Principals respond to HSC overhaul

by Robert Ballantyne29 Jul 2016

NSW principals have welcomed the Board of Studies’ recent changes to the HSC, saying the reforms will strengthen the highly regarded credential.

Under the new rules set out by the NSW Board of Studies on 19 July, the state’s HSC students will require a pass mark in numeracy and literacy in order to gain the qualification.

In a statement today, NSW Secondary Principals’ Council (NSWSPC) president, Chris Presland, said the introduction of a Science Extension course and a common scale for Mathematics were both “sensible changes”.

“The HSC was last updated 17 years ago so these reforms are really about ensuring the credential prepares 21st century learners for careers and further study pathways,” he said.

“The introduction of the Science Extension course will challenge and extend our best students while applying a common scale for Maths will encourage more students to study the maths course best suited to their level of ability.”

Presland added that the NSWSPC also supports the introduction of fairer assessments to reduce student stress and anxiety.

“Stress, anxiety and assessment fatigue is regularly reported by SPC members as being a key issue for many Year 11 and 12 students,” he said.

“Capping the number of school based assessment tasks will help reduce student stress and enable students and teachers to engage in a deeper level of learning and skill acquisition.”

Last week, Presland told The Educator that there had already been broad support for the reforms from within the NSWSPC, as its members had been consulting with the NSW Board of Studies in the lead up to the changes.

He said that while the proposed changes to literacy and numeracy standards may be a challenge to roll out, he saw them as “a step in the right direction”.

“It will be interesting to see how this gets implemented, but there will be some positives to that too,” he said.

“For some kids, it’ll give things like NAPLAN more purpose, and reasons to do well in those exams.”
 

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