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Thread: Explanation of HSC Marks (Moderating)

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    Explanation of HSC Marks

    (NB: We've developed a prototype which simulates the moderation of assessment marks - www.boredofstudies.org/moderate.php)


    Explanatory document from the Board of Studies: http://users.on.net/unix/HSCmarks.pdf

    This answers a LOT of questions to do with moderation of assessment marks. refer to the link for the more indepth answer

    Below is some information describing what happens to the School Assessment marks that are sent in to the Office of the Board of Studies.


    For every HSC course you are studying, an Assessment mark, along with an Exam mark and an HSC mark will appear on a course report. This assessment mark is not the raw assessment mark that your school has sent to the Board of Studies, but first goes through a process of change, called moderation. The marks are moderated because, some teachers set harder assessment tasks or are more strict with marking than other teachers.

    Below is the working for two small-sized hypothetical schools:

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=4>School A:
    <tr><td colspan=2>Raw School Assessment marks<td colspan=2>Exam marks
    <tr><td colspan=2>(sent in to Board of Studies)<td colspan=2>(on the external exam)
    <tr><td>Tim<td>94<td>Fred<td>86
    <tr><td>Fred<td>90<td>Tim<td>82
    <tr><td>Joe<td>60<td>Joe<td>70
    <tr>
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average: 81.3)<td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)</table>

    Now, we moderate the raw School Assessment marks (while students keep their own Exam marks). We need to retain the rank order of students according to the School Assessment, but need to make sure the marks are high enough (or low enough) to be in line with the group performance on the Exam. Tim gets the highest Exam mark as his moderated Assessment mark, Joe gets the lowest Exam mark as his moderated Assessment mark, and Fred receives a mark that ensures that the average of the two groups of marks are the same, and so in this case receives the middle Exam mark as his moderated Assessment mark.

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=2>Assessment marks<td colspan=2>Exam marks
    <tr><td colspan=2>(moderated)<td colspan=2>(no change)
    <tr><td>Tim<td>86<td>Fred<td>86
    <tr><td>Fred<td>82<td>Tim<td>82
    <tr><td>Joe<td>70<td>Joe<td>70
    <tr>
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)<td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)</table>

    Then the third mark reported on the course report, the HSC mark, is calculated by averaging the Assessment mark and the Exam mark:

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=2>HSC mark
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average of Assessment and Exam)
    <tr><td>Tim<td>84
    <tr><td>Fred<td>84
    <tr><td>Joe<td>70</table>

    Now here is a different example, in which the student who comes first only receives a mark of 60/100, as in your example:

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=4>School B:
    <tr><td colspan=2>Raw School Assessment marks<td colspan=2>Exam marks
    <tr><td colspan=2>(sent in to Board of Studies)<td colspan=2>(on the external exam)
    <tr><td>Anne<td>60<td>Ben<td>86
    <tr><td>Ben<td>56<td>Anne<td>82
    <tr><td>Chris<td>26<td>Chris<td>70
    <tr>
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average: 47.3)<td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)</table>

    In School B the raw school assessments are much lower than School A, but the Exam marks are consistent between schools. The raw School Assessment marks are moderated in the same fashion:

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=2>Assessment marks<td colspan=2>Exam marks
    <tr><td colspan=2>(moderated)<td colspan=2>(no change)
    <tr><td>Anne<td>86<td>Ben<td>86
    <tr><td>Ben<td>82<td>Anne<td>82
    <tr><td>Chris<td>70<td>Chris<td>70
    <tr>
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)<td colspan=2>(average: 79.3)</table>

    <table border=1><tr><td colspan=2>HSC mark
    <tr><td colspan=2>(average of Assessment and Exam)
    <tr><td>Anne<td>84
    <tr><td>Ben<td>84
    <tr><td>Chris<td>70</table>

    The School Assessment marks were originally much harsher (lower) for students in School B than School A, but the performance in the Exam suggests that both groups are similar in ability. While School A's School Assessment average was slightly higher than expected given their exam performance, School B's School Assessment average was much lower than expected (it was 47.3, rather than 79.3). Therefore moderation for School A brought the assessment marks downward slightly, while moderation for School B brought the assessment marks upwards a large amount. The end result is School A and School B students receiving consistent HSC marks.

    We want students to work equally hard both during the year for assessments and for the HSC exams itself, so they are worth equal amounts. Because Fred (and Ben) ended up with the best performance on the exam in their respective school groups, they should be rewarded for that by retaining their own high Exam mark, but because Tim (and Anne) had the best assessment performances in their school groups, they should be rewarded by having the highest Assessment mark in the school group (which is made equal to the highest Exam mark for the school). Therefore, in this simple case Tim and Fred end up with exactly the same HSC mark, as did Anne and Ben.

    In School A, Joe, although always coming last ends up with 70, rather than 60, because this is how he performed in the external Exam - his School Assessment mark seems to be a little harsh, so is brought up in line with the lowest Exam performance (which happens to be his own). Likewise in School B, Chris always comes last, but ends up with 70, rather than the 26 suggested by the teacher, given his exam performance.

    These examples I have given are of pretty simple cases, and when more students are in a class and/or when a student performs very poorly in comparison with their Assessment ranking, other rules can come in to play, so students are not disadvantaged by the process. However, the examples should give you a good understanding of how moderation generally works and why it is used.

    In summary, both the School Assessment rankings for a group of students and how these marks are distributed are important. So if you want to have the highest Assessment mark in the class you need to be ranked first in the group in the School Assessment. However, if you come second in the School Assessment but someone beats you by only one mark and the next student is a lot lower, you and the student who just beat you will end up with similarly high marks, and the next student will receive a mark that is quite a bit lower. If you do receive a low ranking in your class for a particular course, but end up beating most of your classmates in the exam, you will end up with a rather higher reported Exam mark than Assessment mark, and your HSC mark for the course will be half way between the two.

    Therefore, work as hard as you can both during the school year and in preparation for the external exam itself. In addition, if you think your teacher is giving very hard tasks and marking them harshly in comparison to another school, this will not have an effect on the reported HSC marks, because the process of moderation is used; only the relative rankings and distributions
    within each group is important.


    Flowchart - Basic Process of the HSC System
    While procrastinating i've made a little flowchart for the basic process of the HSC system. Let me know if anything is wrong...

    <img src=http://www.users.on.net/unix/hscprocess.jpg>
    Last edited by Without Wings; 16 Jun 2008 at 1:07 PM.
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    Alumni Minai's Avatar
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    This is very similar to Lazarus' document on alignment etc
    I dunno if it is actually his or not.

    But yeah - ppl should read this THEN ask questions.
    B Commerce (UNSW), GradDipCA
    Senior Accountant - Ernst & Young


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    Retired Lazarus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Minai
    This is very similar to Lazarus' document on alignment etc
    I dunno if it is actually his or not.
    Ahh, this is the original document from which I obtained my information! The copy at my local library was stolen, and so I never finished my version.

    It all looks good to me - I think the use of the ISM/EM/TWM abbreviations only confuses things, but it's all correct, at least. Out of curiosity, where did you get it?

    Thanks for posting it, Ragerunner!
    Lazarus
    Et in arcadia ego...

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    Aesthetically Challenged ~TeLEpAtHeTiC~'s Avatar
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    ok..i was sumwhat confident before.. but now i am a little hazed again.
    from what i can gather (although i am probably wrong as usual) performace is also dependant on how well (or crap for that matter) your school performs..
    well what happens if in ur classes ur first .. and there is a huge gap between u and the rest of ur class.. BUT your the only one with such a high mark (80-90)... meanwhile everyone else in your class are around the same low mark (30-40)... if your schools marks get averaged...does that mean my marks gets pulled down... i've read somewhere that becuase i am first, i am relatively immune..
    however..how is this possible if the rest of the class is going bad.. will thats not pull me down considerably..or will they be pulled up?...
    i'm blabbering on again and knowing me..the answer is simple and has been mentioned before..
    however my paranoia is getting the betta of me at this point
    what to do what to do..
    help plz..
    thanx in advance guys....
    Graduate of McCarthy Catholic College '03
    -- UAI: 99.05 --
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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    i was still curious about moderation of assessments so i decided to email the board of studies.

    i asked several questions and with the fantastic help from them they actually gave me this document and with a manually typed up explanation of the document answering all the questions i asked such as what happens if you do bad in assessments but excellent in the exam, and how your school affects your UAI.

    im surprised with their excellent service
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    if the majority of your school did bad in that particular exam it will be scaled up. so no need to worry whether an exam was too hard.
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    Retired Lazarus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by equinoxinc
    i've read somewhere that becuase i am first, i am relatively immune..
    however..how is this possible if the rest of the class is going bad.. will thats not pull me down considerably..or will they be pulled up?...
    Not 'relatively' immune; completely immune. If anything, they will be pulled up - you will not be adversely affected.

    Originally posted by Ragerunner
    if the majority of your school did bad in that particular exam it will be scaled up. so no need to worry whether an exam was too hard.
    Even with everything that's been posted lately, I have no idea where this comment (or the logic behind it) came from...

    Originally posted by Ragerunner
    i was still curious about moderation of assessments so i decided to email the board of studies... they actually gave me this document
    Incredible! I've never heard of such a thing. It is unfortunate that the UAC is less forthcoming.
    Lazarus
    Et in arcadia ego...

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    hehe

    thanks for re-arranging my post

    after it got posted i looked at it and thought omg that looks ugly. Words all over the place and the table wasn't lined up. not there was a table in the first place :P

    but i didn't know how to fix it up :P
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    Limbo enak's Avatar
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    Ive read the document, so basically, if you do bad in internal school assessments, where your rank is low in comparison to the grade (bottom half) and you do well in the HSC exams, say top 10%, the external mark you recieved basically gets written off because of your poor internal performance?

    Is this right, do I have to worry?

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    Retired Lazarus's Avatar
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    The idea is that the best marks will be awarded to the students who perform well consistently throughout the year and then again in the HSC exams.
    Lazarus
    Et in arcadia ego...

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    but remember the trials are still yet to come.

    If you put all your effort into the subject you did bad in and improve your ranking a lot then its quite easy to recover.

    trials are about 45% of your internal assessment meaning everything you have done up to now is approximately worth that one exam!

    but you are going to need to move your ranking up a lot of ur near the bottom in order to get the best marks
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    Limbo enak's Avatar
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    Bleh, this is confusing, i think ill just study and not worry about it

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    i know :/
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

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    v blunt

    being blunt about this. i admit that yes regardless of being in a selective school i am doing shit and that yes i'm hoping to get a ride on the scalling bandwagon of my fellow pupils. but that doesn't mean that i won't bother trying though...

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    Ah, the selective bandwagon is great especially if your above average a fair bit ... and expect to crash in the Exam room!

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    \(^o^)/ poloktim's Avatar
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    The Board had explained this to our year group before (year 12), and reading this is just a confirmation of what the representative said. Actually there was a point in there that made me breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

    In my Japanese Continuers class we have three students: one who went to Japan for a year last year (and is consequently doing the preliminary course for everything but Japanese), myself and another bloke. The ranks in the class are respective.

    The first bloke gets alright marks (he does better in Japanese Extension), sometimes I'll beat him. He'll normally get 90-100%. I'll normally get 75-100%, and the last ranked person normally gets 10-20% (In a written test he wrote some Japanese, couldn't think of anymore so wrote in English: "It's times like these I wish I studied more. OK OK. I promise I'll do better next time." He kept his promise by getting 60% -since the prelim course his highest mark).

    Reading up there I've been relieved as I'll not averaged in the centre but where I am in relation to rank 1 and rank 3.

    Thanks for the info

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    pri
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    im above average in my skool (overall) , but heaps below for maths, am I screwed?

    I hope the proverbial smart bandwagon can help me for 3 u maths! even though I can drop it right now, I think Ill stick it out.
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    ahhh i understand now. Hey Laz and Ragerunner, can you please correct me if I am wrong.

    If you are at a school of complete idiots and their consistency between School Assessment and exter. exam is not a pretty sight, then doesn't that mean a good person in that school is solely disadvantaged because of the group median?

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    Retired Lazarus's Avatar
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    No, because that good person would have found it easier to obtain a higher ranking, counter-balancing any negative moderating effects.
    Lazarus
    Et in arcadia ego...

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    Junior Member DC10's Avatar
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    very nice explanation! - definitely appreciated

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    hello, first time here,
    and to ragerunner, ive learned more from uin 5 minutes about the strucuture of hsc marking, than our "year co-cordinator" who is still trying to explain tit to us
    home is where the heart is... cos it sure aint in my body...

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    Your friendly HSC guide Ragerunner's Avatar
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    why don't you explain it to him/her now then ?
    B Science @ UNSW (Major in Psychology)

  23. #23
    You can read minds? Beaky's Avatar
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    Anybody worried about Maths/Smart People/You doing shit listen to this story

    - One of my friends did accelearated 2 unit maths at my school (selective) and obtained an assment mark of 65
    - His ext exam mark was 93
    - And the best part is... his exam mark got scaled up to 89... (his ranking was like 40th-35th)

    so anybody doing shit, that has smart peers... dont worry.... keep working hard and you'll do fine
    Class of 03

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    If you have smart peers, then your Assessment marks shouldn't be too bad. Especially if your ranked above them.

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    Junior Member DC10's Avatar
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    mmm if you are ranked above them, chances are that you are better than them anyway - so smart ppl win out in any case

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