Tag: pass rate

SA’s matric results shock

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

The recent matric results announced by Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga reflected a pass rate of 76.2%, down by more than five percentage points compared with last year’s results.

Additionally, the “real matric pass rate”, which measures the number of students who were enrolled in grade 10 two years earlier and passed their matric exam in 2020, is now 44.1%.

The Department of Education noted in its report that it was concerned with the significant decline in the pass rate for Mathematics and Physical Science.

A pass refers to the achievement of 30% or more in a subject.

Mathematics performance among South African learners remains shockingly poor, as more learners choose to take Mathematics Literacy over core Mathematics.

The matric results data reflects the Mathematics pass rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 53.8%, while the Physical Science pass rate fell by 9.7 percentage points to 65.8%.

Few matrics achieve university mathematics thresholds
The Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation has set national targets for academic performance in mathematics and science.

It uses a threshold of 60% to determine the matric candidates’ potential to qualify for university faculties such as engineering, commerce, and medicine.

The latest matric results reflect a significant increase in the number of learners who achieved more than 60% for mathematics, although this figure remains shockingly poor compared with the total number of matrics.

Out of the 578,468 students who wrote matric exams, only 43,447 (8%) achieved more than 60% in Mathematics.

Compared with the total number of matrics who were enrolled in the same cohort in Grade 1 the figure is even more shocking.

The data shows that of the 1,072,993 students who were enrolled in grade 1 in 2009, only 4% went on to achieve more than 60% in matric Mathematics.

The move to Mathematics Literacy
A major factor that affects this performance is the steep decline in matrics choosing to do Mathematics.

Instead, most students now choose to study Mathematics Literacy, which precludes them from studying technical subjects at university.

By Bradley Prior for MyBroadband

The government has instructed South African schools to give Grade 4 – 9 learners up to 5% extra marks for up to three subjects if this will help them pass the 2020 academic year.

This is an increase over the extra 2% which was available to Grade 7-9 learners in 2019, with this change being attributed to the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark adjustments and condonations are used as special dispensations to offset potential high retention of learners in an academic year, said Department of Basic Education Director-General Hubert Mathanzima Mweli.

“In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions and related learning losses experienced in Grades 4-9, the application of these special dispensations are continued.”

The circular sent to schools by the government states that a mark adjustment of 5% is allowed in a maximum of three subjects, and thereafter, a further condonation in Mathematics must be applied.

This requires learners who would have passed except for their mathematics mark, to be allowed through to the next grade in 2021 via a “condoned” pass.

This is regardless of the mark they receive for mathematics, Mweli confirmed.

Mweli also noted that grade 9 learners who are condoned, and who achieve less than 30% for mathematics, should still be allowed to take Mathematics in Grade 10.

“As in 2019, there is no restriction of only choosing Mathematical Literacy as a result of the Mathematics condonation,” said Mweli.

Condoned learners must have their mathematics mark indicated on their mark schedule, and the letter “C” will be present next to the mark to show that the mark was condoned.

Additionally, the learner’s report will state:

“Mathematics mark has been condoned and the learner is promoted to the next grade.”

Senior research associate at UJ Professor Mary Metcalfe supported the decision by the Department of Basic Education.

“We need to recognise the catch up of learning from the loss of learning time in 2020 will take place over several years,” said Metcalfe.

“Learners must be supported over the time frame in an educational atmosphere which minimises stress and which takes into account the very different environments in which learning was possible — or impossible — at home.”

She also believes that teachers should be given the flexibility to make the best decision regarding the condonation of learners.

“[They] are best placed to judge if the learning context of the subsequent grade will be able to support them,” said Metcalfe.

However, UCT education Professor Ursula Hoadley told Times Live that the decision is illogical, as schools have already taken measures to address the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The reason given is to compensate for learning losses, but schools were already required to address this by only assessing what was taught (which in the majority of schools was a very small proportion of the normal curriculum) and by having a much greater proportion of the mark allocated to School-Based Assessments (as opposed to exams),” Hoadley explained.

She said that because of this decision, many more learners are likely to pass than last year, which will result in overcrowded classes.

“It is also going to lead to much greater heterogeneity in classes, making teachers’ work that much more difficult, especially in trying to reach the number of underprepared students in their classrooms who, in a normal year, may have stayed in the previous grade,” said Hoadley.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) minister Debbie Schafer told My Broadband that she believes this decision is reasonable when one considers the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on learners.

“However, it should only be for this year, and measures must be put in place next year to catch up,” said Schafer.

“The WCED is currently engaging with the DBE to clarify a number of assessment matters before providing guidance to our schools.”


‘Real’ matric pass rate closer to 40%

By Andrea Chothia for The South African

The DA has claimed that the matric pass rate is incorrect after the announcement of the 2019 results by Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga’s bluff saying that her announcement of 81.3% for the 2019 matric pass rate is incorrect and the “real” pass rate is in fact 38.9%.

In the statement, the DA congratulated each learner who passed the NSC examination, however had this to say:

“Whilst Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and the Department of Education are celebrating an all-time high matric pass rate of 81.3%, the Democratic Alliance can reveal that the real pass rate is in fact 38.9%.”

Why a pass rate of 38.9%?
DA Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi explained that in 2017, a total of 1 052 080 learners were enrolled in grade 10, yet only 409 906 learners eventually passed matric last year.

“This means only 38.9% of grade 10 learners actually wrote and passed matric,” said Marchesi.

“This is for the most part, due to an extraordinarily high drop-out rate, which means that hundreds of thousands of learners are denied the chance to write matric, let alone pass it,” she added.

Dismally failing system
Marchesi said that this is an indication of a dismally failing system and not a functional and successful one.

“The DA-led Western Cape is the province with the lowest drop-out rate (33.4%) and therefore the highest real pass rate, standing at 54.8%,” said Marchesi.

According to the Department’s calculation and in their opinion, disregarding the drop-out rate, the Free State is the top-performing province with a pass rate of 88.4%.

“The truth, however, is that this province’s real pass rate only stands at 38.4%.”

The ‘real’ national pass rate for 2018 was 37.6%. The ‘real’ pass rate of 2019 is, therefore, an improvement of a mere 1.3%,” the statement explained.

DBE punts national pass rate to shift focus
The DA claimed that for years the DBE has punted the national pass rate because it shifts the focus from their “perpetual failures as an ANC government.”

“The slow poison of drop-out rates between grades 10 and 12 is eating away at the future of the youth of this country,” the statement added.

The statement said that since 2015, which saw the highest number of pupils to write their matric exam, there has been a steady decline each year. It went on to add that another concern is the shocking pass rate from June results of the Multi Examination Opportunity (MEO) – only 7.1% passed.

“Nevertheless, however dismal this percentage is, it is used to inflate the pass rate and when phased out this year, the high drop-out rates will inevitably increase. Only then will we see the real performance of the Department,” said Marchesi.

“If we carry on this trajectory, more than half of all learners who start Grade 1 this year, will never see the inside of an NSC-exam room,” she added.

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