NSW has unlinked NAPLAN from HSC eligibility.

The change means Year 9 students who do not reach a minimum standard in their NAPLAN tests can still get their HSC.

The changes come in response to a backlash from parents and teachers who said linking NAPLAN to the HSC created unnecessary pressure on students.

“NAPLAN should be a simple check-up, not a major operation,” NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes said.

“It is one tool used to assess educational progress - not a high-stakes test.”

Mr Stokes said parent groups across state, as well as Independent and Catholic schools, found the system was confusing and caused “unnecessary stress and confusion among students in the middle of adolescence, when there's a lot going on in their lives”.

Previously, students wanting to sit the HSC were required to achieve Band 8 scores in their Year 9 NAPLAN reading, writing and numeracy tests.

But now, all HSC students will meet the HSC minimum standard through online tests in reading, writing and numeracy from Year 10 onwards.

NSW Education Standards Authority CEO David de Carvalho supports the changes.

“The NSW Government's decision has removed a complicating aspect of the policy that was causing concern about the purpose of NAPLAN,” he said.

NSW Secondary Principals' Council president Chris Presland said the previous policy was “a major distraction” that pressured teachers to “teach to the test”.

“Over the past couple of years in particular, the country's obsession, and certainly the state's obsession, with NAPLAN is a little out of control,” he said.

“Linking with the minimum standards have raised the stakes on NAPLAN and created a very, very different environment in terms of what the test is trying to do.”