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Johannesburg - Earning a matric exemption is not the last hoop Grade 12 pupils will have to jump through before starting their undergraduate studies.
There are also admissions tests by universities, which act as a “second sieve” when thinning out the applications of prospective students.
But, while some educationists believe the Grade 12 exams and the university entrance tests are complementary, others argue there is growing reliance on the latter to separate those who qualify to apply to higher education from those who will eventually hack it.
To earn entry into university and pursue a Bachelor’s degree, Grade 12 pupils must achieve at least 40 percent for home language, at least 50 percent in four designated subjects (excluding life orientation), and a minimum of 30 percent in another two subjects.
“Our benchmark tests are playing an ever increasing role in terms of allowing students to enrol or not. Furthermore, I readily acknowledge that many questions have been raised about the predictive value of the NSC. Whether our current education system is preparing students across the board adequately for tertiary studies and the rapidly changing world of work is the big question,” Professor Kobus Maree from the University of Pretoria said.
Mary Metcalfe, visiting adjunct professor at the University of Witwatersrand, believed that it was best to use both the NSC and the benchmark tests “and understand that they serve different purposes, and are complementary”.
Tim Gordon, head of the Governing Body Foundation, said it was impossible for the Grade 12 exam to be the sole “academic sieve”. It was never likely to be an accurate predictor of future performance.
“Hence the decision of universities (or at least some of them), to put in place a second sieve, namely their own benchmarking tests. That is a very good thing. These tests are intended to help distinguish between the qualify-to-come and the selected-to-come groups,” Gordon said.
Pretoria News Weekend