17 matric exams have marks adjusted upwards

17 out of the 67 subjects that formed part of the Department of Basic Education’s matric exams have had their marks adjusted upwards.

Umalusi released this statistic today ahead of the release of the matric results on 4 January 2019.

In 2017, 16 subjects were adjusted upwards – about a quarter of all subjects written.

Questions raised

According to the DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi, serious questions must be raised about the management of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams.

“Unfortunately, we have no idea how large these adjustments are,” said Marchesi in a press release.

“Umalusi hides this information from the public, and refuses to allow elected Members of Parliament to attend the standardisation meeting.”

She added that anyone who questions the nature of Umalusi’s adjustments is accused of trying to disrupt and attack the school system.

“Protecting the quality of the matric certificate is vital to ensuring that young South Africans can study further or secure a job after school,” said Marchesi.

No adjustments to maths and science

According to Umalusi chairperson John Volmink, there were no adjustments made in subjects such as Maths, Life Sciences, and Physics.

Volmink added that Umalusi detected no systemic irregularities during the 2018 exams.

However, he said the release of results in the first week of January should be reconsidered moving forward due to how taxing it is on the process.

The matric education problem

Mark adjustments are just a small part of a bigger basic education problem in South Africa.

Former University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen said that “passing Grade 12 in South Africa is actually quite easy, and it means very little”.

MyBroadband recently reported on how the standard of maths exams has also dropped over the past 20 years, with teachers and lecturers alike saying that they are of a lower standard today.

“The curriculum is wide, but not deep enough,” said the HOD of the Wits School of Mathematics, Professor Betsie Jonck.

Below are the NSC result adjustment statistics from 2012 to this year, listed by the DA.

NSC subject adjustments 2012-2018
Year Total Subjects Total Adjusted Adjusted Up Adjusted Down
2012 61 17 4 13
2013 62 15 2 13
2014 58 23 13 10
2015 59 30 29 1
2016 58 32 28 4
2017 58 20 16 4
2018 67 28 17 11

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17 matric exams have marks adjusted upwards