No decision on maths yet

2009-12-22 00:00

PRETORIA — Umalusi is aware of the complaints about the first maths exam paper (algebra), which has made matriculants in public schools quite anxious.

Professor John Volmink, chair of Umalusi, the council for quality assurance in general and further education and training, said at a media conference in Pretoria yesterday that Umalusi will first consider the results of this year’s candidates before deciding whether a grade adjustment is necessary.

Research has been done to compare exams and exam papers of last year with those of this year.

Volmink said that at this stage there is no indication that this parti­cular maths paper contained any questions that weren’t in the curri­culum, or that it did not comply with assessment guidelines.

“It’s not about whether the paper was easy or difficult. The paper must be fair.”

Umalusi will receive the results from the Basic Education Department next week, after which it will standardise the grades and adjust them if need be.

The results will be announced on January 4.

Volmink had good news for more than 4 200 matriculants from indepen­dent schools, who were nervous about the first physical science paper.

The paper contained a technical printing error in a question that counted 16 marks.

These marks were not taken into account, and, according to Volmink, “those who should get distinctions are getting them, and those who should have passed, will pass”.

He said the grades were adjusted upward by less than the maximum 10% allowed, and no candidate was put at a disadvantage by the process.

The independent exam board (IEB) process was declared credible and fair, and they were given approval for the results of over 8 000 candidates, which will be announced next week on Wednesday.

Umalusi also approved the announcement of the adult basic education and training (Abet level 4) exam results and the national certificate vocational exam results.

A total of 89 510 candidates registered for the Abet exam, but only 58 348 completed it.

Volmink said there has been an improvement in mathematics literacy and the results have stabilised, but there is general disappointment at the low pass rate.

The national certificate vocational presented by the college sector is a new qualification. Volmink said 122 921 candidates wrote the exam at various levels.

Of about 27 000 candidates at level two in 2007, only 4 900 persevered to level four, which they wrote this year.

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