Changes to curriculum ‘affected’ 2014 matrics

2015-01-06 08:21

Changes introduced to the curriculum were a possible factor in the 2014 matric pass rate being lower than 2013, an academic has said.

It was important to note that the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Caps) was not a new curriculum, said Professor Sarah Gravett, executive dean of the University of Johannesburg’s education faculty.

“What has happened in Caps is the existing curriculum was in cases extended and some cases more depth was added, for example in physical sciences,” she said.

“But there is indeed a raising of the cognitive demand in examination process of many subjects generally, so even though it is not a new curriculum, there are some subjects where a higher cognitive demand is placed on learners.”

Another factor was how matrics prepared for exams. Using old exam papers would not have been much help for some subjects.

“For example, for the mathematics paper, there were two papers and another paper that was not compulsory last year,” said Gravett.

“This year, some of the content of the third paper was incorporated in the two papers. That meant all were examined on content that was in the past in the third paper.”

In some cases the structure of the exam papers was different.

The education department’s stopping schools from holding back weak Grade 11 pupils was another factor that affected the pass rate.

“In other words you would have learners this year in matric who would have been held back in the past by schools,” Gravett said.

“This could have impacted on the outcomes. I’m not sure how significantly, but it needs to be taken into consideration that it happened this year.”

Gravett was not overly concerned by the drop in the pass rate.

“I think what is important is that the quality of the matric results is very important, and the quality of the exam papers and the standard of the exam papers, and the quality of the curriculum,” she said.

“For the system, it is not necessarily a bad thing that overall results decreased.”

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