S. African school maths goes down even further

Matriculants who wrote maths, maths literacy and physical science did much worse than their peers in 2013, said monitoring body Umalusi on Wednesday.

Speaking from Pretoria today, Umalusi council chairperson John Volmink said the drop in mathematics results was due to major changes in the content of the subject. This year, pupils had to study Euclidean geometry and probability.

“This was shown in the learner performance in that there is a significant increase in the failure rate compared with 2013,” he told reporters. “However learners at the top experienced the mathematics examinations much easier.”

He said there were more failures than distinctions in maths, but he believes this was due to how the pupils were being taught. He said there had been no real improvement in marks over the past five years.

“To be quite frank, we thought the results would be much worse because large sections of the mathematics curriculum was not there last year,” he added.

Volmink said maths literacy marks were adjusted upwards at all levels as pupils did “significantly worse” this year than in any previous year.

In physical science, learners’ marks were also adjusted upwards at all levels.

The results of all but 58 examination centres implicated in cheating will be released next week.