Was the HSC Standard Maths Exam Just Advanced Maths With Worse Scaling?

October 28, 2020

Was the HSC Standard Maths Exam just Advanced Maths with worse scaling?
Teachers and students across the state have expressed their frustrations regarding the difficulty of Monday’s HSC Mathematics Standard 2 exam. Many claimed that the questions included went beyond the scope of the Standard mathematics syllabus, with more than a fifth of the exam questions identical across both Advanced and Standard HSC papers.

The common elements included a four mark question asking students to calculate interest, another four mark question requiring students to calculate the area of a decagon and a five mark statistics question. While most Advanced students would have been prepared for such questions, many Standard students reported finding the questions very challenging.

Rasheel Tannous, a Standard Maths student from St Mary’s told the Sydney Morning Herald “that exam was one of the hardest exams I have come across. During my reading time, I really thought that the papers with advanced and standard got mixed up.” Dr Julie Greenhalgh, principal of Meridan high school in Sydney’s Strathfield suburb, stating that “the standard paper was more difficult than previously.” However, Greenhalgh did not believe that the questions were ‘inappropriately’ difficult.
This is the first time in the HSC that the Standard mathematics exam has shared questions with the Advanced exam. So what was the reason for the common questions? According to a NESA spokesperson, NESA included the common elements in order to gain a better understanding of student performance and aptitude across the two different levels of mathematics.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a NESA spokesperson has confirmed that NESA itself had been inundated with feedback from parents and students criticising the difficulty of the exam. Despite the feedback from students, teachers and parents however NESA refutes the claim that the questions went beyond the scope of the syllabus, but also noted that they will be carefully monitoring the marking process of the HSC Maths Standard 2 paper.

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