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Fairness and integrity stats in NSW HSC

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has released the 2016 data for four programs that support the fairness and integrity of the NSW Higher School Certificate:
– Disability provisions
– Illness/misadventure applications
– Maintaining integrity in HSC examinations
– Maintaining integrity in school assessments

Disability provisions in the HSC give practical assistance to students who may otherwise be disadvantaged when undertaking their exams. Emergency provisions are also approved for late injuries such as a broken arm just prior to the examinations.

Disability provisions do not confer additional marks, and are not intended to confer any advantage. They allow students to participate in the examination process in the same way as their peers.

Illness/misadventure applications also do not confer any advantage. If an illness/misadventure application is upheld, NESA will consider other indicators of the students’ performance, such as school assessment marks, to ensure that the students are not disadvantaged by this occurrence.

Examination integrity includes breaches of examination rules and malpractice by students undertaking HSC examinations or school assessment tasks. NESA and schools take incidents of malpractice seriously, and warn students that the consequences of malpractice can range from loss of some marks to their entire HSC.

Summary of 2016 statistics:
Disability provisions

  • NESA received 7125 applications for disability provisions. 
  • Over 93% were either fully or partially approved.
  • Over 88% of all schools – and 87% of government schools – had at least one application for disability provisions. This is a small decrease from 2015.

Illness/misadventure applications

  • As Illness/misadventure applications are for occurrences of sickness or other unforeseen incidents, the numbers, types and schools vary from year to year.
  • Examples from 2016 include examinations being disrupted by bushfires in NSW and by Typhoon Haima for students taking HSC examinations in Hong Kong. 

Assessment integrity

  • All schools are required to maintain a register of malpractice in school assessment tasks
  • In 2016, 173 schools registered 722 offences involving 613 students
  • The most frequent offence was plagiarism, for which 63% of offenders received zero marks, and 29% were given reduced marks

Examination integrity 

  • Incidents of cheating remain very small. 
  • This includes a very small number of students (14 from over 73,000 students undertaking examinations) appearing before the Examination Rules Committee for breaching examination rules and 97 students where the school was unable to certify that the student’s major project was all their own work or completed in the permitted time.

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