HSC minimum standard
From 2020, students in NSW will need to meet a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy to receive the Higher School Certificate.
Video - HSC minimum standard explained
Duration - 3:55
The HSC minimum standard is part of the Stronger HSC reforms and the NSW Literacy and Numeracy Strategy 2017-2020 to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for students.
The HSC minimum standard has been developed and set at a basic level, to help ensure students have the literacy and numeracy skills essential for life after school, such as:
- following safety instructions in equipment manuals;
- understanding a mobile phone plan;
- writing a job application;
- creating a personal weekly budget.
The HSC minimum standard is set at level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF). This is in alignment with the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions being implemented by the NSW Department of Education in public schools across NSW.
Students will demonstrate they have achieved the minimum standards by completing 3 online tests. These online tests are 45 minutes long each, and include:
- a multiple choice test for reading
- a multiple choice test for numeracy
- a test for writing based on a written or visual prompt.
These online tests will be administered by schools under supervision using a lockdown browser, and can be taken on any school day.
Students will have many chances to meet the HSC minimum standard when they are ready. This includes two chances each year in year 10, year 11, and year 12 and for a few years after school. Students have to meet the HSC minimum standard in reading, writing and numeracy only once.
Video - How to meet the HSC minimum standard
Duration - 1:19
Students with additional needs will be eligible for extra provisions for the minimum standards tests, or be exempt from meeting the minimum standards to receive their Higher School Certificate.
Read more about eligibility for the HSC minimum standard on the NESA website.
Students do not need to meet the HSC minimum standard to:
- study HSC courses
- sit HSC exams
- receive HSC results
- receive an ATAR
- receive a Record of School Achievement.