The requirements to meet the HSC Minimum Standard have been simplified under a change announced today by Education Minister Rob Stokes. Following detailed consultation over the past 12 months, results for Year 9 NAPLAN tests will no longer be linked to the minimum standard of numeracy and literacy for the HSC. Mr Stokes said that the introduction of a minimum standard to receive the HSC from 2020 was a reform that had widespread support, ensuring all students who receive the HSC have the literacy and numeracy skills needed to succeed in life after school.

However, he recognised the link of this standard to Year 9 NAPLAN tests placed unnecessary pressure on Year 9 students. “NAPLAN should be a simple check-up, not a major operation. It is one tool used to assess educational progress – not a high stakes test,” Mr Stokes said. “Allowing students to demonstrate the HSC minimum standard early with their Year 9 NAPLAN scores inadvertently transformed NAPLAN into a high stakes test.”


Mr Stokes expressed his gratitude to teachers, parents and school communities for their feedback over the past year. All HSC students will now meet the HSC minimum standard through short online tests in reading, writing and numeracy. Tests can be taken in Years 10, 11 or 12, in a process similar to obtaining the NSW Learner Drivers Licence. “These tests are available for students to take anytime their teachers think they are ready, removing the stress and protecting the value of the HSC,” Mr Stokes said.

NSW Education Standards Authority CEO David de Carvalho supports the change. “The NSW Government’s decision has removed a complicating aspect of the policy that was causing concern about the purpose of NAPLAN,” Mr de Carvalho said. The change does not affect current Year 10 students.