Could you pass controversial new school literacy and numeracy tests?

New compulsory reading and numeracy tests introduced to NSW HSC students have come under scrutiny from the state's leading teachers' union.

Tests, accompanied by a 500-word writing exam, have so far been taken by over 2600 students and will need to be passed in order for students to receive their HSC from 2020.

The tests are run by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and comprise of 45 multiple choice questions.

But Maurie Mulheron, president of the NSW Teachers' Federation, says there's no room for further testing, saying the tests' introduction will only hamper students.

"No one would want a child not meeting minimum standards, but these tests are completely unnecessary because we have a thing called years 11 and 12 with a rich assessment component and the HSC, which is a world-class qualification," Mr Mulheron told Fairfax Media.

The online testing has faced criticism from the leading teachers' union. Source: Getty, file.

"We should be building it all into actual syllabuses. These tests are moving teachers away from doing what they should be doing and teaching the curriculum."

Students will have the opportunity to take the test twice a year from Year 10 and if not passed after finishing Year 12 they will receive a Record of School Achievement instead of the HSC.

The pathway for students without their HSC would then be through the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank.

In February, Education Minister Rob Stokes scrapped the decision to allow Year 9 students who achieved a band 8 across the board on their NAPLAN exams to be exempt from the online tests.

Mr Stokes said the plan was thrown out in a bid to ease stress on students taking the exam. Last year, he told News Corp the online exams were introduced to better prepare students for life after school.

"We have introduced the HSC reforms to raise standards for our students leaving school - to make sure they have a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy ... and to prepare them as well as possible for life after school," he said.

Sample Questions

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has supplied a series of example questions to Yahoo7 from the numeracy and literacy test. Have a go at the questions below to see how you fare.

Numeracy test

1) Lee paid $29.95 for a shirt. It was on sale at a 50% discount.

Which of the following is the best estimate for the original price of the shirt?

A)$15 B) $30, C) $45, D) $60

2) A helicopter flying north has turned clockwise through 225°.

In what direction is the helicopter now heading?


3)If you earn $200 per week and budget for $40 petrol, $85 for food, $25 for clothing and $18 for entertainment each week, how much money can you save per week?

A) $32 B) $38 C) $42 D) $48

Literacy Test

1) __________ you have finished your first year courses, you cannot enrol in the second year.

Choose the word that best completes the sentence.

A) After B) Because C) When D) Until

2) In which sentence is the word in italics INCORRECTLY spelt?

A) My friend was awarded a substancial pay rise.

B) The workers were congratulated for their achievements.

C) I had previously decided to visit my friend on Saturday night.

D) The team's performance in finishing the task was remarkable.

3) Which of the following is correctly punctuated?

A) 'I think,' said Sam, 'that I am going to start art classes.'

B) 'I think.' said Sam, 'That I am going to start art classes.'

C) 'I think, said Sam, that I am going to start art classes.'

D) 'I think, said Sam. 'That I am going to start art classes.'


Numeracy - 1) D 2) D 3) A

Literacy - 1) D 2) A 3) A