Umalusi on approval of 2018 national examinations results

Umalusi approves the 2018 national examinations results

Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, has approved the release of the 2018 national examinations results after successfully conducting the quality assurance of the management and administration of exit point examinations in the following qualifications per assessment body:

Independent Examinations Board (IEB) � NSC AND GETC:ABET

South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) � NSC

Benchmark Assessment Agency (BAA) � GETC: ABET

Department of Basic Education (DBE) � NSC

Department of Higher Education And Training (DHET) � GETC:ABET; NATED N2-N3 Programmes; NC(V)

Umalusi’s quality assurance process focused on the following aspects of its mandate: the external moderation of question papers for all subjects/learning areas/instructional offerings across all qualifications and assessment bodies, verification of a sample of site-based assessment (SBA) marks, monitoring of the assessment bodies’ state of readiness to conduct and manage the 2018 national examinations, monitoring the conduct of examinations, monitoring and verification of marking as well as standardisation of results.

This year the South African Comprehensive Institute (SACAI), which is an independent assessment body provisionally accredited by Umalusi to administer the National Senior Certificate examinations, administered its NSC exams for the fifth time. Another new independent assessment body, Benchmark Assessment Agency (BAA), which is also in a process of obtaining accreditation from Umalusi, ran a pilot of its fourth GETC examinations in November. Both Benchmark and SACAI’s results were subjected to Umalusi’s quality assurance processes.

The class of 2018: The class of 2018 was the eleventh Grade 12 cohort to write the NSC examinations and only the fifth cohort to write final examinations under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). Furthermore, the class of 2018 was the second Grade 12 cohort to be assessed on the prescribed literature that was introduced in 2017. More significantly, the class of 2018 was the first Grade 12 cohort to be assessed on the following 12 newly introduced subjects:

South African Sign Language Home Language, Technical Mathematics, Technical Sciences, Mechanical Technology [Automotive, Fitting and Machining, Welding and Metal Work], Civil Technology [Civil Services, Construction, Woodworking], and Electrical Technology [Digital Systems, Electronics, Power Systems]. It is Umalusi’s considered view that one of the advantages of introducing these subjects is that they broaden the breadth of the CAPS to accommodate the wide range of learning needs within the South African education system.

Evidence-based reports: Umalusi has taken note of the evidence-based reports on interventions and improvement strategies implemented by all assessment bodies including the Department of Basic Education and the positive impact of these on the overall assessment system as well as on teaching and learning.

Therefore, while the 2018 cohort has benefited from the maturity of the NSC system over the past 11 years, the CAPS aligned system introduced in 2014 is slowly beginning to strengthen after only five years. As a result, Umalusi has put in place rigorous and robust procedures that provide assurance that all learners receive appropriate recognition for their performance in line with agreed national standards so that no learner should feel that s/he was born in the wrong year.

Improved quality of question papers: The quality of question papers is a very important aspect of the integrity and credibility of the examination. It is therefore pleasing to see a marked improvement in the overall quality of question papers across the assessment bodies as more papers are approved after first or second submission to external moderators.

Irregularities: Umalusi is pleased to report that the 2018 national examinations went smoothly without any systemic irregularities. Systemic irregularities are exam irregularities / malpractices that compromise the integrity of examinations on a large scale, for example, paper leakages that have the potential to affect an entire subject in a circuit, district, province or nationwide. Nevertheless, the following irregularities are worth mentioning: In Gauteng, the principal of Mpontsheng Secondary School was reportedly involved in an incident where he allegedly gave answers to learners during the writing of Geography Paper 1. Subsequently, candidates were afforded an opportunity to rewrite the examination immediately after the end of the scheduled examinations. In the Eastern Cape, an incident that affected the writing of English Home Language and English First Additional Language Paper 1 was reported at one school where candidates did not write the paper due to protests by candidates who were registered for Multiple Exam Opportunities (MEO) � However, those candidates were also afforded an opportunity to rewrite.

The approval of Umalusi Council for the release of results is determined by the examination centres’ level of compliance with policies, directives and guidelines issued by both Umalusi and each of the assessment bodies. Before such an approval is granted, Umalusi Council has to satisfy itself that no systemic irregularities have occurred to undermine the integrity and the credibility of the examination process. To this end, Umalusi requires that each assessment body provides a report on irregularities.

Standardisation of results: In order to mitigate the sources of variability that impact on learner performance from one year to another. (eg. cognitive demand and difficulty levels of questions, marking, curriculum changes, interventions etc.) standardisation is employed as an important ‘quality assurance process used the world-over.’

Standardisation aims, in the main, to achieve equivalence of the standard of the examination across years, subjects and assessment bodies and to deliver a relatively constant product to the market: universities, colleges and employers.

We can expect that when standards of examinations are equivalent certain statistical mark distributions should correspond. It is this principle of ‘correlation’ that forms the basis for comparing distributions with norms/historical averages that are developed over 4-5 years. This comparison includes qualitative data, medians, means, pass/failure and distinction rates and pairs analyses, which play a valuable role in the absence of historical data.

The adjustments decided by the Assessment Standards Committee (ASC) of Umalusi consistently follow certain guiding principles. The ASC consists of academics with extensive experience and expertise in statistical moderation, assessment, curriculum and education.

Source: Government of South Africa