Hidden truths about South Africa’s matric results

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga revealed on 5 January 2015 that the matric pass rate for 2014 was 75.8%.

The pass rate, however, only tells part of the story. Some of the issues which should be considered when looking at the pass rate include:

  • The dropout rate of learners before they reach matric
  • The quality of the matric passes, and not just the number of passes
  • The number of Bachelor passes which allow university entrance
  • The number of students who passed Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Students reaching matric

One of the biggest concerns with regards to the matric results is the high dropout rate of students.

In 2003, 1,252,071 pupils entered into the South African public schooling system as Grade 1 pupils. Fast forward 12 years and only 532,860 students wrote the 2014 matric exams.

If one looks at how many of the grade 1 learners successfully finished matric, the “true” pass rate is 32%.

Mathematics results

There has been a steady decline in the number of full-time matrics who take Mathematics – down from 270,598 in 2010 to 231,180 in 2014.

The Mathematics pass rate also declined from 59.1% in 2013 to 53.5% in 2014. What is of even more concern is that only 35.1% of learners scored over 40% in Mathematics.

Mathematics Enrollments
Mathematics enrollments

Physical Sciences results

The number of full-time matrics who took Physical Sciences also showed a decline from 210,168 in 2010 to 171,549 in 2014.

The pass rate in Physical Sciences declined from 67.4% in 2013 to 61.5% in 2014. Only 36.9% of learners scored over 40%.

Physical sciences enrollments
Physical sciences enrollments

An overview of the 2014 matric results

The following infographic provides an overview of the 2014 National Senior Certificate results.

Matric results
Matric results

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Hidden truths about South Africa’s matric results