- Subject selection
- Key dates and exam timetables
- 2017 HSC written exam timetable
- Exam advice and resources
- Rules and processes
- HSC: All My Own Work
- 1. Scholarship Principles and Practices
- 2. Acknowledging Sources
- 3. Plagiarism
- 4. Copyright
- 5. Working with others
- Disability provisions
- Results and certificates
Determining HSC results
Your Higher School Certificate (HSC) results will generally show three marks for each of your courses:
an assessment mark
an exam mark
an HSC mark, which is the average of the first two marks.
You will also be assigned a performance band, which shows how well you performed compared to other students in the course.
To determine your HSC results, we use the following processes:
These processes include strict quality controls to ensure all students are treated fairly and the outcomes are accurate.
Aligning exam marks to achievement standards
This process means that marks across different years can be compared
Because exam papers and marking guidelines differ each year, we use a procedure called 'standards setting' to align raw exam marks to our course achievement standards and standards-based reporting scale. We then moderate assessment marks using the aligned exam marks so they are on the same scale. This allows student marks and performances to be compared over different years.
Course achievement standards set expectations for each performance band
Our achievement standards for each course have six levels, or performance bands. They also outline the kinds of knowledge, skills and understandings required of students at each level.
Band 6 represents the highest level of achievement, and Band 1 the lowest. A student who receives a higher mark in a band shows a stronger grasp of the required knowledge and skills for that band than a student with a mark towards the bottom.
You are assigned to a performance band for each course, based on your HSC mark.
Expert markers decide the cut-off marks for each exam
The supervisor of marking recommends a team of markers or ‘judges’ to decide the minimum mark needed in each exam to meet the achievement standard for each performance band. These marks are the ‘cut-off marks’ for the exam.
We don’t publish these marks to maintain the integrity of the standards-setting process. This allows judges to set each year’s cut-off marks without being influenced by those from previous years.
Deciding the cut-off marks for each performance band involves four stages.
1 Independent judging
o Each judge reviews each question and determines the mark that a student at the level between each performance band would receive.
o These marks are added together to get the judge’s set of recommended cut-off marks for the exam.
o All judges’ recommended marks for each band are averaged to get the team’s first set of estimated cut-off marks.
2 Team discussion
o The judges review statistics on how students at different levels of attainment in the course performed on each question, and how they responded to different multiple-choice question options.
o Judges adjust their earlier recommendations as needed.
o The judges’ modified cut-off marks for each band are averaged to get the team’s second set of estimated cut-off marks.
3 Refinement and recommendation
o Judges review sample student responses marked at or near each cut-off mark and confirm that these are as expected at that level.
o Judges further refine their recommendations as needed.
o The judges recommend these cut-off marks to the HSC Consultative Committee, which is made up of leading NSW authorities in educational measurement.
4 HSC Consultative Committee review
o This expert technical committee reviews the judges’ work and recommendations before deciding the final cut-off marks.
o The committee also decides what to do if it finds any issues or anomalies in the standards-setting process.
All exam marks are aligned to our standards-based reporting scale
When the cut-off marks have been decided, we use the mathematical technique below to align raw exam marks to our reporting scale.
The cut-off mark for band:
6 is adjusted to 90
5 is adjusted to 80
4 is adjusted to 70
3 is adjusted to 60
2 is adjusted to 50.
A mark of 100 stays at 100 and a mark of 0 stays at 0.
For Extension courses, the cut-off mark for band:
E4 is adjusted to 45
E3 is adjusted to 35
E2 is adjusted to 25.
This means that 90 is the lowest mark a student can receive to be placed in Band 6. Students whose raw exam mark was on or above the cut-off mark between bands 5 and 6 will receive an exam mark somewhere between 90 and 100, using a technique called ‘interpolation’. Similarly, students whose raw exam marks fell between the Band 2/3 and Band 3/4 cut-offs will receive exam marks between 60 and 69 on their HSC.
For example, the cut-off marks for a hypothetical course are:
82 for Band 6
74 for Band 5.
A student whose raw exam mark was 82, just meeting the standard for Band 6, would receive an exam mark of 90 on their HSC. A student whose raw exam mark was 74, just meeting the standard for Band 5, would receive an exam mark of 80. A student whose raw exam mark was 78, halfway between the cut-off marks for bands 5 and 6, would receive an exam mark of 85.
Understanding your HSC mark and performance band
The HSC mark averages your exam mark and assessment mark
The HSC mark you receive for each course, reported beside the exam mark and the assessment mark, is simply the average of these two marks. Half-marks are rounded up to the nearest whole number.
For example, if your exam mark is 92 and assessment mark is 89, the average is 90.5. This is then rounded up to an HSC mark of 91.
Performance band is based on HSC mark
You are also awarded a performance band for each course based on your HSC mark. So, if your HSC mark is 91 you will be placed in Band 6.