News & Updates
CSSA provides over 450 NSW schools with their trial papers and are considered the more difficult test paper for HSC trial exams. This year, students across the state were amused to find similarities between the HSC Standard English Paper 2 and the equivalent CSSA trial paper. When CSSA representative Ian Baker was asked to comment, he simply put it down to the laws of probability. He went on to explain that with test papers, writers base the questions off the same mandatory syllabus requirements, content, and rubric, and that this year’s paper similarity was just a coincidence. A similar incident occurred with a HSC ancient history exam back in 2004.
Eva Gold, an executive officer of NESA commented that as both questions were derived from syllabus descriptions, this could have been legitimately coincidental. She went on to say, “We have all ‘tipped’ a paper or two in our time and so that similarity is certainly possible, especially when both have stuck closely to the module and its language.”
Another representative for NESA, commented that assessment questions can often be similar due to schools selecting the same texts. The HSC papers are written months before the actual exam and the team of writers for the HSC papers ensure rigorous quality assurance and confidentiality.
In the CSSA trial paper, Module A’s question was: How has the exploration of language in your prescribed text both revealed and disrupted assumptions about culture?
In the HSC paper, Module A: To what extent does your prescribed text disrupt assumptions about culture?
In the CSSA trial paper, Module B: How do the distinctive qualities of Mark Haddon's novel communicate his commentary on the relationship between acceptance and rejection?
In the HSC paper, Module B: In what ways does The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time invite questions about acceptance and prejudice?
This coincidence has sparked controversy and divided opinions, with some students expressing frustrations that this meant an unfair advantage for a large portion of schools and others happy with their luck.