HSC Info

How HSC marks are calculated?

A student’s achievement in the HSC consists of their results in each of the courses they study. A student’s achievement for each course is usually reported by an examination mark, an assessment mark, an HSC mark (the average of the first two) and a performance band.

Source: http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/hsc-results/determining-achievement.html


Moderated Assessment Marks

Throughout your HSC, a student completes school based assessment which together contribute 50% of the final HSC mark for a course. These assessments may take various forms including tests, written assignments, practical activities, field work and projects. An approximate number of assessments in one course is three to five. The school submits your school-based assessment mark to the Board for each of your courses. The Board will moderate your assessment marks after your exams. The purpose of moderation is to adjust all of the school assessment marks in each course to a common scale which is the examination. The reason for moderating assessment marks is that all schools use different assessment tasks and they all mark slightly differently.  This means that there is a need for adjustment in these marks to another student’s marks who studied in a different school. Moderation allows this direct comparison between assessment marks awarded by different schools. The assessment marks for each school/course group are moderated according to the same group’s examination performance.

What is ATAR ?

ATAR is a university admission rank which is calculated by the Universities Admission Cntre (UAC) to allocate university placements to students.  ATAR is released by UAC one day after the Board releases the HSC results.
ATAR calculation is not mandatory. It’s optional. HSC students may indicate that they wish to have an ATAR calculated. ATAR is relevant to only those who wish to get admission to a university course in the following year of completing their HSC. If a student wishes to have their ATAR calculated, they must have satisfactorily completed at least 10 units of certain Board developed courses for which formal examination are conducted by the BOSTES NSW. UAC uses student’s HSC marks for ATAR calculation.

ATAR Calculation

Stepwise Process of ATAR Calculation

Stepwise Process of ATAR CalculationPut simply, if your aggregate places you in the 99.75th percentile among your entire cohort, your ATAR would be 99.75. For more information about ATAR, go to http://www.uac.edu.au/atar/

What is important for students and their parents

From the above details, the point is clear that the planning for ATAR should start from year 9 and 10 as this is the time when year 11 subjects are chosen.

Scaling and its relevance to subject selection.

As ATAR is important in getting admission in your preferred uni degree, you must understand what role scaling plays in ATAR calculation.  UAC uses scaling to compare relative performance across different subjects. After BOS determines the aligned mark for different subjects. They are still incomparable because of differing level of difficulty in subjects. For example, how would you compare Mark’s result of analigned mark of Maths extension 1 with his friend who scored 90 in Maths advanced? Who performed better? This is the reason why universities cannot use aligned HSC marks for selection into their courses. For a fair and equitable comparison of student’s performance UAC converts each subject’s raw HSC mark into a UAC score and then into ATAR.

In simple terms, scaling means estimating the HSC mark of a particular subject in order to know what the mark would have been if all courses had been studied by all students. As a result of scaling, different marks in different subjects get converted to  a single UAC score for every subject.

Now, an important question is which HSC subjects scale well. Maths extension 1 and Maths extension 2 are scaled very well. Higher scaled subjects are always preferable for a higher ATAR due to the reason that even a lower exam mark gets converted to a higher UAC score due to higher scaled mark, and a higher UAC score gets a higher ATAR.