HSC examinations: projects, submitted works and performances – Information for Students
You have chosen to study a course that has a practical project, submitted work or performance as part of the HSC examination. It is important that your project is all your own work (apart from any approved assistance), and that you and your school are able to certify to the Board of Studies that this is the case.
What does certification of my project/performance mean?
You will be required to sign a declaration similar to the following:
I declare that:
- the planning, development, content and presentation of this project is my own work, except for the limited material, if any, drawn from acknowledged sources
- I have not copied another person’s work
- I have not submitted this work, in any part, for any HSC examination or assessment task in any other course
- I have not worked on it after 9:00 am on the completion/hand-in date
- I have read and discussed with my parent/guardian/carer the Higher School Certificate Rules and Procedures, including those on plagiarism and malpractice
- I understand that if this declaration contains false information I might not be eligible to receive my Higher School Certificate results.
Your supervising teacher will ask you to sign the declaration when you hand in your project or submitted work, or when you present for your performance examination.
Your supervising teacher and your principal are also required to sign a declaration. They must certify that your project, submitted work or performance:
- complies with the Board’s requirements
- is your own work
- has been done under their supervision and is consistent with other examples of your work.
If you are planning a project that will need some work to be completed away from school, your teacher must agree that they can supervise your project and they must also be sure that it comprises only your own work. You must obtain your school’s permission before you start on such a project. Note that, as it is intended that the syllabus content is taught through the development of submitted projects, most of the project is to be completed at school under the supervision of the supervising class teacher. Projects will only be marked away from school sites in exceptional circumstances and only with the express permission of the Board of Studies. Please check with your supervising class teacher that this permission has been sought and granted as soon as possible.
You are not required to spend excessive amounts of time and/or resources on projects, submitted works or performances. Materials that you submit as part of a project, submitted work or performance should have a purpose in relation to the project and its marking criteria; if you are in doubt on this matter, please talk to your supervising teacher.
How will my supervising teacher know that my project is all my own work?
Your teacher is required to supervise your work and monitor its progress. You should keep a written record of meetings and discussions with your teacher about your work. In most courses with a project you will be required to keep a journal, diary or log. You will need to show it to your supervising teacher regularly so that your teacher is aware of your work’s progress. If your work is on computer you should save copies of the work at various stages of development. Date-stamped digital photos are also useful records of progress of your project.
Am I allowed to receive outside assistance with my project?
Your supervising teacher will discuss your project with you and provide feedback on its development. This is not regarded as ‘outside assistance’. If your supervising teacher needs to work on your project – for example, it may require equipment that students are not permitted to use at school – this is regarded as ‘outside assistance’ and must be acknowledged as such in your project journal or folio.
If you need to ask someone else to work on your project (eg a plastics expert to mould a piece of plastic for your project), you must discuss this work with your supervising teacher before any work is undertaken. Your supervising teacher will advise you if such work is permitted and, if so, how you should acknowledge this assistance in your folio, journal or other documentation.
Some students may wish to have an outside ‘mentor’ for specific advice or assistance with aspects of their project. It is very important that you discuss this with your supervising teacher to make sure that the assistance you are planning to get is allowable, and that it is appropriately acknowledged. If you wish to have someone other than your supervising teacher (for example, your parents or a tutor) review your work and comment on it for you, you should discuss this with your supervising teacher beforehand, to clarify how much assistance and advice is appropriate, and whether it should be acknowledged.
Remember: if no assistance is acknowledged by you, then your signature on the declaration form certifies that the work you submit is entirely your own original work. This means that the words, ideas, designs and/or workmanship are all your original work, and that you have received no outside assistance whatsoever.
How can I ensure that my work will be certified?
- If you are planning to work on your project away from school, obtain your school’s permission first, and discuss how they can supervise this, and how they will supervise it and be sure that the work is all your own.
- Ensure that your supervising teacher sees your work in progress, and is aware of your intentions for your project.
- Make sure you have evidence of the development of your project that shows your project is all your own work and is consistent with other work you have produced.
- If any person other than you has worked on or contributed to your project, make sure this is acknowledged in your journal/logbook/folio or other appropriate written record.
- Complete all work by the due date.
- Hand in all documentation as advised by your supervising teacher and required for the marking of your work (this may include logs, process diaries, composition portfolios etc).
The Board’s rules state that projects must not contain materials or processes that are dangerous to the health and safety of anyone involved. Prohibited weapons, replicas or related articles must not be used, produced or displayed. There are specific course requirements including size, weight and duration limits for projects and performances. Penalties for not complying with requirements could include loss of marks.
Note that projects that do not meet the Board’s requirements will not be eligible for public exhibitions and performances.
What will happen if my supervising teacher is not able to certify my project?
If a project is not certified there may be a reduction of marks or a mark of zero for the project. Your supervising teacher will complete a report giving full reasons why your project cannot be certified. You will be given the opportunity to provide comments on your supervising teacher’s report. If the reason for non-certification is suspected cheating or work that is not entirely your own, you will need to provide evidence that your project is all your own work, and that any outside assistance has been acknowledged.
The Board of Studies will make a judgement as to whether any penalty will be applied, and you and your school will be notified at the time of release of the HSC results.
For more information, speak to your school or refer to the pamphlet HSC Assessments and Submitted Works: Advice to Students, which is available on the Board of Studies website. There are also valuable tips regarding completing projects, submitted works and performances on Students Online.