Teachers’ beliefs about their students influence how they teach and interact with them. High expectations are linked with higher performance for all students. The reverse can also be true. Students may achieve less than their potential if expectations of their ability are low.

The HSC minimum standard is itself an indicator of high expectations for students leaving school. It requires students to demonstrate the literacy and numeracy capabilities they will need for everyday life.

Students are more likely to achieve the standard on their first attempt, when they are determined as ready to sit the test, where teachers convey high expectations of success.

Teachers can view a School Discovery that demonstrates how high expectations underpin the approach to the HSC minimum standard at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts (staff only).

School Discovery: Newtown High School of the Performing Arts


New South Wales high schools are using several tools and strategies to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills. These will support students’ preparation for the HSC minimum standard online tests.

Newtown High School of the Performing Arts has introduced personalised learning conversations in Stages 4 and 5 to prepare students to manage any anxiety about the HSC minimum standard tests.

These conversations build grit, persistence and goal orientation.

Teaching students to take responsibility for their own learning through the achievement of learning goals is a strategy used to achieve the school target of all students obtaining a Higher School Certificate.

The key support for students is through the school philosophy of improving through mistakes and it’s emphasis on student responsibility for improvement.

Every student in Years 9 to 12 is taught to ask key questions about their learning.

Staff are trained in conducting coaching conversations, how to write SMART goals and how to use the language of growth.

Each Year 9 and 10 student meets with the teacher-coach 8 times a year.

Just before report time, students bring evidence to the session to show their progress.

The HSC minimum standard tests are communicated to students as part of the goal-setting expectation.

The tests are according to the deputy principal a snapshot of where their literacy and numeracy skills are on the day and a really good way of checking that the students in Year 10 are on track to achieve their literacy and numeracy goals.

After this, students write a reflection with teachers and parents as the audience.

It is this non-faculty based report that is most valued by teachers, parents and students themselves.

Students feel they are known, valued and cared for and that the HSC minimum standard is simply part of a process and achievable.

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