MEC Debbie Schäfer visits main National Senior Certificate marking centre

On Friday 5th December 2014, 3 099 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination markers began marking over 800 000 examination scripts from the 2014 NSC examinations.

Today I am visiting the main marking centre to see for myself, the huge task that is undertaken to mark almost a million examination scripts.

The marking of the examinations is taking place from 5 December 2014 to 14 December 2014. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has appointed 3 099 markers to mark the examination scripts.

This year 61 065 candidates wrote the 2014 NSC examination. 49 271 full time candidates registered for the examinations and a further 11 794 part-time candidates registered.

In the Western Cape, our commitment to quality also extends to the marking of our matric exam papers, this includes competency testing for markers in the NSC examinations. Much has been said regarding the importance of competency testing for markers over the last two years

In September 2014, it was announced that the National Department would be introducing quality control measures for NSC exam marking across the country. Essentially, the DBE proposed that we tighten up moderation of marking.

The WCED already applies rigorous moderation at all levels of the marking process, namely at four levels – the Internal Moderator, Chief Marker, Deputy Chief Marker and Senior Marker. A tolerance range is also already set at about two marks per question.

Whilst we welcome the move to tighten moderation nationally, the proposed quality control measures are still a far cry from competency testing for markers.

Eighteen months after Umalusi called for competency tests, the Western Cape remains the only province to implement them.

The Western Cape has, for the last four years, been conducting competency testing for markers to ensure that we appoint markers who demonstrate that they know how to mark and the content of the subject they are marking.

We remain committed to these tests, despite resistance from SADTU, and despite the fact that it may prejudice our results as a result of higher standards being applied. This was recognised in the Task Team Report.

To ensure that the mark calculations of our markers are correct, the WCED has appointed 520 mark checkers.

Our main concern is to protect the integrity of the NSC and to do so we have ensured that the marking centres are protected with high security 24 hours a day.

The much anticipated results of the NSC are expected to be announced on the 5th of January 2015 by Minister Motshekga. Schools and candidates will receive their results on the 6th January 2015.

I would like to thank the markers, moderators and officials for their dedication and commitment to ensuring that this is a credible process.

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