While a general dumbing down of the school curriculum has ensured rising pass rates for South African matrics, the standards body Umalusi says that “in some of the key subjects such as mathematics the majority of learners still perform at lower levels”.
In statement released last night, Umalusi further expressed its concern about the quality of markers in the matric examinations.
While the setting and moderation of question papers seem to have stabilised, the quality of marking still poses a significant challenge in many subjects. In this regard we must reiterate our call that those who wish to mark exams should take a competency test on the subject they wish to mark. Markers with limited subject knowledge tend to disadvantage top learners who produce innovative and original responses to questions. This is particularly the case in open-ended questions where innovative and creative responses are provided by the learners.
One of the easiest subjects in which to obtain a pass, apart from the mandatory “Life Orientation” is in an African Home Language. According to Umalusi:
While progress has been made in ensuring that African Home Languages are assessed at an appropriate level, there remain some significant challenges to be addressed. These challenges must be addressed without delay in order to ensure that these languages occupy their rightful place in our constitutional order.
Average is just not good enough; we must set our sights higher!
The Umalusi Council expressed its satisfaction that ” the system is stabilising well and has reached a significant level of maturity as evidenced by the high percentage of subjects whose raw marks were accepted after the moderation process”.
However, in about 50% of subjects, “raw marks” were adjusted during a standardisation process which may not exceed 10%.