Understanding the curriculum
- NSW Curriculum Syllabuses
- Syllabus A-Z
- Curriculum development
- Stage 6 (11–12) syllabus development
- Stage 6 (11–12) assessment
- Syllabus development process
- University Developed Board Endorsed Courses
- School Developed Board Endorsed Courses
- Awarding grades
School Developed Board Endorsed Courses – course proposal guidelines
A School Developed Board Endorsed Course (SDBEC) is any course not developed by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) that is submitted to NESA for endorsement in Stage 5 for RoSA or in Stage 6 as Year 11 or Year 12 units. SDBECs may be endorsed for a maximum of four years.
The following guidelines cover:
- 2017 timeline for endorsement
- Criteria for endorsement of School Developed Courses
- Group endorsements
- How to complete an application
- Step-by-step guide for applying via Schools Online (Administration)
- Reporting on School Developed Board Endorsed Courses
- More information and contact details
2017 Timeline for endorsement
Before the school year begins
Late January: 2017 guidelines available to schools on the NESA website
Week 1 – 27 January: Online applications open on Schools Online – Board Endorsed Course Proposals
Week 2 – 8 January: Reminder notice sent to schools with expiring SDBEC endorsements
Week 11 – 7 April: CLOSING DATE for submission of SDBEC proposals
Weeks 1 to 10 – during May and June: Board Endorsement Panel considers proposals – decision notifications sent to schools electronically as decisions are made
Week 6 – 2 June: Final date for decision notifications to be sent to schools
Week 9 – 23 June: Final date for re-submission of deferred proposals
Week 3 – 4 August: Final date for decision notifications to be sent to schools that have re-submitted an amended proposal
Week 4 – 10 August: Courses not endorsed by this date will lapse
Criteria for endorsement of School Developed Courses
A School Developed Course is one that is proposed by a school that addresses the identified local need of a group of students at that school. The need must be one that cannot be met by existing Board Developed Courses or Content Endorsed Courses.
Endorsement of a School Developed Course involves consideration and approval by the Board Endorsement Panel, comprised of Inspectors from NESA and their delegates. Course proposals are endorsed if they meet the criteria for endorsement.
All courses that are developed or endorsed by NESA must meet NESA’s requirements. These are based on recommendations in the NSW Government’s White Paper Securing Their Future (PDF 687kB).
Requirements for approval of School Developed Courses
Read about how these requirements are elaborated in the online application process below, in the guidelines for completing a School Developed Course application section.
|Requirements for approval||Criteria for endorsement|
1 A clear rationale and statement of purpose for the course
1.1 establish specifically why students at the school need the course
2 A well-organised course structure appropriate to the units or hours of study being sought
2.1 number and length of modules, including whether they are mandatory or optional
3 Identification of the learning outcomes that students are expected to achieve
3.1 provision of appropriate course objectives and outcomes
4 A detailed explanation of the nature of the course content
4.1 modules that provide sufficient content for the hours indicated and link with the objectives and outcomes of the course
5 Evidence that the learning outcomes are set at an appropriate standard
5.1 course content that contains a body of knowledge and degree of rigour appropriate to the stage for which the course is written.
6 Assessment plan overview
6.1 a list of assessment tasks to be undertaken and their relative weightings
7 Course evaluation tools to be used
7.1 evidence of the tools to be used to evaluate the course.
Group proposals should be made under the leadership of a single school or a district or school system.
The applicant will need to list all the schools that wish to be part of the proposal. For instructions on how to add schools in a group proposal, see the step-by-step guide for applying via Schools Online (Administration), Section 4, Step 3 (open the eForm to commence your application).
The lead school also has the responsibility of ensuring that the principal of each of the other schools gives approval for the application to be made on their behalf. Additional member schools may be added to the group after submission of the proposal, with the permission of the Board Endorsement Panel. The principal of the lead school must contact firstname.lastname@example.org granting permission for additional schools to be added. Multi-campus schools and colleges may use the group proposal option if more than one campus wishes to deliver the course.
Guidelines for completing a School Developed Course application
Applications for both new course proposals and renewals are submitted online via Schools Online (Administration) website. Applicants will need access to the Board Endorsed Course Proposals section of Schools Online (Administration) to complete the application. School principals or other authorised persons in schools can provide applicants with this access.
Why are applications submitted online?
The submission of course applications moved to Schools Online (Administration) in 2012. The previous paper-based process has been brought into line with most other transactions that occur electronically between schools and NESA. Advantages of the new process include:
- paperless application
- faster and more direct (electronic) communication between schools and NESA
- electronic capture and storage of course proposals, which means that:
- if deferred, a proposal can be amended online and resubmitted immediately
- when a course is up for renewal, it will be presented to the school electronically for updating and submission (no chasing up of previous submissions)
- information within existing electronic school course documents can be copied and pasted into the electronic forms on Schools Online (Administration)
- faster tracking and processing of applications by NESA
- immediate notification of the Board Endorsement Panel decision to the applicant.
Electronic form (eForm) requirements
When a new proposal is created in Schools Online (Administration), an eForm will be generated for applicants to populate with course details. The appropriate eForm for each particular course will be linked to the proposal once it has been created (see the step-by-step guide).
The general requirements (see Notes at the bottom of this section) for both Stage 5 and Stage 6 course proposals are listed below. Further ‘tips’ for completing each of these sections are included in the online eForm.
- name and contact details of the staff member submitting the proposal – this person will receive all correspondence regarding the proposal.
Course hours or study pattern
- 100 and/or 200-hour course for Stage 5
- 1 and/or 2 Unit in Preliminary and/or HSC for Stage 6.
Rationale and aim of the course
- explanation of why the course being proposed is needed for the students at your school
- why existing Board Developed Courses or Content Endorsed Courses cannot meet these needs.
Course structure overview
- a list of the course modules and their indicative hours, including any optional or elective modules
- modules need to be between 15 and 30 hours in duration.
Course objectives and outcomes
- the objectives and related outcomes for the course as a whole
- these will include ‘knowledge and skills’ (with related outcomes) and ‘values and attitudes’ objectives.
For guidance in writing course objectives and outcomes please refer to Board Developed Syllabuses available on the NESA website.
Content for each module
- module title and hours
- a brief description of the module
- outcomes for the module selected from the course outcomes
- content statements describing what students are expected to know and do as they work towards the outcomes.
- name and nature of each task (details not required)
- weighting of each task (Stage 6 only).
- intended strategies for evaluating the course.
- approval from the Principal for course proposal to be submitted.
- eForm requirements will vary depending on the course you are proposing
- Stage 5 and 6 International Studies and Big History eForms are truncated versions of what is listed above
- Stage 5 and Stage 6 Language eForms require some additional content such as grammatical items and language examples
- Stage 5 and Stage 6 Life Skills eForms require a description of assessment strategies rather than a list of tasks.
Board Endorsement Panel determinations feedback
The following information is provided to assist applicants when completing course proposals:
Reasons for course proposals being DEFERRED
Deferred course proposals require minor amendments to meet endorsement requirements.
- Insufficient content was provided. Where the Panel cannot determine from the detail of the content statements provided to what degree the course would overlap with courses developed by NESA and whether the content was adequate for the module duration, a proposal will be deferred.
- The course content was insufficiently rigorous or did not relate to the course outcomes. Schools must demonstrate planning for student learning that will allow students to address the course outcomes in the context of the modules as submitted and that these outcomes are set at an appropriate level.
Reasons for course proposals being DECLINED
Course proposals are declined when major amendments are needed to meet endorsement requirements.
- The course objectives, outcomes and/or content substantially duplicated those of an existing NESA course. Substantial duplication in a School Developed Course may occur if the proposal:
- duplicates sections of a Board Developed Course or Content Endorsed Course
- is a course that could be conducted under the optional section of a Board Developed Course.
- The application was for a Stage 5 course in English, Mathematics or Science. NESA does not endorse Stage 5 courses in these learning areas.
Checklist for submitting an application
- Ensure that the module/topic hours add up to at least the total hours of endorsement being sought.
- Ensure that the module/topic names and hours in the Course Structure Overview match those in the Module Content sections.
- If elective modules are included, ensure that the module explanation section is completed to clarify how these modules fit within the overall course hours.
- Ensure that outcomes listed at the top of each module are selected from those listed in the Course Objectives and Outcomes section.
- Ensure that your application has been approved by the school principal.
Step-by-step guide for Schools Online (Administration) applications
Reporting on School Developed Board Endorsed Courses
Common Grade Scale for reporting grades in Stage 5 Board Endorsed Courses
For awarding grades in a Stage 5 School Developed Board Endorsed Course, the Common Grade Scale is to be used.
The student has an extensive knowledge and understanding of the content and can readily apply this knowledge. In addition, the student has achieved a very high level of competence in the processes and skills and can apply these skills to new situations.
The student has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the content and a high level of competence in the processes and skills. In addition, the student is able to apply this knowledge and these skills to most situations.
The student has a sound knowledge and understanding of the main areas of content and has achieved an adequate level of competence in the processes and skills.
The student has a basic knowledge and understanding of the content and has achieved a limited level of competence in the processes and skills.
The student has an elementary knowledge and understanding in few areas of the content and has achieved very limited competence in some of the processes and skills.
Common Grade Scale for reporting grades in Stage 6 Preliminary courses
For awarding grades in a Stage 6 Year 11 School Developed Board Endorsed Course, the Common Grade Scale for Year 11 Courses is to be used.
The student demonstrates extensive knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies highly developed skills and processes in a wide variety of contexts. In addition the student demonstrates creative and critical thinking skills using perceptive analysis and evaluation. The student effectively communicates complex ideas and information.
The student demonstrates thorough knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies well-developed skills and processes in a variety of contexts. In addition the student demonstrates creative and critical thinking skills using analysis and evaluation. The student clearly communicates complex ideas and information.
The student demonstrates sound knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies skills and processes in a range of familiar contexts. In addition the student demonstrates skills in selecting and integrating information and communicates relevant ideas in an appropriate manner.
The student demonstrates a basic knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies skills and processes in some familiar contexts. In addition the student demonstrates skills in selecting and using information and communicates ideas in a descriptive manner.
The student demonstrates an elementary knowledge of content and understanding of course concepts, and applies some skills and processes with guidance. In addition the student demonstrates elementary skills in recounting information and communicating ideas.
Performance Descriptions for Reporting Achievement in Stage 6 Board Endorsed Courses
These performance descriptions provide the standards to be used when submitting assessment marks for students in HSC Board Endorsed Courses:
Band 6 (90-100)
- demonstrates extensive knowledge and understanding of content
- displays comprehensive understanding of content, processes, concepts
- critically analyses, synthesises and interprets information
- demonstrates high-level competence in particular skills, processes
- demonstrates high-level skills in critical judgement, reasoning, prediction, inference, evaluation, problem-solving, interpretation
- demonstrates high-level skills in the use of appropriate technologies
- demonstrates outstanding performance and technique
- effectively communicates in a coherent, creative, succinct, logical, sophisticated manner with precision, originality or flair using terminology extensively and appropriately.
Band 5 (80-89)
- demonstrates thorough knowledge and understanding of content
- displays detailed understanding of content, processes, concepts
- analyses, synthesises and interprets information
- demonstrates competence in particular skills, processes
- demonstrates competent skills in critical judgement, reasoning, prediction, inference, evaluation, problem-solving, interpretation
- demonstrates competent skills in the use of appropriate technologies
- demonstrates accomplished performance and technique
- competently communicates in a coherent, creative, succinct, logical, sophisticated manner with control or originality using appropriate terminology.
Band 4 (70-79)
- demonstrates sound knowledge and understanding of content
- displays clear understanding of content, processes, concepts
- analyses and interprets information
- demonstrates ability in particular skills, processes
- demonstrates skills in critical judgement, reasoning, prediction, inference, evaluation, problem-solving, interpretation
- demonstrates skills in the use of appropriate technologies
- demonstrates sound performance and technique
- communicates in a creative, succinct, logical manner with coherence, control or originality using appropriate terminology.
Band 3 (60-69)
- demonstrates basic knowledge and understanding of content
- displays basic understanding of content, processes, concepts
- interprets information
- demonstrates basic ability in particular skills, processes
- demonstrates basic skills in judgement, reasoning, prediction, problem-solving, interpretation
- demonstrates basic skills in the use of appropriate technologies
- demonstrates basic performance and technique
- communicates with adequate control or originality using some appropriate terminology
Band 2 (50-59)
- demonstrates elementary knowledge and understanding of content
- displays simple understanding of content, processes, concepts
- interprets information
- demonstrates elementary ability in particular skills, processes
- demonstrates elementary skills in argument and problem-solving
- demonstrates elementary skills in the use of appropriate technologies
- demonstrates elementary performance and technique
- demonstrates limited communication abilities
Band 1 (0-49)
A mark in this band indicates that the student has achieved below the minimum standard expected.
More information and contact details
Read more about School Developed Board Endorsed Courses or contact us.
NESA contacts - Curriculum and Assessment Standards Directorate
Subject area specific contacts
For Aboriginal Education contact the Chief Education Officer on 9367 8198.
For Creative Arts contact the Inspector, Creative Arts on 9367 8161.
For English contact the Inspector, English on 9367 8276.
For HSIE contact the Inspector, HSIE on 9367 8151.
For Languages contact the Inspector, Languages on 9367 8152.
For Mathematics contact the Inspector, Mathematics on 9367 8103.
For PDHPE contact the Inspector, PDHPE on 9367 8150.
For Science contact the Inspector, Science on 9367 8144.
For Technology contact the Inspector, Techology on 9367 8454.
For VET contact the Inspector, VET on 9367 8310.
General application contacts
For Board Endorsed Programs contact the Senior Project Officer, Special Education on 9367 8036.