Special program for most-impacted HSC students

A new program will ensure fairness and equity to students who have experienced significant disruption to their HSC studies.

02 August 2021
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The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has announced a new program of special consideration to address significant impacts of COVID-19 on HSC oral language exams, performance exams and major work submissions.

COVID-19 Response Committee chair Professor Peter Shergold said the program was designed to support students who had experienced significant disruption or disadvantage.

“We recognise that students in Greater Sydney have had varying levels of access to specialist equipment and a quiet place to study as they prepare for upcoming oral language exams, performance exams and to hand in major works,” Professor Shergold said.

“This is about ensuring that every student is able to have the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned to the best of their ability, despite the impact of COVID-19.”

Under the program, where there has been significant disruption or disadvantage due to COVID-19, schools can apply for an individual student or group of students to receive a mark from their teacher, rather than from a NESA marker.

NESA will issue guidelines so teachers can provide a mark that takes into account the impact of COVID-19 on a student’s preparation for the exam or major work.

To ensure equity, these marks will be moderated by NESA.

The COVID Special Consideration Program is available to students in schools under Level 4 restrictions who have experienced significant disruption as they prepare for:

  • Language oral exams
  • Performance exams
  • Submission of major projects.

NESA chief executive officer Paul Martin said this was about being flexible in unprecedented times and putting the mental and physical wellbeing of students first.

“We want students, their families and their teachers to be assured that despite disruptions, the hard work of students will be recognised,” Mr Martin said.

“Students will have the opportunity to receive an HSC and move on to the next chapter of their lives.

“I also want to sincerely thank teachers across the state, who will play an integral role in this special consideration process. Teachers have been instrumental in getting students to this point, not only as educators but advocates for their student’s safety and wellbeing.

“Teachers know that they know their students best and will be able to attest to any disadvantage faced.”

To best support teachers and students NESA has also:

  • Provided safety rules for markers and students during HSC Dance, Drama and Music rehearsals and exams
  • Extended the due date for assessment marks to 8 October
  • Revised the oral language exam timetable to start on 21 August.

“The health and safety of students, school and exam staff is our priority. Strict COVID safety measures will be in place for all HSC exams and students will be required to follow the public health orders and other health advice at the time of the exam,” Mr Martin said.

Students who are unable to submit their work or undertake an exam due to self-isolation, flu like symptoms or school closures can apply for regular illness and misadventure.

For regularly updated advice about the HSC see NESA’s COVID advice or contact the NESA COVID-19 support team on 1300 138 323 or covid19support@nesa.nsw.edu.au

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