# All About ATAR & Scaling Part 2 (Moderation of HSC Assessment Marks)

Posted on April 10, 2017 by DJ Kim

In our ATAR and scaling seminar, many students and parents ask:

1. Does the performance of my school in HSC exams affect my HSC marks?
2. If so, how does it affect my HSC marks and ATAR?

Yes, your school’s performance in the HSC exam of a subject does affect your final HSC assessment marks, and hence your HSC mark as well (the HSC mark is the average of the final HSC assessment mark and HSC exam mark). As ATAR is a rank determined by the sum of scaled marks (HSC marks are converted into scaled marks), it is important that students obtain the highest possible HSC mark for each course they undertake. Let’s explain how your HSC mark for each subject is affected through a process known as moderation of assessment marks.

## What is moderation of HSC assessment marks?

Moderation of your assessment marks is a process of adjusting all of the school assessment marks in each course to the HSC examination.

## Why is moderation of HSC assessment marks required?

All schools use different programs of assessment tasks and these are marked slightly differently.  Some schools’ assessment programs may be more demanding than others, which means that students from different schools experience different assessment conditions and results. Hence all final HSC assessment marks submitted by schools are adjusted to ensure that marks are awarded appropriately and consistently.

## How does the moderation of HSC assessment marks work?

So, how does moderation of final HSC assessment marks work? The moderation process involves complex statistical modelling and analysis.

Let’s use the following example to understand how this process can affect your HSC Mark. The table below lists the HSC English assessment marks and HSC English exam marks of students at a hypothetical school.

#### Peter’s HSC Mark

Peter was ranked first in English at his school and therefore his final HSC assessment mark is adjusted to equal to the highest HSC English exam mark in his school. Hence his final assessment mark of 94 is adjusted to 97!

Peter’s HSC Mark is calculated as:

Note that Peter’s final assessment has been adjusted upwards, yielding a higher HSC mark.

#### Sally’s HSC Mark

Sally was ranked second in English at her school and therefore her final HSC assessment mark is adjusted to equal to the second highest HSC English exam mark in her school. Hence her final HSC assessment mark of 93 is adjusted to 96 (thanks to Linda).

Sally’s HSC mark is calculated as:

#### Mark’s HSC Mark

Mark was ranked fourth in English at his school and therefore his final HSC assessment is adjusted to equal to the fourth highest HSC English exam mark in his school. Hence his final HSC assessment mark of 94 is adjusted to 91.

Mark’s HSC mark is calculated as:

#### Andrew’s HSC Mark

Andrew was ranked sixth in English at his school and therefore his final HSC assessment mark is adjusted to equal to the sixth highest HSC English exam mark in his school. Hence his final HSC assessment mark of 88 is adjusted to 86.

Andrew’s HSC mark is calculated as:

The BOSTES overview for how this example of assessment mark moderation works is as follows:

1. The mean of the school group’s assessments is adjusted to equal to the mean of the examination marks obtained by the students in that group.
2. The top HSC assessment mark is adjusted to equal to the highest examination mark obtained by any student in the group.
3. Where possible, the bottom moderated HSC assessment mark is equal to the lowest HSC examination mark obtained by any student in the group. Note, however, that this is not possible when the distributions of the school HSC assessments and the examination marks have very different shapes. In such cases the bottom moderated assessment mark  may need to be moved up or down.
4. The sum of HSC exam marks must equal to the sum of the final HSC assessment marks of a course in a school.

## How does my school performance affect my HSC assessment marks?

The performance of your school in a course  (e.g. in English Advanced, or Chemistry) in the HSC exam determines how your final HSC assessment marks are moderated. For example, if your Year 12 English Advanced cohort perform poorly in their HSC exam and the sum of their HSC English Advanced exam marks is less than the sum of their HSC English Advanced final assessment marks submitted to BOSTES, then most students’ final assessment marks are likely to be adjusted down.

Please note that this is not the same as ‘scaling’ of subjects. You can learn more about scaling of different subjects in the article All About ATAR & Scaling Part 1.

## How to minimise the impact of moderation of HSC assessment marks

If your school is performing poorly academically and you are concerned about how this might affect your HSC mark, you can minimise the negative effect of your school’s performance in a course by:

1. Ranking first in your overall school HSC assessment and in the HSC exam for each course. In such cases, your HSC exam mark will determine your assessment mark just like Peter in the example above.
2. Taking a collaborative learning approach with your peers by forming a small study group and sharing resources such as study notes and exam papers. This will increase the overall performance standard of your cohort in the HSC exam and will result in your cohort acquiring a greater sum of HSC exam marks. If the sum of HSC exam marks for a course by your cohort is greater than the sum of assessment marks submitted to BOSTES, then your assessment mark is likely to be adjusted higher as there is a greater distribution of assessment marks available towards each individual student.

If you missed Part 1 of this ATAR & Scaling guide visit: All About ATAR & Scaling Part 1

## Want to achieve an ATAR of 99.95?

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.