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.

  • Wernerkwane - 2011-01-19 19:35

    Oooh I smell a rat. One of these days crime statistics will also get "adjusted"

      Sedick - 2011-01-19 20:33

      So, a lot of words to cloud the issue. "that, in general, no adjustment should exceed 10% or the historical average" – “should” means that it could if need be, and was! "that in the case if individual candidates, the adjustment effected should not exceed 50 percent of the raw mark obtained by the candidate" – again “should”, this means that the marks could be adjusted by more than 50%, and probably was!!! "that if the distribution of the raw marks was below the historical average, the marks could be adjusted upwards, subject to the limitations" - again, leeway to do what they want, and they did!!! So, it is easier to moderate the marks higher than actually improve the standard of education. AND, because the process is confidential (NOT SECRET!!!!!), we will never know until there is a higher failure rate at Universities and Colleges. But then, we can just do the same with those marks, until we have a nation of stupid graduates - who will only be acceptable as Cadre government workers and parliament - as MPs, MECs, DGs, DDGs, Mayors, Dep Mayors, etc....

      Bill - 2011-01-19 21:49

      Waaa... Sedick!! You are confusing me!

      alwaysthinking365 - 2011-01-19 23:11

      @wernerkwane: 'One of these days crime statistics will also get adjusted' .... one of these days? anything that is not transparent, as this case and as with crime stats, has already been adjusted. No doubt.

      k1dbl4ck - 2011-01-19 23:50

      great. so with a max adjustment of 10%, it means that there could be someone who actually got, say, 23% for their final mark and was adjusted up to 33%, which means they passed, which means somewhere out there is a idiot wielding a matric certificate. Would someone please start printing matric certificates on toilet paper and sell it at major outlets?

      Firebird - 2011-01-20 02:12

      The crime stats ARE alaready adjusted. Have you forgotten about 2 years ago when the Police commissioner found out that a few police stations had not reported all the rape, assault and burglary cases !! He said he would deal with the matter. NEVER HEARD A WORD SINCE

      Sedick - 2011-01-20 13:28

      @Bill.....did you matriculate in 2010............probably adjusted by more than 10%.........LOL

  • corro51 - 2011-01-19 19:40

    Smells like someone is worried an audit may uncover previous claims, or is it just me ?

  • johnjohn46 - 2011-01-19 19:41

    Please adjust unemployment and crime?

      Bill - 2011-01-19 21:49

      They do!

      johnjohn46 - 2011-01-21 00:45

      okay let me rephrase, please do a better job with the unemployment and crime stats... I say forget the 10 % limit on downward adjustment, lets make it 50%?

  • neiovw - 2011-01-19 19:42

    I'm calling on the Umalusi whistleblowers to give the SA taxpayers, voters, business leaders, disadvantaged, dreamers, despots, dictators and dic heads the true results please, the last sentence is the most revealing of all, basically marks have dropped by 10 % since 2010, confidential se moer, be honest for once you git's...

  • Mundu - 2011-01-19 19:44

    Well this makes a whole lotta sense. This dip switch is just saying that he can do what ever the hell he wants with the results. Of course he's not concerned about credability or even for that matter the actual interlect of the "lenner".

  • Heks - 2011-01-19 19:45

    Sorry, I don't believe them. In fact I don't believe any logistical info from this country SA

  • james4usa - 2011-01-19 19:46

    So what is a SA matric certificate worth? If employers refuse to hire these "students" the race card will be played?

  • nicklaubscher - 2011-01-19 19:46

    Mabizela doesn't even know that confidential is a synonym for secret. They want to keep the adjustments secret because they have something to hide, nothing else. The whole lot smacks of corruption, and in the end it's the children who suffer the most from the catastrophe that is education in this country. South Africa is not its own little fiefdom (as much as the ANC wishes it were), it is part of a global economy that requires a high standard of education to compete in. Education is the key to unlocking poverty, but it now seems the class of '76 and on who shouted 'liberation before education' are reaping what they have sewn. So, if that's what you wanted ANC, be happy that you got what you asked for but don't come whining with your begging bowl when the economy no longer functions too.

      Mnumzane - 2011-01-20 07:19

      Standardisation is an international practice

      Gazza Boy - 2011-01-20 07:49

      Mnumzane please take your blinkers off and stop standing up for your useless brothers.

      nicklaubscher - 2011-01-20 12:49

      @ Mnumzane. You have a comprehension problem. Where did I say that I was against standardisation? I know it's an international practice. What I am against is low standards, secrecy, corruption, lack of discipline and an apathetic approach to education in this country, and so should you be. The ANC is so lost it doesn't even know it, so it's like the blind leading the sycophantic blind, eventually both will fall into the ditch.

  • dubloki - 2011-01-19 19:46

    Wow! First off, soon talking about this will be illegal. However, standardisation is neccesary, sure. But why hide the process? Yes, it technical, but basically what the honerable MP is saying is that we're too stupid to understand. My take take is that the majority of subjects got the automatic +10%...

  • Des - 2011-01-19 19:54

    A great pity one can't adjust idiocy by 10%...............what a tosser !!!!

  • rade8408 - 2011-01-19 19:55

    wikileaks. GO!

  • ffaarg - 2011-01-19 19:58

    What is the passing grade? I believe it varies. Lets say it is 33.333%. I believe it is for some subjects. That means that a 10% shift in grade for a student who got 23.333% would account for 30% of their final grade and more than 40% of the marks they received for the exams would have been courtesy of the shift.

  • LucyInTheSky - 2011-01-19 20:04

    ...who's fooling who here...???

  • michael.e.bowery - 2011-01-19 20:05

    One more example of the transparency which is non-existent in the make-up of this excuse of a government. In a commercial court its called `fiddling the books.'

  • Nico - 2011-01-19 20:09

    If you are "dom", "dom" you'll stay. Doesn't matter if your marks are up or down.

      croix - 2011-01-20 13:33

      Dom, Freedom, Dom&free? The sound from 1000's of taxis are blurting out : "DOM,DOM,DOM!!" Are we free or are we dom, or perhaps free-but still seriasly dom? We, the totally dom public - won't understand any of this very complicated "adjustication/adjusting/justification/justdefecation" flowing forth from our very bright minister....Sir, you were asked to make the fat cats look good and as if they actually EARN their bloated salaries, and you have succeeded admirably - so, a JOB WELL DONE! Can I pleeez cater for your "improved-matric-results-announcement-party"??? (I promise to share the 450% mark-up with you!).

  • Julius - 2011-01-19 20:15

    Congratulations to the ANC government, Matric passes go up and up, Well done those striking teachers, - see how easy it is to forgive the mess you made. What we need is someone to demand these adjustments through the access to information act. Education is a complete joke in this banana republic

  • Wishbone - 2011-01-19 20:17

    Corruption before education!

  • william.botha - 2011-01-19 20:17

    It's a shame to think that grownups can BS themselves. Go figure.

      roadvark - 2011-01-19 20:42

      Grown-ups? You flatter them. Maybe they have big bodies...but their minds? Childish!

  • misterjakes - 2011-01-19 20:19

    Unbelievable. A basic principle of liberal democracy is transparency and accountability. So let's have some transparency and let these hypocritical ANC cadres who love to talk about 'democracy' put their money (obviously not all of it- how else would they fund the 4x4s, champagne and parties) where their mouths are. 1994 was not the first democratic election. If it was, the ANC would behave like democratically elected leaders and show some transparency. This also means stepping down from office when their departments do not perform. In that case, just about everyone.

  • Prinqulesh - 2011-01-19 20:21

    Next time I fly or have an operation I want to make sure that he/she did not matriculate in 2010.

  • roadvark - 2011-01-19 20:21

    Sounds like a lot of gobbledegook to me. Did they adjust all by the same percentage or did the higher end marks not get adjusted? Where was the cut off point. This would make interesting examination. Say the cut-off point was 80% then the mark of 79% would become 89% and the poor student who obtained 81% would stay at 81%. There must have been some cut-off because the student who obtained 100% could not get 110%. Perhaps the access to information act if it still exists could be invoked so we can get the truth. I hope this decision not to disclose is challenged in court.

      william.botha - 2011-01-19 20:35

      The point really is there should be no tampering with marks. But it seems that cheating is the way forward, just legalize it. What type of idiot decides to perform better by forging the results? Sure beats me. I wonder what the rest of the world is thinking about this?

  • william.botha - 2011-01-19 20:21

    Education means Jack Sh1t to these guys. Then they had these lengthy debates over why the results were so good this year. This is actually bordering Schizophrenia if you ask me.

  • croix - 2011-01-19 20:27

    Waffle, waffle, blah, blah, blah, fishpaste!!! The usual rhetoric to hide incompetence and then go on to insult our intelligence as well! I wish you could be 'adjusted' away . . . . . . very 'fishy' if you ask me.

  • horst.o.muller - 2011-01-19 20:34

    Isn't there such a thing as freedom of information? Perhaps Wikileak can help us here.

  • william.botha - 2011-01-19 20:36

    Why still go to the trouble of having an educational institute? Why not just send all pupils home, and pass them by age automatically?

  • pscyberpete32 - 2011-01-19 20:43

    Surely there are standard criteria that get used? Surname, School,crap marks...... The list is really the question

  • Doug - 2011-01-19 20:50

    "highly complex" and "very technical". Bullshit! Yet again the man in the street has the wool pulled over their eyes. How much longer must we put up with the fraud and corruption in this government? Wikileaks where are you now?

  • Bill - 2011-01-19 21:09

    Is nothing sacred with these clowns anymore… Typical Socialist behaviour! Nothing more, nothing less…! Democracy my foot, Secrecy in how you fiddle the exam marking, This is not acceptable. This government are about as transparent as a brick wall

  • patmax - 2011-01-19 21:22

    It seems quite obvious that the major subjects - English and other languages, Mathematics etc were adjusted upwards by a large amount and the smaller subjects (Consumer Studies, Music etc) could have been adjusted downwards. Effectively there was a large upward adjustment this year. It is all confidetial - but let everyone deny it at their peril!

  • Pragmatist - 2011-01-20 00:49

    How stupid are these "learners"? They cant pass at 30% so have to have marks adjusted. Why?

      Geewiz - 2011-01-20 08:23

      Previously disadvantage, apartheid etc etc, take your pick

  • Firebird - 2011-01-20 02:33

    I have a solution to make everyone’s lives easier. Why don't they just introduce a multiple choice questions paper for all subjects? This way the markers benefit because they need not think, and the learners need not think either. Quote “However, standardisation was "highly complex" and "very technical".” To Mabizela perhaps, work, in the real world and see how complex and technical real life decisions are !! As the adjustment of marks is “confidential” and not “secret” makes me laugh. Give it time and someone will take the money and squeal like a pig. Yes, Mabizela this is called a bribe. Time will tell all.

  • The_Truth - 2011-01-20 06:39

    One stat I would like to see, it what % of those matriculants that passed, got between 31 and 50%, because in actual fact, they are failures

  • AJ - 2011-01-20 07:32

    So theoretically (and probably) people passed matric with 20% in some or all subjects. That's just brilliant.

  • The_Truth - 2011-01-20 07:46

    I implore all employers and institutes of higher education to refuse to accept ant 2010 matriculant whose average is below 65%. There's still plenty opportunities to work as car gaurds, fix roads etc.

  • stephanjvv - 2011-01-20 07:54

    All employers who want to make a success of their business will soon introduce their own entry exams before employment to verify on their own standard the level of education of such a candidate.

  • Horza - 2011-01-20 08:43

    Shame South Africa!

  • Shistirrer - 2011-01-20 09:45

    To the Class of 2010: As an employer, I need to say sorry guys and girls, don't bother to apply at my company. I know it's not your fault, but your matric certificate is not worth the paper it's printed on. Twelve precious years of your lives lost, only to make a few politicians look like they did their jobs. They are sitting overpaid, overweight and comfortable in their plush offices, while you... well, you're pretty much screwed. Sorry guys and girls, life's harsh, but I've got a business to run and mouths to feed, I simply cannot bet on a dodgy matric certificate.

  • erneyb - 2011-01-20 11:07

    Great, adjust the matric results by 10%+ "Umalusi is allowed to exceed that" and give more students a matric certificate when some of them can't even read or write because of illiteracy. (Not their fault, because how did they end up to sit their final examination?) Aish ? I got my mitric but that "boer" dus not wanne gif me the jop. I wil show that racist. Umalusi, in the name of God who do you think you help ? Answer: Illiteracy and false expectations!!!

  • - 2011-01-20 11:10

    So other tahn only needing 30% to pass a subject these days they may also have received 10% extra. Meaning 30%-10% = 20% is enough to pass. What a clever bunch of people we will have in this country. Imagine if all of us could only do 20% of the work we are given. Looks like we are striving to be UNDERACHIEVERS. Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!

  • - 2011-01-20 12:15

    This situation is disgusting. SA needs transparency and Umalusi as a government body needs to open and transparent. How can we as parents accept the results with confidence not knowing whether our children have genuinely and honestly passed matric. The outcome of the 2010 matric results and all other Umalusi released results will be questionable. Absolutely no faith in Umalusi.

  • Magomataqiub - 2011-01-20 12:22

    The new phrase they use"It's either confidential or not in national intrest"

  • JadedJay - 2011-01-20 13:23

    Sickening...truly sickening. Trust the ANC to continue to devalue everything they put their hands to. Lucky for them I have a conscious, cos I would love to take out the whole lot of them.

      JadedJay - 2011-01-20 13:26

      Er...make that a conscience. Ahem...

  • lucas - 2011-01-21 14:20

    Eventually this secret (sorry CONfidential) information will come out. The moronic curricula that these poor creatures (our children) were subjected to will be put to the test when our kids are tested at tertiary institutions. They cannot read, or write, or count properly at all. Most of them will end up failing miserably. Please bring back technical colleges, so that our country can remain functional. these grey-haired plumbers and electricians also want to retire one day.

  • Stephen - 2011-02-24 07:14

    Lets forget about the matric results and look at the internal results of schools. I have taught at 10 schools and have found the same problem at 7 of them. Internal marks are not checked by the department. Teachers whose learners "just fail" add on a few marks to enable them to pass the subject. Grade heads then look at learners who "only" fail 3 subjects and then add on more marks to enable them to pass the best failed subject so they can proceed to the next grade. The pass percentage is still so bad that the Circuit inspector promotes more learners. We have thus classes where up to 60% of the learners did not pass the previous grade AND are not ready for that grade. These are lost and they take up so much of the teachers time that the prepared learners suffer as well. Instead of allowing those learners to repeat and PASS the next year and only have Grade 10 learners who are prepared for Grade 10 in Grade 10. But no amount of writing to the Circuit inspector, Principal, SGB, subject advisors or newspapers seem to get any joy. Worst case scenario I have seen is 250-350 Marks being added over 3 subjects to for 37 out of 54 learners in matric. In 2010 a school as policy added on 10% spread over 3 subject. And we call this assessment.

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