How your HSC works
- Image: Ashlee Noble, Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, Bonville, (detail) ARTEXPRESS, HSC 2006
Step 6 – Marking
You can read the marking guidelines in each year’s Notes from the Marking Centre. The guidelines are set by the exam committee, based on what they believe to be fair marks for different answers. Before marking begins, the supervisor of marking, senior markers and the Chief Examiner read a wide range of student responses and check that the guidelines will provide adequate advice for markers. If necessary, the guidelines can be changed or examples can be added to show the different ways students can earn a particular mark.
Your exam papers are carefully tracked from exam centre to marking centre. Marking takes place in several Sydney venues as well as in regional marking centres including Bathurst, Coffs Harbour, Wollongong, Wagga Wagga and Tamworth.
Where your exam papers are marked will depend on the subjects you studied. For example, your English paper might be marked in Bathurst while your Visual Arts project might be marked in Sydney. Country marking centres open marking jobs to teachers from all over NSW. Teachers take marking responsibilities very seriously and regard marking as one of their most important professional development activities.
To increase reliability and fairness in marking, many different markers will mark each of your exam papers. Your English exam, for example, will be marked by at least 12 different markers, each specialising in the question they are allocated.
For this reason, most answer booklets or exam papers are designed to be pulled apart and sent to different teams of markers. ‘Track and trace’ procedures make sure no part of your paper is lost in this process and that you are credited with every mark you earn in every section.
Other quality controls in marking include briefing and pilot marking, check marking, double marking and control scripts.
To record the marks you earn, the marker working on your answers receives a pre-printed ‘marksheet’ with your Student Number on it and the details of which part of which exam your answer comes from. This marksheet can only be used for your response. Your marks are handwritten on your marksheet, then we check that the right mark is written against the right Student Number.
The marksheets are then scanned and the marks read by our computer. Markers are trained to write clearly on the sheets, but on the rare occasion the computer cannot read your mark – if it is untidy or unclear – the system alerts a human ‘verifier’ who reads the sheet, and enters the correct mark into the computer. Throughout marking, a variety of checks and quality control processes are carried out to be sure the computer reads your marks correctly.
In some subjects, your response may be scanned into the computer and delivered via our secure internet connection to a marker who views it on their computer and awards a mark. In these cases, the marks are entered directly into our computer system by the marker.
- HSC Assessment in a Standards-Referenced Framework – A Guide to Best Practice. A booklet that will assist schools and teachers in designing and implementing good policies and procedures for the Higher School Certificate Assessment Program.
- Marking guidelines