Durban - Matric exam papers across the country are being checked and any irregularities noted before the marks are loaded on to the national database.
Asked about the marking process, the head of the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department, Nkosinathi Sishi, said “so far, so good” and that the only query had been about the drama paper question on the rape of a 9-month-old baby.
The marking of all the national senior certificate papers in KZN was completed on Friday and the marking centres officially closed on Saturday.
Sishi said it was imperative that irregularities found in the province’s 2.3 million scripts were declared before the results were handed to the quality assurers, Umalusi.
“On December 23, Umalusi will begin the standardisation of results,” said Sishi. “A decision will be taken by December 29 as to whether or not they approve the results, and they will announce this to the public on December 30.
“If there are any irregularities, the province must declare them, because if Umalusi finds a problem, it undermines the integrity of the whole exam process.”
He added that any serious irregularities, such as leaked exam papers, would be investigated and pupils’ marks blocked if necessary.
A number of checks were in place to ensure the quality of marking, he said. Measures included having a senior marker to moderate every five markers.
The senior marker, in turn, was overseen by a deputy chief marker and a chief marker. Umalusi also sent moderators to conduct unannounced visits to exam centres.
Lucky Ditaunyane, of Umalusi, said his organisation conducted marking verification at centres to ensure consistency of marking across the provinces.
“Umalusi uses centralised and decentralised methods for the verification of marking,” said Ditaunyane.
“Decentralised verification is where Umalusi moderators are deployed to the marking centres to conduct the verification. For the centralised verification, samples of marked scripts from the provinces are sent to Umalusi, where the moderators verify the standard and quality of marking.”
Sishi said that once the irregularity report had been compiled, the marks would be loaded on to the mainframe computer by IT teams.
Thereafter, Umalusi monitored the marks using a number of systems.
“A deviation norm is established and results can’t exceed a certain threshold,” said Sishi.
“If they do, the results are investigated to find out if the paper was too easy or a question too difficult. The results are also compared with those of previous years.”
The exam scripts are kept for at least six months. Matric certificates must be issued by April.