School-based HSC assessment


Schools must follow social distancing requirements when planning or undertaking school assessment tasks.

The Board has given principals or system authorities the power to make decisions about school-based assessment for the 2020 HSC in relation to:

  • the number and weightings of formal assessment tasks
  • the task types.

NESA anticipates that most students will have already completed one formal assessment task in each course.

NESA’s principles of assessment continue to apply. Wherever possible, school-based assessment should continue to be:

  • based on a wide range of syllabus outcomes
  • based on multiple measures made throughout the HSC course
  • informed by the components identified in the assessment and reporting documents for each of the syllabuses
  • be inclusive of and accessible for all students.

Advice to students


  • Keep learning, do your assessments, make progress on your major projects.
  • Look after yourself, whether you are at school or at home.
  • Reach out to family, friends and your teachers if you need to.
  • Go to UAC COVID-19 updates for information about entering university in 2021

2020 HSC Timetable Update

All 2020 HSC students can access their personalised exam timetables via their Students Online account from 10am 15 May 2020.

The 2020 HSC written exam timetable will also be available on the NESA website from 10am.

For more information visit educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/covid-19-advice or contact the NESA COVID-19 support team on 1300 138 323 and covid19support@nesa.nsw.edu.au

Processes, procedures and policies


Schools should continue to implement their assessment policy where possible, including administrative arrangements for illness/misadventure and substitute tasks.

Given that most schools will make some changes to their assessment program, they should continue to ensure that students have adequate written notice of any changes to the school’s assessment program or policy, and are aware of the details of the school’s arrangements for illness/misadventure and substitute tasks.

COVID19 HSC Response Committee


The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Board has established a response committee to address developing and urgent issues relating to COVID-19.

The committee meets weekly (more if needed) to address arising issues and respond to schools and principals quickly.

The committee comprises representation from each of the three school sectors.

Committee members include:
Professor Peter Shergold, Chair of NESA Board
Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education
Dallas McInerney, CEO Catholic Schools NSW
Dr Geoff Newcombe, CEO Association of Independent Schools
Jenny Allum, Chair of NESA Assessment Committee
Denis Fitzgerald, Chair of NESA Curriculum Committee
Paul Martin, CEO of NESA.

Chair of the NESA Board, Professor Peter Shergold announced on 2nd of April 2020 a number of key decisions about the 2020 HSC made by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) COVID-19 Response Committee to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and parents during this challenging time.

Effective immediately, the Committee has agreed to:

  • give Principals and system authorities the power to determine the number, type and weighting of tasks for Year 11 school based assessment, in line with the decision communicated last week for HSC students
  • lift the requirement for VET students to undertake NESA work placements
  • cancel mandatory group performance exam in Drama and the mandatory ensemble performance exam in Music Extension.
  • modify other performance exams that breach social distancing requirements.

Already the NESA COVID-19 Response Committee has made changes to the HSC, placing the health and safety of students and their teachers above all else. In making these adjustments, the Committee is working to ensure that all students will be assessed fairly and equitably as they work towards their HSC.

The third meeting of NESA’s COVID-19 Response Committee was held on 24 April 2020. The meeting considered updates regarding #HSC practical examinations and HSC Timetabling impacts due to the impact of COVID-19 on schools and students.

The Committee decided:

• That the due dates for major projects in Design and Technology, Industrial Technology, Textiles and Design and Visual Arts will be extended and teachers will have the capacity to mark major projects.

• That HSC results are to be released as originally projected in mid December.

• That the written exam timetable will be released by 15 May 2020 (Week 3 Term 2)

• That parents and schools will be provided additional time to submit evidence required for disability provisions for exams.

The Committee will take more time to consult with stakeholders and consider additional expert advice to decide the fairest approach to major works in these areas. It will meet again before the end of the holidays to make a decision about major projects.

Be assured, that advice from the Committee will remain ongoing, with NESA placing health, safety and equity at the forefront of decision-making.
The NESA COVID-19 support team is available from 9am to 5pm on business days.

See the NESA website for more information here

In response to emerging issues and to better inform our representations on the COVID19 committee, Catholic Schools NSW has set up an Education Policy Reference Group to advise specifically with decision making for NESA HSC adjustments. This will ensure all operational, in-school and practitioner perspectives from Catholic schools are represented and fully accounted for by the COVID-19 Response Committee.

For an outline of the COVID19 Response Committee please see below document.

Latest Advice


Stay up to date with the latest advice & media releases from CSNSW & NESA here:

For more updates and information please see the NESA website.