Our Higher School Certificate (HSC) scores typically include three grades— assessment marks, exam marks, and HSC marks, which is the average of the first two grades—for each of your courses. Additionally, a performance band will be given to you, indicating how well you performed in comparison to other course participants.

The moderation procedure is how we determine your HSC results. To guarantee that all students are treated equitably and the results are accurate, this procedure involves strict quality controls. Find out more about how the HSC scores are calculated as per the NSW curriculum below.

Matching exam marks to performance requirements

This procedure allows for the comparison of marks from several years

We employ a process called “standards-setting” to match raw exam grades to Performance Band Descriptions because exam papers and marking criteria change every year. We then adjust assessment scores based on how well the school group performed on the HSC exam. This makes it possible to compare student grades and performances across years.

Performance Band Descriptions outline each performance band’s qualities

There are six tiers, or performance bands, in each of our course-specific performance band descriptions. The kinds of information, abilities, and understandings needed by students at each level are also described.

The highest achievement level is represented by Band 6, and the lowest by Band 1. A student who scores higher in a band demonstrates a stronger command of the knowledge and abilities needed for that band than a student who scores lower in that band.

Based on your HSC score, you are assigned to a performance band for each course.

The cut-off marks for each exam are determined by expert markers

The minimum score required in each exam to reach the achievement criteria for each performance band is determined by a panel of judges, who are recommended by the supervisor of marking. The “cut-off marks” for the exam are these scores.

To protect the integrity of the standards-setting procedure, we don’t disclose these marks. This enables judges to determine the cut-off marks each year independently of those from prior years.

There are four processes involved in determining the cut-off marks for each performance band.

Stage 1: Independent Judging

  • A student at the level between each performance band would earn the mark that each judge assigns after reviewing each question.
  • The judge’s proposed cut-off scores for the exam are calculated by adding these scores together.
  • The team’s initial set of anticipated cut-off marks is calculated by averaging all judges’ suggested scores for each band.

Stage 2: Team discussion

  • The statistics on each question’s performance by students in the course at various levels of achievement as well as their responses to the many multiple-choice options are examined by the judges.
  • Judges make any necessary changes to their earlier recommendations.
  • The team’s second set of estimated cut-off marks is calculated by averaging the judges’ modified cut-off scores for each band.

Stage 3: Refinement and Recommendation

  • Judges examine sample student replies that have been scored at or near each cut-off mark and affirm that they are in line with what is reasonable for that level.
  • Judges revise their recommendations further as necessary.
  • These cut-off scores are suggested by the judges to the HSC Standards Committee, which is composed of top NSW educational assessment experts.

Stage 4: HSC Standards Committee review

  • Before settling on the final cut-off scores, this technical committee of experts analyzes the work and recommendations of the judges.
  • The committee also decides what to do if it discovers any problems or irregularities with the process of developing standards. 

Every exam score is in line with our reporting system’s criteria

After determining the cut-off scores, we employ the following mathematical method to align the raw exam scores to our reporting scale.

The band cutoff point is:

  • 6 is adjusted to 90
  • 5 is adjusted to 80
  • 4 is adjusted to 70
  • 3 is adjusted to 60
  • 2 is adjusted to 50

A score of 100 remains at 100, while a score of 0 remains at 0.

The band cutoff for courses offered through Extension is:

  • E4 is adjusted to 45
  • E3 is adjusted to 35
  • E2 is adjusted to 25

In order to be classified in Band 6, a student must achieve a minimum grade of 90. Using a process known as “interpolation,” students whose raw exam mark was on or over the cut-off level between bands 5 and 6 will receive an exam mark that falls between 90 and 100. Students who received raw exam scores that fell within the Band 2/3 and Band 3/4 cut-offs will also obtain HSC exam scores between 60 and 69.

The cut-off scores, for instance, are as follows for a fictitious course:

  • 82 for Band 6
  • 74 for Band 5

A student would obtain an exam mark of 90 on their HSC if their raw exam score was 82, just meeting the requirement for Band 6. A student would earn an exam mark of 80 if their raw exam score was 74, just meeting the requirement for Band 5. Halfway between the cutoff marks for bands 5 and 6, a student’s raw exam score of 78 would result in an exam score of 85.

Understanding your HSC mark and performance band

Your test and evaluation marks are averaged to produce your HSC mark

The HSC grade you earn for each course—which is listed alongside your test and assessment grades—is simply the average of these two grades. Rounding is done to the nearest whole number for half-marks.

For instance, if your exam result was 92 and your assessment grade was 89, the average is 90.5. The HSC score is then rounded up to 91.

Performance band is based on the HSC mark

Additionally, based on your HSC grade, you are given a performance band for each course. Therefore, if your HSC score is 91, you will be assigned to Band 6. 

These are some of the ways in which HSC scores are calculated as per the NSW curriculum. To determine the HSC results, Cosmos the best HSC Coaching in Parramatta, uses a moderation process that includes strict quality controls to ensure each and every student is treated fairly and the outcomes are accurate.