ATC160530: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on attending the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Standardisation of 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Marks Meeting, dated 24 May 2016
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education on attending the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Standardisation of 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Marks Meeting, dated 24 May 2016
The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, having attended the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Standardisation of 2015 NSC Examination Marks meeting on 23 December 2015 at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice, Pretoria, reports as follows:
- The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education received an invitation from Umalusi and the Department of Basic Education to send a multi-party delegation to attend its annual Standardisation of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examination Marks meeting at the Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, Pretoria on 23 December 2015.
- Umalusi is mandated by the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance (GENFETQA) Act of 2001(as amended in 2008), to conduct quality assurance of assessment practices for all registered and accredited assessment bodies, including the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and its Provincial Departments of Basic Education, at exit points in general and further education (National Qualification Framework 1-4). The Act also mandates Umalusi to adjust the raw marks when necessary.
- The Standardisation meeting formed one of the last steps of Umalusi’s intensive processes of quality assurance of the 2015 NSC examination results administered by the Department of Basic Education.
- Observers at the Standardisation meeting included the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), Higher Education South Africa (HESA), the South African Council of Educators (SACE) and representatives of the teacher unions. In addition, representatives from other examination boards or councils elsewhere in Africa had been invited to attend as observers.
- The delegation of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education comprised the following members of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education: Hon N Gina MP (ANC), Hon T Khoza MP (ANC), Hon D Mnguni MP (ANC), Hon H Basson (ANC), Hon D Davis MP (DA), Hon C Msimang MP (IFP) and Hon C Majeke MP (UDM).
- Members of staff who formed part of the delegation included Mr D Bandi (Content Advisor), Mr L Brown (Committee Secretary) and Mr D Arendse (Committee Assistant).
2. Background and Principles
The meeting proceeded with an initial welcome and opening remarks by Prof J Volmink (Chairperson: Umalusi) and introductory remarks by Dr M Rakometsi (Chief Executive Officer: Umalusi) and Mr H Mweli (Director-General: Department of Basic Education). Dr Rakometsi touched on the aims, mandate and key functions of Umalusi. He further alluded to the visits conducted by Umalusi in respect of the monitoring and moderation of the various systems and processes of the NSC examinations and assessment. A detailed report would be submitted to the Minister regarding the quality assurance of the 2015 NSC examinations and assessment of the Department of Basic Education.
Mr Mweli mentioned that the process was a culmination of a long journey that started in 2004 when the current Grade 12 Learners entered Grade 1. He alluded to the size and shape of the 2015 NSC examinations, as well as some of the key interventions and improvement strategies implemented by the Department of Basic Education and the Provincial Education Departments. He further noted that the standardisation processes ensured fairness within the system and safeguarded the integrity of the National Senior Certificate examinations.
The meeting received a breakdown of the key standardisation guidelines and principles which applied to the standardisation of the examination marks as follows:
- In general, no adjustment should exceed 10 percent of the Historic Average;
- Adjustments in excess of 10 percent could be considered at the upper end to increase the number of distinctions in a subject;
- In the case of the individual candidate, the adjustment effected should not exceed 50 percent of the mark obtained by the candidate;
- If the distribution of the raw marks was below the Historic Average, the marks could be adjusted upwards, subject to the limitations;
- If the distribution of the raw marks was above the Historic Average, the marks should be adjusted downwards, subject to the limitations;
- The computer adjusted mark was calculated based on the above principles;
- For those subjects with a practical component of 50 percent, raw marks could be accepted; and
- Umalusi, however, retained the right to amend these principles where and when deemed necessary based on sound educational principles.
The main objective of standardisation was to ensure that learners were not unduly advantaged or disadvantaged by extraneous factors other than their knowledge of the subject, abilities and their aptitude. It further helped to achieve comparability and consistency on an annual basis.
3. Presentation of Results for Standardisation
A total of 59 subjects were presented for standardisation. During the standardisation, performance in each subject was analysed statistically and qualitatively by a team of experts. Due to the nature of the meeting, and by request of Umalusi, details of the proceedings were held in a closed session. None of the discussions, deliberations and decisions were open for reporting in any way.
After closing remarks by Mr Mweli and a final word from Dr Rakometsi, the meeting adjourned.
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