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HSC exam development

Are you interested in shaping and developing the NSW Higher School Certificate examinations? Each year we accept applications from teachers and academics with appropriate experience and qualifications.

Setting or assessing HSC exams is a rewarding and challenging experience. It is an opportunity to:

  • develop further understanding of assessment techniques
  • enhance skills in setting examinations
  • contribute towards your professional development.

Applications to develop the 2017 HSC examinations have now closed, and will open again for the 2018 HSC later in the year.

Information about the recruitment process for 2017

Examinations are developed by committees chaired by a Chief Examiner. Examination development commenced in Term 4 of 2016 and will continue until August 2017. A practising teacher assesses each examination as part of the development process. Assessing an examination usually takes one day, and will take place in Term 1/early Term 2, 2017. An information sheet containing a list of committees and courses is provided at the bottom of this page.

Please note that in 2017 there are separate examination committees for the modern languages Continuers and Extension courses.

Chief examiners, committee members and assessors cannot teach the course(s) for which they are applying, or be closely related to someone sitting or teaching the subject in 2017 (see also the note about Extension courses below under Conditions of appointment). They must maintain complete confidentiality in relation to all HSC examinations and committee discussions, and must sign a Statutory Declaration to this effect.

Chief Examiner (Applications are now closed)

The Chief Examiner chairs the examination committee and has further responsibilities in the marking and standards-setting processes. Note that, in some cases, the Chief Examiner may have responsibility for a number of courses.

As Chair of the examination committee, the Chief Examiner ensures that the examination paper conforms to NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) principles and is of high quality, that the marking guidelines are appropriate, and that the final version of the examination paper is accurate.

As part of the marking operation, the Chief Examiner provides guidance to the Supervisor of Marking and Senior Markers in the development and validation of the marking kit and oversees the testing and refining of marking guidelines during test marking. After reviewing the marking kit and the results of test marking, the Chief Examiner signs a declaration to the effect that each question or task will achieve valid and reliable results. The Chief Examiner is also required to complete a written report to the Consultative Committee, and in some cases attend a meeting with the Consultative Committee (usually held in late November or early December).

All Chief Examiners need to be available throughout the examination setting and marking periods. This may be during school holiday periods. Prospective applicants who are anticipating taking an extended period of leave during this time should not apply.

For the 2017 examinations, there are a number of vacancies for Chief Examiner. The committees that have a vacancy for Chief Examiner in 2017 are indicated with an asterisk (*) on the information sheet provided at the bottom of this page.

Please note that in 2017 there will be separate examination committees for the modern languages Continuers and Extension courses.

Examination committee members (Applications are now closed)

The examination committee develops the examination paper(s) and marking guidelines for the course(s) for which it is responsible. Where possible, each examination committee has a balance of secondary teachers and tertiary educators. Committees have representation from government and non-government schools and gender balance, where feasible. The number of committee meetings will depend on the nature of the paper(s) but will involve a minimum of eight days. Meetings are held at the NESA office, and last a full day from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. Training will be provided. Committee members need to be available from November 2016 to the end of June 2017.

Assessors (Applications are now closed)

As part of the examination development process, draft examinations are assessed by teachers who have recent experience teaching the course. The role of an assessor is to provide an independent assessment of the examination paper by evaluating and commenting on it as a subject expert and as an experienced teacher. The assessor works the draft examination paper and provides responses and advice to the examination committee about the appropriateness of examination questions. The 2017 HSC examinations are scheduled to be assessed between March and May 2017. If you anticipate taking extended periods of leave that would make you unavailable during this time, you should not apply.

Criteria for selection of Chief Examiners and committee members

All applicants will be expected to demonstrate:

  • appropriate qualifications and experience as a teacher of HSC students or first year tertiary students in the subject. In general, a minimum of five years recent experience teaching is considered necessary. In the case of secondary teachers, preference will be given to applicants who have taught the HSC course in the last three years. For all committee members, the maximum term is five consecutive years. The maximum term for Chief Examiners is six consecutive years
  • superior knowledge of the relevant HSC syllabus
  • the capacity to apply the NESA principles for the development of examinations and marking guidelines
  • high-level professional experience within the teaching community
  • high-level oral and written communication skills
  • the capacity to work in a team to deliver educational materials to specified deadlines.

In addition, applicants for the Chief Examiner will be expected to demonstrate:

  • the capacity to provide leadership to the examination committee in the preparation of the examination and marking guidelines
  • the ability to manage the work of the committee and meet deadlines
  • the capacity to engage effectively with the Supervisor of Marking and senior markers in the development and validation of the marking kit, and to oversee the testing and refining of marking guidelines during test and practice marking.

Criteria for selection of assessors

Applicants must be experienced Year 12 teachers with the necessary experience to assess the examination papers. In general, a minimum of five years recent experience teaching Year 12 is considered sufficient. Preference will be given to applicants who have taught the HSC course in the last three years, and who can demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practices that apply to the development of examinations.

Conditions of appointment as Chief Examiner, committee member or assessor

The following conditions must be agreed to, prior to appointment as chief examiner, committee member, or assessor:

  • You must sign a confidentiality agreement in relation to your work on secure examination material
  • You must be available for meetings at the NESA office during the setting and reviewing periods, which may be during the school holidays
  • You must not teach or tutor the relevant HSC course(s) to students in 2017
  • You may not mark or moderate school assessments in the relevant course in 2017
  • You may not be an author of textbooks or study guides that are in general use in schools or TAFE in the relevant subject area
  • You must not have a close relative (eg spouse, sibling or child) either teaching the relevant course(s) or enrolled as an HSC student in the relevant course(s)
  • You must not set or review papers in the relevant HSC course(s) for school systems (eg Catholic/TAFE/Regional Trials) or commercial organisations such as test writing organisations or online organisations, while a member of an HSC examination committee
  • You must not lecture at meetings or study courses for students and teachers, or speak at any meetings on the content or interpretation of the syllabus or examination specifications for the relevant course(s)
  • Chief examiners, committee members and assessors please note that you can be considered to write/assess an Extension examination where you are teaching the related 2-unit Continuers course, unless you have 2-unit Continuers students sitting the Extension examination you wish to write/assess.


The Chief examiner and examination committee members receive a payment for setting examinations. The amounts are currently $3071 for chief examiners and $1153 for committee members, and are paid per course. Metropolitan committee members are paid a travel allowance. Country members are reimbursed for travel and other expenses.

Chief examiners also receive a payment for their attendance at their marking centre. This is currently $768.

Assessors receive a fee of approximately $230 per course and a travel allowance.

NESA reimburses schools to cover the cost of employing casual staff to relieve teachers when their involvement in examination development work coincides with their teaching duties.

Instructions for completing the application form

Download the 2017 HSC examination development application form (Word format)

Part A

Please ensure that you have completed all the relevant sections in Part A in full, and that your application has been endorsed.

If you are teaching in a school or tertiary institution, your principal or supervisor will need to endorse your application and agree to release you should your application be successful. If you are retired or will not be working in a school or tertiary institution during the examination development period, please ensure that your application is endorsed by an appropriate individual who can verify the information provided. Applications that do not have the required endorsement(s) will not be considered. If you are applying for more than one position, please submit a separate application form for each position.

Part B

Applicants for Chief Examiner must complete Part B. If you are applying for membership of more than one committee, please submit a separate application form for each committee. Please ensure you provide information relevant to each of the selection criteria.

If your application for Chief Examiner is unsuccessful, we will consider you for appointment to the committees you nominated in Part A. If you do not wish to be considered for committee membership, please tick the box as indicated.

The application form can be completed electronically. In this case, after you have completed the application, print a hard copy, get the required signatures (yours and your principal or supervisor) and send it to the address below.

Opening and closing dates

  • Chief Examiner applications are now closed.
  • Committee Member applications are now closed.
  • Assessor applications are now closed.

Submitting your application

Applications should be emailed to the Test Development Unit, Examining and Testing Branch at If you are mailing your application, please post it to:

TD Applications
Examining and Testing Branch
NSW Education Standards Authority
GPO Box 5300
Sydney NSW 2001

Successful applicants for the position of Chief Examiner will be notified by the end of August 2016. Successful applicants for committee membership will be notified early in Term 4, 2016. Successful applicants for assessor will be notified in Term 4, 2016 or in Term 1, 2017.

Any queries should be directed to:

Michelle Aspery Head, Test Development

(02) 9367 8372

Statement of Equity Principles

The NESA Statement of Equity Principles and related guiding statements inform project and writing teams of syllabuses, support documents, examinations, assessment guidelines and other relevant educational materials produced by NESA.

2017 HSC Examination committees

HSC Examination committees and related courses by KLA

An asterisk indicates that a Chief Examiner vacancy exists for a particular committee in 2017. Where a committee has responsibility for more than one course, the courses are indicated in square brackets.

This list is updated periodically, so please check when this document was last updated.

This list was last modified on 31 May 2016.


  • English – [English (Advanced), English (Standard)]
  • English (ESL) *
  • English Extension *


  • Biology
  • Chemistry *
  • Earth and Environmental Science *
  • Physics *
  • Senior Science *


  • Aboriginal Studies *
  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies *
  • Economics *
  • Geography *
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Society and Culture
  • Studies of Religion – [Studies of Religion I, Studies of Religion II]

Creative Arts

  • Dance *
  • Drama
  • Music – [Music 1, Music 2]
  • Visual Arts *


  • Mathematics * – [Mathematics, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2]
  • Mathematics General 2


  • Automotive
  • Business Services
  • Construction *
  • Electrotechnology
  • Entertainment Industry *
  • Financial Services *
  • Hospitality *
  • Human Services
  • Information and Digital Technology
  • Metal and Engineering *
  • Primary Industries
  • Retail Services *
  • Tourism, Travel and Events *


  • Agriculture
  • Design and Technology *
  • Engineering Studies *
  • Food Technology *
  • Industrial Technology *
  • Information Processes and Technology *
  • Software Design and Development
  • Textiles and Design


  • Community and Family Studies *

HSC Languages Examination committees and related courses by KLA

An asterisk (*) indicates that a Chief Examiner vacancy exists for a particular committee. Where a committee has responsibility for more than one course, the courses are indicated in square brackets.

This list is updated periodically, so please check when this document was last updated.

This list was last modified on 31 May 2016.


  • Arabic Beginners
  • Arabic Continuers *
  • Arabic Extension *
  • Armenian *
  • Chinese Background Speakers
  • Chinese Beginners
  • Chinese Continuers *
  • Chinese Extension
  • Croatian *
  • Filipino
  • French Beginners *
  • French Continuers*
  • French Extension*
  • German Beginners
  • German Continuers *
  • German Extension *
  • Heritage Chinese
  • Heritage Indonesian
  • Heritage Japanese
  • Heritage Korean *
  • Indonesian Background Speakers
  • Indonesian Beginners *
  • Indonesian Continuers
  • Indonesian Extension
  • Italian Beginners *
  • Italian Continuers
  • Italian Extension
  • Japanese Background Speakers *
  • Japanese Beginners
  • Japanese Continuers *
  • Japanese Extension *
  • Korean Background Speakers *
  • Korean Beginners *
  • Korean Continuers
  • Modern Greek Beginners
  • Modern Greek Continuers *
  • Modern Greek Extension *
  • Modern Hebrew Continuers *
  • Serbian
  • Spanish Beginners
  • Spanish Continuers *
  • Spanish Extension *
  • Swedish *
  • Ukrainian *
  • Vietnamese Continuers *

Classical Languages

  • Classical Greek * – [Classical Greek Continuers, Classical Greek Extension]
  • Classical Hebrew * – [Classical Hebrew Continuers, Classical Hebrew Extension]
  • Latin *– [Latin Continuers, Latin Extension]
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