schools are required to develop an assessment program for each of their courses.

    This involves the following responsibilities:

    1. Number of tasks
      Identifying the number of tasks that will be used to measure students' achievement in each syllabus component.
    2. Weightings
      Allocating weightings to each of the tasks in accordance with the components and weightings in the Assessment and Reporting document for the course.
    3. Scheduling tasks
      Scheduling the assessment tasks for the HSC courses, being mindful of the demands these tasks will place on students and teachers.
    4. Written advice to students
      Providing students with written advice about the school's requirements for assessment in each course. The advice given to students must include:
      1. the components and their weightings as specified in the assessment and examination materials on NESA’s website
      2. the general nature of each assessment task
      3. a schedule of when assessment tasks are planned to take place. In addition, there must be provision for adequate notice of the precise timing of each assessment task
      4. the weight value of each task in relation to the total weighted mark for the course
      5. details of administrative arrangements associated with each task (eg how the school will deal with absence, late submission of tasks, illness/misadventure immediately before or during the task, etc)
      6. details of the school's policy on malpractice in assessment tasks
      7. details of the procedures to be implemented if tasks produce invalid or unreliable results. Note: the results of assessment tasks that have been completed by students should not be discarded
      8. details of the procedures for dealing with student appeals arising from assessment tasks
    5. Appropriate procedures: marking, recording, reporting
      Devising appropriate procedures for marking, recording and reporting students' performance on all assessment tasks. In calculating and reporting marks, teachers need to be aware of the limitations of using statistical procedures on small groups. Furthermore, the reporting of achievement on assessment tasks should be seen within the context of the school's overall reporting policy. Each student should receive clear feedback on their performance.

    This advice should indicate:

    • the student's attainment in the task relative to the outcomes
    • the student's relative position within the school group.
  2. Maintaining records

    Schools are required to maintain records of marks awarded for each task identified as part of the assessment program of an HSC course.

    Schools are not required to retain evidence of assessments such as test papers, assignments, projects, practical exercises, etc.

    The teacher must assess the student's actual performance, not potential performance. Assessment marks must not be modified to take into account possible effects of illness or domestic situations.

    Schools may offer substitute tasks or, in exceptional circumstances, estimates based on other tasks if students have valid reasons for not completing individual tasks This must be in accordance with the illness/misadventure provisions published in the school’s assessment program. Attendance and application are not to be taken into account in either the final assessment mark or in any individual assessment task.

Adjustments for students with disability 

Some students with disability will require adjustments to assessment practices in order to demonstrate what they know and can do in relation to syllabus outcomes and content. The type of adjustments and support will vary according to the particular needs of the student and the requirements of the activity.

It is a requirement under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 for schools to ensure that assessment tasks are accessible to students with disability. Schools are responsible for any decisions made at school level to offer adjustments to coursework, assessment activities and tasks, including in-school tests. Decisions regarding adjustments should be made in the context of collaborative curriculum planning. Providing an adjustment does not restrict a student’s access to the full range of grades or marks