HSC monitoring update

This session supports teachers and leaders of English to develop an understanding of the HSC monitoring processes and the way this process supports curriculum compliance.

Audience: Stage 6 teachers and leaders.

Watch 'HSC Monitoring update with Kate Thompson' (30:47).

Kate Thompson – Stage 6 Advisor provides a detailed update of the HSC Monitoring procedures

Kate Thompson

To the English team for having me along today.

I would also like to acknowledge that I'm on the land of the Kuringgai people and extend my respects to any Aboriginal persons here today.

So we all know and love HSC monitoring, don't we? And I just have the pleasure of presenting it to you.

But anyway, I think I've got till about 4:30 and I'm happy to take questions at the end.

So, is that right, Jackie, about 4:30? Yep and thank you for the feedback on some of the questions like the pre-survey.

I do realise that quite a few people have sound to extensive knowledge of HSC monitoring processes currently.

Hopefully, I can enlighten you a little bit as to what's happening in 2022.

Don't worry, no major changes, but just to provide a bit of context and bit of an emphasis for the coming year's HSC monitoring.

So in the slide that you can see in front of you, it's just what I kind of provide at the beginning of most of these presentations and it is about the context because the context is quite important, sets the tone for the HSC Monitoring and this document brings together all the HSC information from a range of sources, from multiple stakeholders, like the department, the New South Wales Teachers Federation, and NESA, and a lot of that is underpinned by legislation, which you'll find in appendix one of the HSC monitoring document.

I'll also show you where that is in a second.

So the requirements of all those sources have been synthesised into the HSC monitoring advice with links to the source documents where necessary.

So it has evolved over time and the advice was written with a view to identifying essential processes, but with a sensitivity to teacher and New South Wales Teachers Federation concerns about excess administrative burden.

So just to take you briefly through this diagram, NESA is the authority that implements the Education Act and the ACE Manual provides all the rules and regulations.

So it's actually quite difficult to navigate sometimes.

So if you are unsure of any regulation, then it's best to contact us or NESA.

The stronger HSC standards have meant changes to assessment, as you are most likely well aware, and the introduction of the HSC minimum standards online testing that applied from the 2020 cohort.

Now NESA oversees the registration of all schools, including the New South Wales public school system, and feedback on that registration process indicated or highlighted the risk of schools either teaching perhaps the wrong syllabus, like an old syllabus or, and this is particularly pertinent for English, perhaps looking at the wrong, you know, text, novel, poetry, et cetera, or even setting the wrong number of assessment tasks based on some of those reforms.

So public schools need to comply with NESA requirements, but the department requirements sit on top of that as well.

And the curriculum, I'll have to read this out, curriculum policy standards for the curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12 policy, try saying that one five times fast , they set out the requirements for life ready as well and you might be aware that some of those stage five electives have changed recently as well.

So the HSC monitoring advice document has been synthesised to include all those sources.

There's a bit of context, I know it took a couple of minutes, but with a view to streamline processes, prioritise teaching time, and reduce administrative burden.

And in the next slide, I'll just quickly show you where you can find that.

That's on the Stage 6 webpage and the link is there and I'm happy for a copy of the slides in PDF form to be shared or I can share them myself.

It's not a problem.

That page will be updated for the 2022 advice as well.

So a couple of things to know as well in the background.

It's not just a document, it's part of a bigger process in a way.

The School Planning and Reporting Online tool, the SPaRO tool, is used to collect data.

So we've actually been testing and refining this tool, particularly this year and in the last two terms, to make it usable and produce usable output.

So principals and DELs, actually the directors, the principals' bosses, sign off with confirmation and endorsement.

They sign off electronically in SPaRO for everything listed in appendix two of the HSC monitoring document.

That used to take place at a local level, but now there's greater system oversight collected in SPaRO, et cetera, et cetera.

The HSC teacher support data is actually collected at the same time.

So this is generally all due by the end of term one.

Principals and their delegates will be kind of putting together this kind of information.

So the data's collected, oh sorry, the data is input by the principal and it's about who might be new to teaching Year 12, so this would apply to some staff, some head teachers, you know, colleagues, you know, who might be teaching Year 12 syllabus for the first time or who might be a head teacher supervising a teacher out of their area of expertise.

Now whilst that's not necessarily that common for English, it is sometimes for, you know, languages teachers and the rest.

So you know, if you have a head teacher teaching in learning or something, supervising a different faculty out of their area of expertise.

And that data is collected to enable greater system support, you know, perhaps direct and help plan for PL needs the following year.

But I'll move over to the right-hand side in that blue box.

The most important thing in this COVID advice, and you'll see updates throughout this document, that yes, there are COVID changes for 2022.

These are published in the ACE manual.

However, the department and NESA, I speak to my colleagues at NESA quite frequently, the department and NESA really expect schools to plan assessments that comply with the assessment and reporting requirements as per usual.

If the school is not affected by COVID, then, you know, assessment should continue business as usual.

However, if your school is affected by COVID and COVID closures and, you know, potentially we'll see this happen as, you know, we've got full return to schools, that ACE rule allows principals a bit of flexibility and discretion over the number, type, and waiting of tasks.

So this might be familiar, it's been around for 2 or 3 years.

There were ACE changes, COVID changes for 2020, 2021, and these changes now in place until 31st of December, 2022.

So just taking you through the structure of the HSC monitoring advice and you'll see that the little screenshot says 2021.

That's because the 2022 hasn't been released yet, but it will be imminently.

It is currently in the approvals process with people way higher than me.

So it will be emailed to principals in November.

It's also published in Staff Noticeboard or what was previously Schoolbiz in the same month each year and it will be available on the Stage 6 website just like I showed you.

And the ROSA monitoring information is there as well and the idea is that it will assist executive head teachers and teachers and seeks to help when consulting and developing whole school negotiated processes and procedures.

But ultimately, it's there to monitor the requirements for effective Year 11 and 12 curriculum delivery.

So whatever processes exist in your school, they should be time efficient and manage to support teachers, students, and their families.

Now I've put a big red dot in the next slide here because I do want to draw your attention to it.

And this is the ACE rule that I would probably get most queries about, particularly in the first half of the year.

The first section of this document deals with internal or school-based assessment and it's about what schools must and should do.

So this ACE rule, as I said, is about internal assessment and what is required when schools are developing their assessment programmes.

And it might seem straightforward, but people, you know, generously send me their assessment policies and assessment booklets and schedules and things to have a look at and provide feedback on and I'm happy to do that, it's not a problem.

But I think you might be surprised what little tiny things might pop up while copying something over from the previous year to this year and, you know, there might be something that might slightly not fit or whatever it is, but it's well worth checking and this rule kind of provides the basis of most of the advice that I would give out, I guess.

So as we know, we use the assessment and reporting procedures for each subject.

We've got to comply with that, the number and tasks and general nature of each task, components and waitings, complying with that in the assessment and reporting documents.

We have to provide students with a schedule of when assessment tasks are to take place.

Now I realise, you know, if you're here, you're probably the keen ones, preaching to the converted, but that adequate notice of timing as well of each assessment task.

And whilst the ACE manual doesn't specify that it's two weeks, at the term is adequate notice, but two weeks is a generally accepted time period.

So we also need to provide students with procedures for marking, recording, reporting, and clear feedback.

So obviously, that's all in relation to course outcomes and things like that.

But quite a few queries come from issues that have arisen in schools, perhaps when some of those requirements haven't been met because this rule requires details of administrative arrangements to be shared with students.

So by that I mean, what happens if a student is absent from an assessment task? These need to be written down.

Late submission of assessment tasks, maybe if they're sick, malpractice or invalid tasks, if they've been declared invalid or unreliable, any student appeals arising from assessment tasks, and of course, indeterminations and warnings as well.

So I guess the point is the school needs really, really solid processes around each of these aspects.

And many schools, and I would recommend this if your school doesn't have one, is to have an assessment appeals committee or something similar, but something that comprises of a few people where the student can go to, you know, for independent, you know, appeal or inquiry or whatever it is as part of your school's assessment policy.

And it's about the student knowing who to go to, what happens, where they submit their form, and what their next steps are.

So it's just about transparency and equity, really.

Back to the COVID though, if there are any changes in the assessment schedule, they also have to be written and the processes for communicating that information to students needs to be acknowledged and quite robust.

I will move on.

Oh, thank you for putting the ACE rule in there.

So in this next slide, the next part of the document goes through what schools must and should do to assist students.

So after all, this is kind of what we're here for.

You know, lifelong learning and the accurate and effective implementation of the syllabus, in your case, English.

So how can we as educators ensure fairness and equity for students to help them achieve their best, you know, their personal best for the HSC? First one seems a bit mundane but pretty crucial, so fulfilling NESA requirements.

Now whilst some of these might not be your responsibility as a classroom teacher or even a head teacher, they are a whole school responsibility and it may get delegated to you to run the assembly or something like that.

So signing the declaration and confirmation of entry, things like completing HSC or my own work before they submit any work in Year 11.

Providing information to students and parents, so looking at the rules or, you know, issuing the rules and HSC rules and procedures, providing information about HSC minimum standard.

Any course information, you know, it's a pretty common practise to share that relevant page of a syllabus, and any timely advice about how to apply for disability provisions and things like that.

But it's not enough just to provide it.

We have to explain it and explain it well and ensure there's, you know, a shared understanding, I guess.

So things like displaying information in classrooms or on your, you know, Google classroom or your Microsoft Team for your class or whatever it might be.

You know, explaining that assessment policy, that is crucial and checking any approved patterns of ATAR or HSC kind of subjects and I'll get to that in a second.

Encouraging students to use NESA online because, of course, that's where they access their HSC results and check personal information and enrollment, that kind of thing.

And more information about that can be found on page four of the monitoring document.

The next part of this document is to support staff and, again, quite crucial.

So recently presented at the Middle Leaders Induction conference to head teachers.

And as you know, head teacher, there might be some of you here in the room today, a conduit between your staff and the senior exec.

So as teachers and head teachers, it's our responsibility to help or support, I guess, the implementation of whole school negotiated procedures and participate in the negotiation and decision making associated with those procedures.

So what's your school's system to ensure scope in sequences and teaching and learning programmes and teaching activities are all mapped to syllabus outcomes? Is there some kind of system that ensures that that risk is minimised, any risk to not delivering parts of the HSC is minimised? What's the system to oversee the delivery of external providers like VET subjects? Is there a system to enter students into courses? Perhaps this might be the head teacher's secondary studies or even entering them into optional exams, like for English studies, and what happens, we need systems to support students with a disability.

So of all of that, we need a clear understanding and all staff need a clear understanding of what is required for each of these things and students with a disability so those students can participate fully and equally in that school life and, you know, curriculum with their peers.

I think quite crucially we need a really clear, consistent understanding of the school's assessment policy because this is sometimes where things get unstuck.

There might be a different interpretation from one English class to the next and what happens, you know, if someone gets, you know, two minutes extra in a class task or something like that? What happens if there's a typo in a paper? How is that dealt with if you're not all in the same room and connecting with each other? Clear understanding of assessment and reporting documents for your English syllabuses.

So all of that might actually require a bit of, you know, discussion at exec or staff meetings, faculty meetings.

It might require upskilling for year advisors, VET coordinators, head teachers, careers advisors, involving the senior exec as well.

The next part of the document actually goes through what constitutes best practise and whilst there are all these words, you know, there are all these words on a page , I've kind of tried to distil it down to nine key things, but it is worth reading the document.

More information is on page six of the HSC monitoring document there.

But in terms of communicating, just communicating with the whole school community, so parents, carers, students, and staff about requirements and expectations, communication about reasonable adjustments for students.

Differentiation, to support the learning needs of all students and for adjusted assessments, the marking guidelines and the outcomes need to be the same generally at an HSC level, but the process and the product may differ.

Of course, implementation of teaching and learning programmes.

Monitoring, monitoring progress towards achieving HSC minimum standard, monitoring the numbers of N warnings and things like that.

I worked at a school where they had monitoring kind of meetings, productive, every five weeks for the N warnings to keep, okay, how's this kid doing? Are they on track, how many letters has this kid got? All right, how can we help them and how can we support them? So common practise with this HSC monitoring is that head teachers meet with either the deputy or principal once a term and that's actually in appendix two of the document.

So your principal's signing off on that, which is interesting.

Recording of adjustments, variations, marks, analysing data, minimum standard data, HSC result data, and thinking, okay, in this process of continuing improvement, how can we keep going, how can we improve? Any consistency across, you know, school assessments, maybe you've got a common assessment template or something like that.

Engaging in high impact and meaningful, you know, professional learning and I can't emphasise the need for assessment knowledge and effective assessment knowledge enough.

Like, what constitutes effective assessment, how do you align assessments really well? And I guess that's what, you know, the curriculum support team and I are here for, too.

And collegiality, like it's the hardest but often the best.

You know, when you've got that one, you can tick that one off.

Just this next one also gets a few questions and I'm mindful of the time, I'll leave a couple of minutes at the end for questions.

But an emphasis for 2022 HSC monitoring is that documents can and should, where possible, be kept, if it's a whole school negotiated thing, be kept electronically in an effort to save time, reduce administrative burden, and prioritise teaching time.

So there's a whole list of records on page seven and eight of the HSC monitoring document, but they include things like the programmes, scope and sequence, assessments, notifications, marking guidelines.

I'll just draw attention to the fact that the collection of student work samples is not required by NESA apart from in a couple of subjects where you're allocating grades, English studies might be one of them.

So it is actually a school-based decision on how many work samples are collected.

Perhaps you can tie that in with trying to address the needs of the school, you know, standards of the School Excellence Framework.

Various other things like illness, misadventure forms or applications, student data, and records of students receiving information.

One thing you do need to collect and keep is the EAL/D eligibility forms.

These are generally kept by the principal, to my knowledge.

It could be different in different schools, but sometimes just a heads up, you know, if you haven't done it already or you get some students in that some might require a bit of assistance filling out that form, depending on their English language level ability.

And that's in an ACE rule, not the fact that they require assistance, but the collection of the form and the record-keeping of that form is in ACE rule 2007.

And I'm just going to fly through the next one.

Responsibilities are on page nine of the document, but I haven't gone into these in detail because they vary greatly between schools, depending on your context.

But overall they do say, you know, engage in, you know, solid discussion, help make decisions about the whole school negotiated processes when it's relating to HSC monitoring, and definitely subscribe to NESA News.

And nearly lastly is just section two of the document and couple of things with that are that pattern of study checklist.

So in relation to English, that's just ensuring that students have two units of English.

There are other requirements for other subjects, like, you know, four subjects and a maximum of seven units of science and that kind of thing.

The eligibility forms, making sure you keep those EAL/D forms.

The exclusion of course combinations applies more to languages.

But in terms of English, that English studies, if they choose to sit an assessment, sorry, the optional HSC exam, just making sure that if they're seeking an ATAR that you, you know, enter them in for sitting that exam, otherwise they're eligible for the HSC.

So I'm wondering, oh, I missed the wellbeing of students, actually.

That is really important , sorry.

It's one thing I do like to highlight because maybe this is you in your school.

Try to avoid having multiple assessments say in Year 12 or do at the same time, you know, in week 7, 8, 9 of Term 1 or whatever it might be.

So keeping the wellbeing of students in mind is pretty important and in my experience, it's where, you know, a lot of issues come to the fore or issues are raised, even wellbeing issues with students generally pop up around assessment time.

So bit of a pinch point, but that's when they kind of pop up, I think.

So I'm wondering if there are any questions or if I missed any in the chat.

Whirlwind tour of HSC monitoring.

Speaker 2

Venicia has her hand up.

Speaker 3

So we just answered a question and I just wanted to say if that's okay Kate, just as a reinformation, that we've been trying to answer the questions in the chat as we go as well for you.

But if for example, even though it's not necessary to keep samples, we recommend in English particularly because English and maths are usually the two that get targeted to be audited in ROSA grades, you know, for Year 10 and 11.

So I would strongly suggest as being a head teacher of a faculty that had that done at two different schools at two different times that having the work samples made life so much easier for that year.

So it's still okay that we keep them, right?

Kate Thompson

Oh sorry, yes, of course.

Sorry, I probably should have prefaced it with the fact that it's probably best practise or it is best practise, particularly if you know you might have a tricky kid and maybe there's an appeal down the road or something like that.

You know, sometimes things aren't as straightforward as they seem.

It is absolutely best practise.

But please know that it's a school-based decision as to how many, because I had a conversation with a school recently and they said they are required to submit each term, I think it was, three, you know, high, medium, and low samples for every class in every subject.

Now in terms of moderation, you know, if you're moderating marks, you might not actually need to keep that many.

But if things are digital then, you know, you may as well kind of keep it if it's not that much extra.

You know, we don't want to add burden.

Does this make sense?

Speaker 2

Yeah, see in English, because we have so much content in writing, I would be suggesting that they have an amazing corporate marking strategy in place and then you just keep out of your whole cohort a few of your As, Bs, C, Ds, and Es across each grade.

That would be my definite recommendation.

I can see Jacquie nodding her head because otherwise writing-wise, you just drown in admin in our space.

There was a question that did come up and it'd be good, Danielle Walsh has just asked, "Can you elaborate on the pattern of study checklist that's in the HSC", I'm sure it's in the HSC monitoring documentation but-

Kate Thompson

The pattern of study checklist, in relation to English, it's just basically that they're studying two units of English.

There are a couple of regulations like, okay they've got to do, you know, 12 units in Year 11, 10 units in Year 12, six units of board developed courses and it goes on.

But in relation to English, it's at least two units of a board developed course in English.

I hope that answers your question.

If not, I'm happy to, you know, for people to contact me and things.

So with the work samples, I'm sorry, I didn't want to cause any issues but you could, absolutely keeping work samples is best practise, hands down.

Speaker 2

No issues at all.

Honestly, it was just, I know English is, because we're the compulsory, right? Like there's so much writing and it was just a quick way and a good time 'cause you were just discussing it to just reinforce that best practise.

So no issues at all, Kate, thank you so much.

I'll be quiet like I promised I would be.

Kate Thompson

No, no that's fine.

I think maybe the best practise is also if you're collecting them, tie it into whatever evidence you need for the SEF, the School Excellence Framework, and then you're not doubling up, you know, on work and effort and that kind of thing.

If you're annotating them, you know, use it for something that you can use it again for, yeah.

Speaker 3

Particularly if you're corporate marking and you're using those as standards.

You are then able to have a package of information that you have annotated collectively as a faculty that is leading to all of those, you know, evidence collection processes.

And I would just add, you know, this is the page that Kate was talking about.

Kate Thompson

Oh, thank you.

Speaker 3

You can see here all of the documents from the 2021 that will soon be 2022 and Demi has popped the link in the chat and just—

Kate Thompson

—It will be changed imminently.

Speaker 3

—Beautiful and just to, I guess, elaborate on a point that Kate was making about the ACE manual and to connect with resources that the English team has developed, we have talked about them before, but we do have the Stage 6 course planners for, you know, the various Stage 6 courses.

EALD is the last one to be created.

But in these documents, it actually goes through a lot of the requirements that Kate was talking about.

It hyperlinks to the documents that Kate was referring to the ACE manual in various parts.

We consulted with Louise regarding their development as well.

And if you use these as a live planning document, then you can constantly come back through and update them to avoid exactly what Kate was referring to and that's having too many assessment tasks due and submitted at the same time.

And they also go through the various syllabus and assessment and reporting requirements along with the department requirements and we've really tried to funnel the information into a one document for you for that particular course to make exploring them that little bit easier for you and they are found in the leading English section of the New South Wales Department of Education website.

You can see here, we have extension, advanced, standard, studies.

There's also the support for controversial issues.

Again, what Kate was talking about in terms of text selection and making sure you're following the department rules regarding that area and there's a permission note there for text and that document is explained in detail.

And another thing that Kate was talking about in terms of designing quality assessment is, we mention, I'm just going to go to the professional learning calendar really quickly.

The professional development that we deliver for various courses is all aligned with the kinds of recommendations that Kate is making and the first one that we have coming up in 2022 is the Year 11 extension 1 PL.

[End of transcript.]

This resource is part of a suite of professional learning is targeted directly towards faculty and aspiring leaders. This suite of learning provides advice around issues including compliance, faculty monitoring and effective leadership practices.

Please note: The 2022 HSC and RoSA monitoring advice is available via the Stage 6 webpage.

Guest presenter

Kate Thompson – Stage 6 Advisor.


The following structure guides the session:

  • The NSW Department of Education’s (DoE) HSC monitoring guidelines and what is required for teachers and faculty leaders.
  • How to implement these documents, ways to address common problems and connect to current policies and practices.

Related resources


This accredited professional learning is connected to the domains:

  • Professional engagement – Standard 6 – Engage in professional learning
    • 6.2 – engage in professional learning and improve practice.


Syllabus outcomes from English Stage 6 © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2021.


  • Stage 6

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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