HSC Minimum Standard


From 2020, students in NSW need to meet a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy to receive the Higher School Certificate. It is a standard most students are expected to achieve by the end of Year 12 when they sit their HSC.

To show they meet the HSC minimum standard, students need to achieve Level 3 or 4 in short online reading, writing and numeracy tests of skills for everyday life.

2021 key dates

Term 1

  • 15 February: Years 10 to HSC Minimum Standard tests open.
  • 1 April: Years 10 to HSC enrolments for Minimum Standard tests and Practice tests closes; Minimum Standard test window closes.

Term 2

  • 19 April -25 June: Enter students into Minimum Standard tests and Minimum Standard test window.

Term 3

  • 12 July – 17 September: Enter students into Minimum Standard tests and Minimum Standard test window.

Term 4

  • 5 October – 22 November: Enter students into Minimum Standard tests and Minimum Standard test window.
  • 22 November: Deadline to sit each test and receive the HSC credential by results day.

How do students meet the HSC minimum standard?


To show they meet the HSC minimum standard, students need to:

  • achieve Level 3 or 4 in the online reading test and
  • achieve Level 3 or 4 in the online writing test and
  • achieve Level 3 or 4 in the online numeracy test.

22 November 2021 is the deadline to sit each test and receive the HSC credential by results day

What happens if a student doesn’t meet the HSC minimum standard?


Students do not need to meet the HSC minimum standard to:

  • study HSC courses
  • sit HSC exams
  • receive HSC assessment and exam results
  • receive an ATAR
  • receive a Record of School Achievement

Only students who meet the HSC minimum standard will receive a Higher School Certificate testamur.

Online Tests


Students will have a number of opportunities to meet the HSC minimum standard. This includes four opportunities each year from Year 10 up to five years after starting their first HSC course. At least 30 calendar days are required before re-attempting a test in the same domain. Students have to meet the HSC minimum standard in reading, writing and numeracy only once.

There have been changes to the minimum standard online test process this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Year12 students will now have increased chances to sit the minimum standard online tests. Year 12 students yet to meet the HSC minimum standard will be able to attempt each test up to six times in 2020, with 14 calendar days between re-attempts.

There are three 45 minute online tests:

  • an adaptive, multiple choice reading test
  • an adaptive, multiple choice numeracy test
  • a test for writing based on a written or visual prompt

The online tests will be administered by schools. Schools will help students to decide when they are ready to take each test.

Links and resources


NESA

The NESA website has information and resources available, including details about:

  • timeframes
  • online tests
  • demonstration tests and sample questions
  • disability provisions and exemptions
  • resources for students, parents and teachers.


Schools Online

Additional information, support and resources are available in Schools Online to help schools implement the HSC minimum standard and the associated tests including:

  • Online self-paced modules for Secondary teachers
  • Information kits
  • Guidelines

AISNSW

AISNSW offers professional learning to support schools in this area. Information on the Lifting Literacy and Numeracy to Meet the HSC Minimum Standard course is available on the Courses and Events page of the AISNSW website.

AISNSW Student Services team provides tailored in-school consultancy support.

Email litnumstrategy@aisnsw.edu.au for further support.