Umalusi defends matric mark adjustments
Below the norm performance in national subjects was the main reason for the adjustment of the 2005 matric pass rate, the council for quality assurance in general and further education and training (Umalusi) said on Monday.
Adjustments were also made because the exam papers were so much more demanding and less predictable than in the past, and had proved “unfairly difficult”, said Umalusi chief executive officer Peliwe Lolwana.
Another factor taken into account was that the class had first done outcomes-based education then reverted to the old education system.
The adjustments were generally modest when it came to accounting, biology, English second language, history, mathematics and physical science, said Lolwana.
Adjustments were mostly up to four percent or 16 marks on the Higher Grade (HG) and 12 on the Standard Grade (SG)—in “extreme cases”.
It was only in physical science that a maximum 10%—HG 40 marks and SG 30 marks—adjustment had been applied.
While acknowledging that these adjustments were likely to make passes out of failures, Lolwana emphasised that they were not intended to boost pass rates.
The marks of anyone who had passed matric had “definitely” been adjusted in the same way as those of the 2005 candidates, she added.
Standardisation involved combining “raw scores” over five years, then averaging these into a percentage to calculate a norm for each subject, Lolwana explained.
This gave an indication of the actual performance of scholars over a fixed period in a given subject, and became the basis for expected levels of performance in an examination.
The matric pass rate declined to 68,3% in 2005. Of the 347 184 scholars who passed, only 17% did so with university exemption. - Sapa