A summary of the upcoming changes to the HSC syllabus

2 March 2017 The Alchemy Team

The Board of Studies (or BOSTES as they are now called) recently released a list of changes to the HSC syllabus that will affect every student that goes through year 12 from 2018 and beyond.*

I wanted to give a quick summary to provide parents a glimpse of how things are changing and how this will affect your child (but if you would like to read the entire press release you can do so here.)

Renewed emphasis on depth of learning rather than simply remembering facts and quotes.

This is one I welcome with open arms! Too many subjects reward students who can remember the best, rather than those who have the strongest understanding or knowledge. They will be changing the focus of exams to make them feel more like a conversation than a one way list of facts.

Moving away from the area of study

For as long as I can remember, HSC English has featured an area of study around a usually gimmicky topic – Discovery, Belonging, Journeys, Identity. The problem with this is that students were required to view every text through a specific set of lenses, even if that wasn’t the original intention or message. In the new syllabus they will be focussing on quality literature for what it is rather than trying to find a specific theme in it, with further emphasis on writing skills, grammar and depth.

Maths will get harder sooner

Students often complain that the jump from year 10 maths to year 11 maths is too significant. The new syllabus will be introducing year 11 and 12 topics at the year 9 and 10 level, such as calculus and complex statistics, as a way of preparing students for higher level maths. There will also be further integration with technology in maths – with student having to explore topics such as how google works.

A huge makeover for Science

The science curriculum is perhaps the biggest scheduled change – which I guess makes sense seeing as scientific studies constantly progress and develop. There will be all new topics in the HSC courses of Biology, Physics and Chemistry, and the addition of an extension science subject.

Overall it seems a great step towards actually equipping students for the future. It seems they have seen the needs in our country for the next 50 years and adapted accordingly. Well done BOSTES, well done!

What does this mean for your child?

Any large shake up like this sends up a cloud of uncertainty – not only from the student level but also the teaching level. Teachers will have to learn new topics – which in many ways will be more challenging that it is for the students!

I know many English teachers who have done the same 4 English texts for the HSC for the last 10+ years. Suddenly they are going to have to do something completely new!

I think that at times like this there has never been a more valuable time to have a private tutor. With competition tougher than ever, and a whole lot of uncertainty, a private tutor will help give students confidence that they are on the right path.

If you have a student in year 10 or below, these changes will affect them directly, so get a head start by organising your tutor today.

*some of these changes will happen gradually over the next few years, but will all be in play by 2020.

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