HSC 'appalling' blunder puts student results at risk
THE NSW Education Minister has ordered a high-level investigation into an "appalling" HSC blunder that has jeopardised the futures of a number of HSC students who were taught the wrong maths course all year.
Furious minister Rob Stokes ordered the probe after a barrage of criticism from families while the seven affected HSC candidates were told they would be let off on assessments for the coursework they missed through the blunder.
Five Year 11 and two Year 12 students at Coonamble High School in the state's central west elected to study General Mathematics 2 for the HSC but have instead been taught General Mathematics 1 since the start of the year.
The bungle could affect the students' university prospects because General Mathematics 1 does not count towards an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank while scores in General Mathematics 2 are calculated for an ATAR.
Parents were incensed when education officials told them the students could "cram" to catch up on the coursework they missed for the next eight weeks until the HSC exams start.
Mr Stokes said: "I am angry for the students at what I have learnt this morning.
"I have directed education secretary Mark Scott to take appropriate action to support the students involved and discipline staff as well as oversee a fair outcome for the students.
"I recognise that retrofitting a solution for the Year 12 students so late in the year will be challenging given the circumstances."
Year 12 student Amber Baker, who hopes to go to university and do a Bachelor of Nursing, said the blunder was causing the Coonamble students "a lot of stress".
"Everyone is just as angry, I think, everyone is really irritated," she said. "The school has admitted it is their fault and they are trying to fix what is wrong.
"If I'm not happy with my marks doing the course again next year is not an option - I want to go straight to university.
Fellow Year 12 student Kait O'Meagher said: "We were being taught the wrong stuff."
It is understood that the teacher involved, Paul Withers, is a qualified maths teacher who joined the school this year. Mr Withers could not be reached for comment last night.
The NSW Education Standards Authority yesterday approved a "special consideration" for the affected students.
"The students will not need to do any extra assessments to cover the course work they missed out on," a spokesman said.
"NESA will use existing assessments for the 50 per cent of the HSC mark based on school assessments."