The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has announced its biggest overhaul of the HSC in decades following four years of talks with teachers and academics.
The new syllabuses are part of the NSW Government’s Stronger HSC Standards reforms announced last year, and will see a new approach aimed at better preparing students for their future careers.
Changes to English will include a mandatory unit in writing in all English courses, with explicit references to structure and grammar, spelling, vocabulary and punctuation.
More complex topics will be introduced across the Maths and Science syllabuses in response to criticism that students were ill-prepared for university studies in science, engineering and maths.
For example, Maths students will now require a strong focus on important skills such as the application of technology, financial concepts and statistics. Statistics will also be included in calculus-based courses.
Science classes will include the investigation of modern and emerging scientific concepts through Depth Studies in each course, such as desalination, stem cell research (genomics), gravitational waves, and the prediction of future seismic events.
Under the new History syllabus, students will be provided with increased opportunities to study Asian history, and Australia’s developing role in the Asian Century.
The 22 new Stage 6 syllabuses will be taught to Year 11 students from 2018 and to Year 12 students from 2019. The Maths calculus based syllabuses have been released in final draft to allow some further consultation.
In a statement today, NESA chief executive officer, David de Carvalho, said feedback from more than 7,000 teachers, students, professional associations, industry representatives and academics overwhelmingly support the new syllabuses.
“The strength of the NSW syllabuses and the world-class reputation of the HSC rests on extensive consultation with the education community, including support and input from principals, teachers, academics and parents,” he said.
“The syllabuses are designed to equip NSW students with the skills they will require after they leave school, for further study, work and life.”