Busting Some Myths About NAPLAN and the HSC

You may have heard that the HSC is currently undergoing something of a renovation. One of the recent announcements that has raised some concerns is that from 2020 every student will need to pass literacy and numeracy standards in order to receive the HSC. In this week’s article, I’d like to shed some light on the myths and misunderstandings that I’ve heard about this.

Myth #1 Students need to pass Year 9 NAPLAN to get the HSC.
FALSE! The Year 9 NAPLAN tests are merely their FIRST opportunity to meet the literacy and numeracy standards. Students will have many more opportunities to meet the standards, if necessary, and they can attempt an online test up to two times per year in Years 10, 11 and 12.

Myth #2 If a student doesn’t want the HSC, the literacy and numeracy standards don’t matter.
FALSE! These standards represent literacy and numeracy skills that are relevant to everyday life. For example, they enable someone to read operating instructions, prepare an invoice, interpret graphs and tables, and write a job application. Every student should strive to meet these standards, even if they don’t complete the HSC.

Myth #3 If a student doesn’t meet the literacy & numeracy standards, they won’t get the HSC.
TRUE, BUT… without the standards they will still receive the Record of School Achievement (ROSA) to show all the courses completed in Years 10, 11 and 12, along with their grades. Furthermore, students will still be permitted to sit the HSC Exams, and to receive their results. They may even gain an ATAR for entry into university, TAFE and other programs. From 2020, however, students without the literacy and numeracy standards WILL NOT receive the HSC Certificate.

Myth #4 Every student should expect to meet the standards in Year 9.
FALSE! Although we will support as many as possible to achieve the standards in Year 9, quite a few students at William Carey are not expected to achieve Band 8 results in the Year 9 NAPLAN tests (perhaps one third or even more for each test). If a student does achieve Band 8 in Reading, Writing and Numeracy, they are not required to sit for the online tests in Years 10, 11 or 12. If they achieve Band 8 in one or two of the tests, they do not need to sit the on-line tests in that area again. Please note, however, that Life Skills students are exempted from meeting the HSC literacy and numeracy standards.

So, what will William Carey do to help its students about this? This year our priorities are to notify everyone about the changes, and to encourage as many Year 9 students as possible to achieve the standards in the Year 9 NAPLAN tests. We will then support those who don’t achieve them by ensuring that online tests are offered at school each year in Years 10, 11 & 12. Our English and Mathematics Faculties are also assessing their programs to ensure that as many students as possible reach the standards before Year 12. We’re aiming for a 100% success rate!

I hope this has cleared up any questions that you might have had about the connection between NAPLAN and the HSC. If you do have any ongoing concerns, however, please don’t hesitate to contact me about them at school.

Mike Nightingale
Director of Teaching and Learning