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Aboriginal Studies HSC Specimen Examination


This package contains:

  • a specimen examination paper (PDF) for the 2012 Higher School Certificate examination in Aboriginal Studies
  • a mapping grid, showing how each question in the examination relates to the syllabus, outcomes and content, and to the performance bands
  • sample marking guidelines
  • a copy of the performance band descriptions for Aboriginal Studies, which have been modified to reflect the changes in the revised syllabus
  • a copy of the rubrics for Section III and Section IV of the examination, which have been modified to reflect the changes in the revised syllabus.

The 2012 HSC specimen paper has been produced in accordance with the Board’s Principles for Setting HSC Examinations in a Standards-Referenced Framework, published in Board Bulletin Volume 8 Number 9 (Nov/Dec 99).

Questions are closely related to the outcomes of the course, and the paper as a whole is structured to allow for appropriate differentiation of student performance at all levels on the performance scale.

The paper has been designed so that students have a clear understanding of what they are required to do in each question and in working through the paper. Where key words such as ‘discuss’, ‘analyse’ and ‘explain’ appear in questions, they have been used consistently in accordance with the glossary published in the Board’s Assessment Support Document (PDF). The questions are written to ensure that they are clear and accessible to all students, and allow students the opportunity to demonstrate what they know, understand and can do.

The specimen paper is one example of the type of examination that could be prepared within the examination specifications in the revised Aboriginal Studies syllabus. Examinations will be based on the syllabus, and will test a representative sample of syllabus outcomes. Therefore, the range and balance of outcomes tested in HSC examinations may differ from those addressed in this specimen paper.

The mapping grid is an important feature of the development of the examination. It aids in ensuring that the examination as a whole samples a range of content and outcomes, and allows all students the opportunity to demonstrate their level of achievement.

Marking guidelines are developed at the same time as the examination questions, and show the criteria to be applied to the responses, together with the marks to be awarded in line with the quality of the responses. For extended-response questions, performance is described at a number of levels, each covering a range of marks. Marking guidelines will generally require some refinement at the marking centre to take account of unanticipated responses that students present. For extended-response questions, the standard described at each mark range will be made clear during test marking by the selection of sample scripts.

There are a number of points to note in considering the Aboriginal Studies specimen paper:

  • the format of the specimen paper reflects the new examination specifications. In subsequent examinations, the style and structure of the questions may differ from those in the specimen paper
  • a rubric indicating general criteria for judging performance for extended response questions has been placed at the beginning of Section I, Part B ­– A Comparative Study and Part C – A Global Perspective and a Comparative Study; Section II and Section III to clearly indicate the factors that will be used to assess responses to the question(s). These criteria are in addition to criteria specific to each question.
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