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Practical and performance exams

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Practical and performance exams

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) provides for performance examinations or submitted works in the following courses for the Higher School Certificate:

  • Dance
  • Design and Technology
  • Drama
  • English Extension 2
  • Industrial Technology
  • Music
  • Society and Culture
  • Textiles and Design
  • Visual Arts

These performances and works are developed over an extended period of time under the supervision of the school.

Certification of projects, submitted works and performances  advice for students and teachers

Students, their class teachers and their principal must certify that a student's practical or performance exam is all their own work (apart from any approved assistance). Understand how to certify a project or performance.

The context for submitted works

For many students, their performance or submitted works present an opportunity to explore an issue of personal interest and to express ideas and opinions.

As with any work, the student and school need to be aware of their audience.

Teachers and principals should guide students in understanding the different audiences for their works and meeting contemporary community standards and requirements, without putting undue restraint on the student’s creative interpretation.

A framework

School and Community Values

The NSW approach to values in education recognises that common community values are taught in all classrooms.

While it is understood some performances and submitted works challenge established views, principals should ensure that work submitted for the examination does not cause offence. Teachers must advise the principal of the nature and content of HSC works from an early stage, so that the student’s work may develop in a manner which takes into account the general community.

Legislative requirements

Principals and teachers must be mindful of government regulations concerning the prohibition of weapons in schools and ensure that child protection requirements are met.

Audiences for submitted works

The principal audience for any HSC work is the marking team who, as experienced teachers, have been exposed to a wide range of styles and expressions in their discipline, and understand the nature of the subject and the medium.

However, markers should not be confronted by works and performances that the general adult community would find offensive. Supervisors of Marking report any examination responses that contain frivolous or gratuitously objectionable material to NESA.

Principals must ensure that any works presented for public display are appropriate to the understanding and expectations of the intended audience and their cultural sensitivity.

Selecting works for HSC showcase events

In its showcase programs, NESA includes HSC works that reflect a range of topics, styles and forms. These works often include material and styles that are innovative, risk-taking and original in approach. However, care is taken to ensure that the content and presentation of the work is appropriate for a general audience.

In selecting works, NESA considers these general principles:

  • minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them
  • everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive
  • it is necessary to take account of community concerns about depictions that condone or incite violence, and any portrayal of a person in a demeaning manner.

Works may not be considered suitable for showcase events if they contain the following elements:

  • offensive language, that is, language likely to cause outrage or disgust;
  • violence, either real or perceived;
  • references to the use of illegal drugs;
  • sexual references or nudity;
  • themes considered inappropriate for a general audience.
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