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Friday, 07 March 2008

HSC English Area of Study stimulus booklet withdrawn

Board Bulletin (Vol 17 No 1)

Teachers of English are reminded that the Area of Study stimulus booklet for the HSC English (Standard, Advanced and English as a Second Language) courses has been withdrawn as a prescribed text for the 2008 HSC onwards. This was previously communicated to schools via:
• fax stream to principals in May 2006
• Official Notice BOS 40/06 (Board Bulletin Vol 15 No 4, 2006), and
• Official Notice BOS 34/07 (Board Bulletin Vol 16 No 3, 2007).

The stimulus booklet was an introductory support document intended to assist teachers in implementing the Area of Study in the initial years of the new HSC. Schools were advised at the time that the Board would review use of the stimulus booklet.

Area of Study in the HSC English courses

The Area of Study in the three compulsory HSC English courses is the ‘exploration of a concept that affects our perceptions of ourselves and our world’. Students ‘explore, analyse, question and articulate the ways in which perceptions of this concept are shaped in and through a variety of texts’ (English Stage 6 Syllabus, pp 32, 50, 63).

Teachers are reminded that the English Stage 6 Syllabus and the English Stage 6 Prescriptions: Area of Study, Electives and Texts provide the requirements and parameters of the Area of Study. The examination specifications for the Area of Study are outlined in the English Stage 6 Syllabus for each course. Notes from the Marking Centre and past HSC English examination papers are also valuable sources of information for teachers and students.

A definition of ‘concept’ has been added to the online English Stage 6 Syllabus glossary on page 142.

Examination specifications unchanged

Although the stimulus booklet has been withdrawn as a prescribed text from the 2008 HSC onwards, schools are advised that the examination specifications for Paper 1 have not changed. These state that the examination will include one question based on the Area of Study and prescribed texts, requiring an extended response. The type and number of non prescribed texts (ie texts of students’ own choosing) to which a student may be asked to refer in an examination response is not specified.

Schools are advised to consult the relevant examination specifications on pages 115, 119 and 123 of the English Stage 6 Syllabus.

The Area of Study from 2009

From2009, the concept for the Area of Study is ‘Belonging’. The three focuses (formerly, Physical, Imaginative and Inner Journeys) have been deleted, leaving the concept as the single focus of study. The Board decided to delete the three focuses in favour of a sole focus to allow the concept and prescribed text or texts to be examined in greater depth.

More information on the use of concept can be found in the syllabus glossary, updated at

For more information please contact

Don Carter, Inspector, English
phone: (02) 9367 8276
Garry Green, Assessment Officer, English
phone: (02) 9367 8241

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