Local High School students will have a new Higher School Certificate (HSC) syllabus after the NSW Education Standards Authority decided grammar and writing skills need to be improved across all schools.
The new syllabuses will be introduced next year for students doing the HSC in 2019 and will encourage more students to study traditional core subjects in Years 11 and 12, rather than avoid them in favour of so-called ‘easier’ subjects.
A four-year consultation period with teachers and academics has resulted in new syllabuses for Maths, English, History and Science. English will be the only compulsory HSC subject.
There will be a renewed emphasis on maths in the sciences, especially Physics and Chemistry and students who study higher level maths will be rewarded through the introduction of a common marking scale to discourage them from choosing easier subjects.
NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) chairman Tom Alegounarias said a new topic, the Craft of Writing, would be mandatory for all English students.
"Being able to write well, including the correct use of grammar, has never been so important, " he said.
Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson said she was pleased NESA will now review the syllabus every 5-years – not every 20 years.
“My daughter is sitting the HSC next year and I think it is important we continue to prioritise getting the fundamentals right, but also keep up with the times in a fast-changing world," she said.
"The change will ensure that students gain the depth of knowledge, understanding and skills that are relevant to current economic, social and workforce needs."
Ms Hodgkinson said the NSW Government is also introducing a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy for the HSC.
"This was announced to not only raise the functional literacy and numeracy skills of all students but to provide an assurance to the community and employers that students have the functional skills required for employment, continued study and everyday life," she said.
"The NESA will also redesign HSC examination questions to assess students on their mastery of knowledge and application of skills, and not just their recall of facts.”