HSC reforms miss big chance for shake-up
LAST week NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli announced major reforms to the Higher School Certificate in response to concerns over school leavers’ literacy and numeracy standards and to ensure that students are better prepared for the changing nature of work.
This is the first time in 17 years that the HSC has undergone significant change.
These changes will come into effect for Year 12 students in 2020.
The rationale for modernising the HSC is not only due to the increasing influence of technology on work, school and home life, but is an attempt to improve levels of literacy and numeracy for all students.
Students will only be eligible to receive the HSC if they have met a minimum standard of Band 8 in NAPLAN in Year 9.
There is little detail on what happens to those students who don’t meet the benchmarks.
However, there are promises that they will get extra support and further opportunities to meet the benchmark before they sit for the HSC.
What this will look like and how effective it will be is anyone’s guess.
These new reforms are akin to playing the same game on a new paddock.
All the talk about improving education by improving testing has been heard before.
The HSC is an artefact of last century – rolled out in schools in the ’60s when the world and work was very different.
The HSC reforms are a missed opportunity to look long term at how we teach and assess our students.
We desperately need reforms on the early years of schooling.
Because getting it right from the beginning makes more sense than playing catch-up at the end of schooling.
While Finland is now focusing on ‘happiness’ as a key educational outcome and our nearby Asian neighbours are looking at how to move beyond high stakes testing to improve entrepreneurism, Australia will continue to be stuck a century behind where we aspire to be.
If we are serious about preparing students for 21st century life and work, then we need to start by ensuring that every school is innovative.
The HSC reforms are a missed opportunity to look long term at how we teach and assess our students