The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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My many Problems with NESA

My+many+Problems+with+NESA
Arjun P (Year 11)

As many will know The New South Wales Education Standards Authority, or NESA, is the organisation that’s responsible for supervising the entire school curriculum from K-12 and regulates the HSC. As many will also know, it’s not very good at making these curriculums very fair or forgiving.

I’m sure if you know anyone from year 12, they’ve at least said one thing about how unfair the HSC is, and how much stress they’re under. In fairness to NESA, there’s no getting around the stress of this being our final year at school, however they’re not helping us at all.

If sitting one and a half to three-hour exams wasn’t enough torture, the use of digital timers is not permitted during the exams, it must be analogue. This may not seem too bad on the surface, however, when I’m in an exam and want to see how long is left, I don’t want to be using my already small brain to be calculating the time. The use of analogue timers is counterproductive as it means that I’ll be using part of my exam time to figure out how long is left of said exam, whereas with digital I can simply glance up, see how long’s left, and continue.

Another problem is the shear amount of stress that NESA puts upon HSC students. As mentioned previously, stress is obviously going to be a factor when completing your final year of school, however there are some choices made by NESA that unnecessarily add to that pressure. Things such as the shear amount of course content in some subjects make it incredibly difficult to learn and retain, especially when most students will be doing 10-12 units. As well as this, to do well in the HSC, you’re expected to cram what you’ve learned over the past year and use it for your exams, which is incredibly mentally taxing to those who are doing it. A survey done by UNSW found that 42% of students doing the HSC registered levels of anxiety symptoms high enough to be of clinical concern, and 54% felt that the expectations pushed onto them were too high. These statistics help in painting a picture of the concerningly stressful nature of the HSC.

Another massive problem I have with NESA however, is how they handle disability provisions for the HSC, specifically regarding extra time. It is incredibly rare for a student to be granted extra time for the HSC, and NESA even states on the NSW government website that students with extra time ‘would receive a significant advantage over students without that provision’. As someone who has ADHD, I think that the argument of extra time giving students an unfair advantage is incredibly misguided. The reason we were provided with these provisions in the first place was because we had an unfair disadvantage going into assessments compared to our neurotypical peers. Personally, I struggle with finishing exams even with my extra time provision, and so it being denied for me is incredibly worrying going into the trials and HSC. Slower processing speeds are a common symptom of ADHD, which essentially means we take longer to process information on average than someone without ADHD. This further supports the notion of extra time not being an unfair advantage, as that extra few minutes we get can help make up for the longer time it takes to process that information.

The current state of the HSC is needlessly stressful for those who have to endure it, and whilst not all that pressure can be alleviated, a lot of it can, and I think the current system needs to be changed for the benefit of students entering their final year.

Good luck to all my peers during this terrifying time.

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