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Testing of exam markers wrong, says Sadtu

New letters are being issued to the matric exams markers in KZN after a "system error" led to all appointments being withdrawn. File photo: Ian Landsberg

New letters are being issued to the matric exams markers in KZN after a "system error" led to all appointments being withdrawn. File photo: Ian Landsberg

Published Sep 2, 2013

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Cape Town - The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in the province says it rejects competency tests for matric exam markers and urges the Western Cape Education Department to adhere to a national directive on the matter.

The tests were to have been implemented at national level this year but last month it was revealed that this would not happen.

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A reply to a parliamentary question to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga stated that policy relating to administering the tests had not yet been approved by the minister due to the need for further consultation with one of the teacher unions, which had opposed the tests.

Motshekga would meet the union.

In the Western Cape, however, the tests have been written since 2011, with tests already finished this year.

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But Sadtu provincial secretary Jonavon Rustin said the tests “tampered” with the professionalism of teachers.

“They are good enough to mark throughout the year so why are they not good enough to mark the National Senior Certificate.”

Rustin said the Western Cape was not an island and the provincial department should call a meeting with unions to discuss the matter.

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The department’s spokesman Paddy Attwell said the tests were working well and helped ensure the integrity of the exams.

He said the department would watch and see how the matter developed at national level in terms of testing for 2014.

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said the tests assessed the content knowledge of the subject, application of knowledge and skills and marking abilities.

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“The tests also test the ability of the applicant to interpret the Grade 12 candidate responses.”

Markers were generally required to obtain a mark of 60 percent and above and this year 58 percent of applicants met this requirement.

She said the results were valid for three years, so that teachers who passed in 2011 didn’t have to write again this year.

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