Umalusi: Matric adjustments confidential

2011-01-19 19:24
Cape Town - The extent of the adjustments made to the 2010 matric results will not be made public, the council responsible for assessing and qualifying the National Senior Certificate exam, Umalusi, said on Wednesday.

Briefing Parliament's basic education portfolio committee, Umalusi chair Sizwe Mabizela told MPs the National Qualifications Framework Act allowed the council to change the raw marks.

Such "standardisation" was done per subject. He said Umalusi did not make such decisions public.

"There has been a lively debate on why Umalusi is not willing to disclose the decisions that were made in respect of each subject," he said.

However, standardisation was "highly complex" and "very technical". Further, the information was "sensitive", could lead to erroneous interpretations, and might prove prejudicial to pupils.

"It is not secret, it is confidential," Mabizela told MPs.

Standardisation didn't exceed 10% 

Standardisation was an international practise, used to "mitigate the effects of factors other than learners' knowledge and aptitude on the learners' performance".

Mabizela also revealed that the standardisation carried out on the 2010 matric results had not exceeded 10%.

"In general, no adjustment should exceed 10%. So, we can adjust upwards to a maximum of 10%, or downwards to a maximum of 10%.

"If [for example] you have a 300-mark paper, you cannot take away marks from learners in excess of 30 marks, nor can you add more than 30 marks.

"When circumstances so dictate, Umalusi is allowed to exceed that, but that is exercised in an extremely judicious manner.

"I am happy to report that in no stage in the 2010 standardisation did we exceed the bounds that we have explained," he said.

Raw marks

Raw matric exam marks could either be adjusted, or accepted as scored.

"Yes, we do adjust marks downwards if the evidence at our disposal necessitates such.

"And if it's the case that the paper was set at an appropriate level, there were no problems with the conduct and management of the examination, and, when looked at in relation to the previous cohort, everything looks fine, then, in those instances, we accept the raw mark.
"Because, we don't just adjust marks for the sake of it.

"We adjust them if there are sound educational reasons that come before us in the form of qualitative information, and that is corroborated by the statistical information before us and the performance of the cohorts in the previous years."

General principles

It was important to be consistent across the years, he said.

"We must ensure, through the standardisation process, that there is consistency... a distinction in 2008, should carry the same currency as a distinction in 2009, and it must do the same for 2010," Mabizela said.

According to a document tabled by Umalusi at the briefing, the general principles applied in the standardisation of marks include:

- that, in general, no adjustment should exceed 10% or the historical average;

- that adjustments in excess of 10% can be considered at the "upper end" to increase the number of distinctions in a subject;

- that in the case if individual candidates, the adjustment effected should not exceed 50 percent of the raw mark obtained by the candidate; and,

- that if the distribution of the raw marks was below the historical average, the marks could be adjusted upwards, subject to the limitations.

Read more on:    umalusi  |  education  |  matric

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Racism claims made at UKZN

2015-11-26 09:00 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.