Time’s up for HSC loop­hole

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - CHRISTO­PHER HAR­RIS

A “WELL-KNOWN” HSC loop­hole is en­abling over­seas stu­dents to see exam ques­tions and an­swers be­fore sit­ting their tests.

Ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties are now work­ing to stop web­sites from pub­lish­ing ques­tions and an­swers af­ter The Daily Tele­graph ex­posed the loop­hole.

Many NSW-based stu­dents are also dis­cussing their just­com­pleted ex­ams — in­clud­ing an­swers — in open on­line fo­rums be­fore their peers in dif­fer­ent time zones take the tests. Up to 400 stu­dents sit their HSC over­seas.

The cor­rect an­swers to the HSC chem­istry exam were this week passed on to tu­tor­ing com­pany Ma­trix Ed­u­ca­tion and pub­lished on its web­site just hours af­ter the test.

The Daily Tele­graph alerted the NSW Ed­u­ca­tion Stan­dards Au­thor­ity, which in­structed Ma­trix to take the in­for­ma­tion down and keep it off­line un­til 12 hours af­ter the exam ended.

The com­pany im­me­di­ately com­plied. How­ever, a Ma­trix Ed­u­ca­tion spokes­woman said that to close the loop­hole NESA would have to en­force a uni­form rule for all on­line con­tent af­ter HSC ex­ams.

“Given the mul­ti­ple sources of so­lu­tions that al­ready ex­isted in the mar­ket, we do not be­lieve we were pre­sent­ing any­thing that wasn’t al­ready widely avail­able,” the spokes­woman said.

The Daily Tele­graph has seen other HSC fo­rums where the ques­tions and an­swers were posted on­line soon af­ter NSW stu­dents emerged from exam rooms. Aus­tralian Tu­tor­ing As­so­ci­a­tion CEO Mo­han Dhall said: “It is well-known, ob­vi­ous loop­hole.”

A NESA spokesman said that HSC ex­ams sat over­seas op­er­ated un­der iden­ti­cal con­di­tions to those in NSW, and as close to their set time as pos­si­ble, say­ing: “NESA has ev­ery con­fi­dence th­ese stu­dents fol­lowed the proper pro­ce­dures, which means they did not make con­tact with their peers or view the exam on­line.”

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