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Introduction to the NSW Science Extension Stage 6 Draft Syllabus

The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is developing a new Science Extension Stage 6 syllabus reflecting the Stronger HSC Standards reforms. The reforms are designed to help motivate and challenge students to achieve at their highest possible level and provide greater skills and career options.

The Science Extension course is designed to extend the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in the new 2 unit Science disciplines and provide greater opportunities for students with an aptitude in the STEM disciplines. Further information about the NESA syllabus development process and Stronger HSC Standards reforms can be found on the NESA website.

Science Extension is a 1 Unit course studied in Year 12. It is structured to provide opportunities for high achieving students to engage with complex concepts and theories and to critically evaluate new ideas and discoveries through contemporary data collection and scientific research.

The syllabus contains features that are consistent with other Stage 6 syllabuses including:

  • Rationale
  • Aim
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes
  • Content that describes the scope of learning and what students are expected to know and do.

Proposed course structure

The course comprises the study of four modules which support the writing of a Scientific Research Report.

diagram explaining the four modules in the draft syllabus

A description of the four modules is provided below:

Module 1 – The Foundations of Scientific Thinking

This module examines the historical development of contemporary scientific research. It positions students at a time in history and challenges them to continue with our search for scientific knowledge.

Module 2 – The Scientific Research Proposal

In this module students formulate a research question through reviewing contemporary scientific literature.

Module 3 – The Data, Evidence and Decisions

In this module students analyse patterns and trends in data and use statistical analysis to support or refute their hypothesis. Data and information is sourced from current scientific researchers and institutions both in Australia and internationally.

Module 4 – The Scientific Research Report

This module involves the finalisation of the Scientific Research Portfolio and completion of the Scientific Research Report.

Proposed course content

Students will:

  • investigate the development of current scientific thinking and scientific research methodologies including the statistical analysis of large data sets
  • conduct a professional literature review to determine a research question
  • find patterns and trends in data using statistical analysis to determine evidence that supports or refutes their hypothesis
  • write an authentic Scientific Research Report.


School-based assessment requirements reflect the Stronger HSC Standards reforms and are consistent with the new Stage 6 syllabuses released in February. 

Read more about the changes to school-based assessment.

For more information contact:

Mr Kerry Sheehan
Inspector, Science
(02) 9637 8144