File photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)

#Matric2018: Spat over adjustment of IEB maths marks

By Yolisa Tswanya Time of article published Jan 3, 2019

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Cape Town – While the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) celebrated another successful pass rate, Umalusi chief executive Dr Mafu Rakometsi has defended allegations that IEB matriculants were treated favourably.

This came after Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi expressed dissatisfaction about the adjustment of the IEB maths marks.

The council announced that adjustments had to be made on some subjects for a number of reasons.

“I strongly disagree with @UmalusiSA for adjusting upwards (giving free marks) maths marks for IEB (private schools) while taking raw marks (no increase) for public schools.

“Is this an admission that public education is starting to perform much better than private education?” he asked on Twitter.

Ramoketsi said the IEB system was different to the Department of Basic Education’s and it was like comparing apples and oranges.

He said that the IEB had around 12000 pupils while the DBE has around 800000 and they wrote different papers, under different systems.

The IEB National Senior Certificate (NSC) results were released yesterday and the 2018 pass rate stands at 98.92%, comparable with last year’s pass rate of 98.76%.

All the candidates passed with results good enough to enter a tertiary institution.

IEB chief executive Anne Oberholzer said that each year society saw the release of the NSC results, but many did not see them for what they really were. 

“None of these lenses acknowledge the NSC results for what they really are - an indication of a pupil’s performance by means of an examination which can only assess a very small sample of the knowledge that could be associated with a specific subject, and a limited number of skills associated with that subject, primarily because expression of knowledge and skill is through a written examination or tests. Comparatively little is assessed using alternate methodologies.”

She said some subjects were practical while others were not.

“Some subjects have a practical component which is finally assessed through an examination such as visual arts or music. In some subjects, such as physical and life sciences, there is no prescribed practical examination, and hence schools that don’t have the facilities aren’t able to expose their learners to the practical skills that are fundamental to the study of science.

“In some schools, where there might be facilities available, teachers do not bother with practical work because ‘it will not be tested in the examination’.”

Oberholzer added that the notion of being educated implied a range of additional skills that students developed over time at school.

A total of 11 514 full-time and 858 part-time candidates from 249 examination centres across southern Africa wrote the IEB matric exams last year.

The closing date to apply for supplementary exams is February 15.

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