COVID Changes for 2020

Changes to the RoSA & HSC rules and requirements for 2020

Last updated: 22 June 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes have been made to curriculum and assessment for the RoSA and the HSC, as well as the conduct and operations of the HSC in 2020.

This ACE rule applies until 31 December 2020 or until it is revoked.
For more information about the changes to the HSC in 2020, please visit NESA’s website.

RoSA Requirements

Minimum Curriculum and Indicative Hours

The amendments below supplement ACE 4007, ACE 4006, ACE 4010, and ACE 4021 until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.
The related rules ACE 4003, ACE 4024, ACE 4030, ACE 4031 are unaffected and still apply to students in 2020.

Changes in 2020
Schools may select the outcomes and content that will form the basis of the educational program for Kindergarten to Year 10 students.

The educational program does not need to address all outcomes or all content of the syllabuses.

Schools will not be required to make up any lost hours or mandated requirements of the RoSA in future years as a result of changes made to rules and requirements in 2020 due to COVID-19. NESA will continue to provide principal discretion as per ACE 4016 in determining that a student has met the requirements for the award of a RoSA. For 2020, schools will be considered to have met indicative hours provided that they had in place timetables and arrangements that would have meant that in ordinary circumstances these requirements would have been met.

For more information
More information about mandatory curriculum requirements for 2020, including examples of flexible teaching and monitoring student progress, is available on NESA’s website.

Preliminary and HSC school-based assessment

School-based assessment of HSC Board Endorsed Courses

The amendments below supersede the corresponding information in ACE 8075 about the number and type of school-based assessments in Board Endorsed Courses until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

This amendment also applies to assessments for grading as set out in ACE 5003.

The related rules ACE 5002, ACE 5004, ACE 8083, ACE 8095, ACE 8074, ACE 8093, ACE 8050 are unaffected and still apply to students in 2020.

Changes to school-based assessment in 2020
NESA has given principals and system authorities the power to determine the number, type and weighting of tasks for HSC and Year 11 school-based assessment.

NESA’s principles of assessment continue to apply. Provided social distancing measures are maintained, school-based assessment should continue to be:

  • based on a range of syllabus outcomes
  • based on measures made throughout the HSC course
  • informed by the components identified in the assessment and reporting documents for each of the syllabuses
  • inclusive of and accessible for all students.

Weighting of marks for HSC school-based assessment

The amendments below supersede the corresponding information in ACE 8077 about weighting of school-based assessment tasks until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

The related rules ACE 8083, ACE 8095, ACE 8074, ACE 8093, ACE 8050 are unaffected and still apply to students in 2020.

Changes to school-based assessment in 2020

NESA has given principals and system authorities the power to determine the number, type and weighting of tasks for HSC and Year 11 school-based assessment.
This includes making determinations about all mandated tasks that are internally assessed in the following courses:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Community and Family Studies
  • Design and Technology
  • English: English Studies, English Standard, English Advanced, English EAL/D, English Extension 1 and English Extension 2
  • Engineering Studies
  • Geography
  • History: Ancient History, Modern History, History Extension
  • Language in Context Stage 6 (Chinese, Japanese and Korean)
  • Mathematics: Mathematics Standard, Advanced, Extension 1 and Extension 2
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth and Environmental Science, Investigating Science, Science Extension, and Depth Studies)

NESA’s principles of assessment continue to apply. Provided social distancing measures are maintained, school-based assessment should continue to be:

  • based on a range of syllabus outcomes
  • based on measures made throughout the HSC course
  • informed by the components identified in the assessment and reporting documents for each of the syllabuses
  • inclusive of and accessible for all students.

VET

The amendments below supersede the corresponding information in ACE 6012, ACE 8027, and ACE 8028 about VET mandatory work placement until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

The related rules ACE 8019, ACE 8021, ACE 8032, ACE 8099 are unaffected and still apply to students in 2020.

VET mandatory work placement
Students undertaking VET courses in 2020 will remain eligible for the Preliminary or HSC credit units if unable to complete work placement.

Students commencing a 240-hour, 300-hour or 360-hour VET course in 2020 that has a mandatory work placement requirement, who will continue the course in 2021, will meet the course requirement if they complete 35 hours of work placement. For most courses this is a reduced requirement. It is anticipated that the placement could be completed later in 2020, or in 2021.

Work placement hours still need to be recorded in Schools Online. These should be actual hours completed, not the minimum hours required for the course. If no work placement is completed, zero (0) should be entered.

For more information

More information about VET mandatory work placement in 2020 is available on NESA’s website.

HSC Minimum standard

Minimum Standard Online tests

The amendments below supersede ACE 4062 until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

The related rules ACE 4060, ACE 4061, ACE 4063, ACE 4064 are unaffected and still apply to the 2020 Year 12 HSC cohort.

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

In 2020, schools may enter Year 12 students no more than six times to sit for each minimum standard test (ie six reading test attempts for the year, six writing test attempts for the year and six numeracy test attempts for the year).

Year 12 students reattempting a test in the same domain must wait at least 14 calendar days after their previous attempt at that test.

Schools may enter students in Years 10 to 11 no more than four times to sit for each minimum standard test (ie four reading test attempts for the year, four writing test attempts for the year and four numeracy test attempts for the year).
Years 10 and 11 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 at school. Test Coordinators will work with principals and other teaching staff to arrange appropriate supervision. Schools should follow up-to-date advice from NSW Health when administering tests eg ensuring there is an appropriate distance between each student.

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 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 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 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.

 

HSC Examination Operations

HSC Examinations: setting up the examination centre

The amendments below supersede ACE 9013 until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

Each presiding officer consults with the principal on the physical set up of the centre. The principal may nominate a staff member as coordinator.

Before the first examination, attention needs to be paid to:

  • current COVID-19 social distancing requirements as specified by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), supported by NSW Health
  • accommodation, furniture and examination equipment (with specific regard to social and physical distancing requirements to ensure the health and safety of students and supervisors)
  • students with disability provisions approval, including visiting students (see also information on the Higher School Certificate Disability Provisions Program)
  • receipt and secure storage of examination answer booklets and other material.

HSC examinations: accommodation

The amendments below supersede ACE 9008 until 31 December 2020 or until this rule is revoked.

Schools must provide suitable accommodation for the Higher School Certificate examinations. Accommodation must be adequately lit and ventilated and as free as possible from external noise. Accommodation for students requiring disability provisions needs particular attention.

For the health and safety of students and supervisors, this accommodation must comply with COVID-19 social and physical distancing requirements as specified by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), supported by NSW Health.

All schools are expected to make assembly halls, multipurpose centres and gymnasiums available for examinations. Classrooms may be used instead of the hall only if this does not increase the number of supervisors required.

A student’s home school provides the examination centre for all of his/her examinations, even if the course is studied through TAFE, another school or a private provider.
Itinerantly marked practical examinations (Dance, Drama, Music) require a quiet, dedicated space in the school. External disturbances such as bells need to be kept to a minimum for the duration of the examinations.