Umalusi approves the release of the 2019 national examinations results

For immediate release                                                                3 January 2020

Umalusi approves the release of the 2019 national examinations results

Umalusi, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, has approved the release of the 2019 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 2019 national examinations, monitoring the conduct of examinations, monitoring and verification of marking as well as standardisation of results.

The class of 2019: The class of 2019 was the sixth Grade 12 cohort to write final examinations under the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). Furthermore, the class of 2019 entered Grade 1 in 2008 when the NSC was written for the first time in Grade 12. It was also the second cohort to write the newly introduced technical and technology subjects as well as South African Sign Language Home Language.

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, Umalusi notes with appreciation the improvement in learner performance in subjects such as Geography, Physical Science and Mathematical Literacy. This is an indication of a maturing system in which expectations regarding curriculum and assessment standards are becoming more and more entrenched in the system.

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 2019 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. However, each academic year seems to bring a new set of challenges in the conduct and administration of the NSC examinations. Therefore, the following incidents are worth mentioning: (1) on 16 and 17 October 2019 the writing of the DBE practical examinations of Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology in some parts of the country was affected by load shedding. For Information Technology almost 1000 candidates were impacted. However, arrangements were made for the affected learners to write back-up papers on 29 November 2019 in both subjects. (2) Protest action in the North-West province threatened the conduct of the examinations in parts of the province. However, the DBE was able to make alternative arrangements timeously.

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, interpretation of questions and marking guidelines, curriculum changes, 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 5 years. This comparison includes qualitative data, medians, means, pass/failure and distinction rates and pairs analyses, which play a significant 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.

STANDARDISATION DECISIONS AND APPROVAL STATEMENTS – NSC EXAMINATIONS

 

INDEPENDENT EXAMINATIONS BOARD (IEB)

Description 2019 Percentage
Number of subjects presented 64
Raw marks 52 81.3%
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 4 6.25%
Adjusted (downwards) 8 12.5%
Number of subjects standardised: 64

 

Having  studied all the evidence at hand on the management and conduct of the National Senior Certificate examinations administered by the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), Umalusi is satisfied that there were no systemic irregularities reported that may have compromised the overall integrity and credibility of the November 2019 NSC examination.

The Executive Committee of Council (EXCO) approves the release of the results of the November 2019 NSC examinations.

However, the IEB is required to address the directives for compliance and improvement and submit an improvement plan to Umalusi by 14 February 2020.

The Executive Committee of Council commends the Independent Examinations Board for conducting a successful and credible examination.

 

SOUTH AFRICAN COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT INSTITUTE (SACAI)

Description 2019 Percentage
Number of subjects presented 25
Raw marks 17 68%
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 4 16%
Adjusted (downwards) 4 16%
Number of subjects standardised: 25

 

Having  studied all the evidence at hand on the management and conduct of the National Senior Certificate examinations administered by the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI), Umalusi is satisfied that apart from the administrative errors noted during the writing of the examinations, there were no systemic irregularities reported that may have compromised the overall integrity and credibility of the November 2019 NSC examination.

The Executive Committee of Council (EXCO) approves the release of the results of the November 2019 NSC examinations.

However, SACAI is required to:

  1. block the results of the unaccredited centres, submit a report to explain how these centres were allowed to administer examinations and motivate why the release of the results of these centres should be approved.
  2. address the directives for compliance and improvement and submit an improvement plan to Umalusi by 14 February 2020.

 

The Executive Committee of Council commends SACAI for conducting a successful and credible examination.

 

DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION (DBE)

Description 2019 %
Number of subjects presented 67
Raw marks 47 70.2%
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 13 19.4%
Adjusted (mainly downwards) 7 10.1%
Number of subjects standardised: 67

 

Having  studied all the evidence at hand on the management and conduct of the National Senior Certificate examination administered by the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Umalusi is satisfied that, apart from the instances of alleged irregularities noted, there were no systemic irregularities reported that may have compromised the overall integrity and credibility of the November 2019 NSC examination.

The Executive Committee of Council (EXCO) approves the release of the results of the November 2019 NSC examinations.

However, the DBE is required to:

  1. block the results of the candidates implicated in the irregularities pending the outcome of further investigation by the DBE and approval by Umalusi;
  2. block the results of the unaccredited centres, submit a report to explain how these centres were allowed to administer examinations and motivate why the release of the results of these centres should be approved.
  3. address the directives for compliance and improvement and submit an improvement plan to Umalusi by 14 February 2020.

The Executive Committee of Council commends the Department of Basic Education for conducting a successful and credible NSC examination and notes with appreciation the reduced number of irregularities.

STANDARDISATION DECISIONS AND APPROVAL STATEMENTS – NATED and NC(V) EXAMINATIONS ADMINISTERED BY DHET

NATED N2 – N3

Description 2019
Number of instructional offerings presented 58
Raw marks 32
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 19
Adjusted (mainly downwards) 7
Number of instructional offerings standardised: 58

 

BUSINESS LANGUAGES N3

Description 2019
Number of instructional offerings presented 4
Raw marks 1
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 1
Adjusted (mainly downwards) 2
Number of instructional offerings standardised: 4

 

Having studied all the evidence presented and having noted that, apart from the alleged irregularities noted during the writing of examinations and marking of examination scripts and moderation of ICASS at some centres, there were no systemic irregularities  reported that might have compromised the overall credibility and integrity of the November 2019 NATED Report 190/191 Engineering Studies N2-N3 and Business Languages N3 examinations administered by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The Executive Committee of Council approves the release of the results.

However, the DHET is required to:

  1. block the results of candidates implicated in irregularities;
  2. block the results of the 15 unaccredited centres,
  3. submit a report to explain how these centres were allowed to administer examinations and motivate why the release of the results of these centres must be approved;
  4. the results of the implicated centres that did not submit evidence
  5. or complied with ICASS pending the outcome of further investigations by the DHET and verification by Umalusi.
  6. The DHET is required to attend to the directives for compliance indicated in the quality assurance of assessment report.

Umalusi remains concerned about the slow progress with the revision of the curriculum and the need to improve the management of assessments and examinations conducted especially at private colleges.

NC (V) LEVEL 2-4

Description 2019
Number of subjects presented 260
Raw marks 149
Adjusted (mainly upwards) 78
Adjusted (mainly downwards) 32
Provisionally standardised 1
Number of subjects standardised 260

 

Having studied all the evidence presented and having noted that, apart from alleged irregularities noted, there were no systemic irregularities reported, that might have compromised the overall  integrity and credibility of the  November 2019 National Certificate (Vocational) levels 2, 3 and 4 examinations administered by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Executive Committee of Council approves the release of the results of the November 2019 NC(V) levels 2, 3 and 4 examinations.

However the DHET is required to:

  1. block the results of centres and/or candidates implicated in irregularities, pending the outcome of further investigations by the DHET and approval by Umalusi;
  2. block the results of the implicated centres that did not submit ICASS evidence or did not meet the ICASS or ISAT requirements, for further investigation by the DHET and approval by Umalusi;
  3. block the results of the 7 unaccredited centres, submit a report to explain how  these centres were allowed to administer examinations and motivate why the release of the results of these centres must be approved;
  4. address the directives for compliance and improvement and submit an improvement plan to Umalusi by 14 February 2020.

The Executive Committee of Council commends the DHET for conducting a successful and credible examination.

 

Lucky Ditaunyane

Senior Manager: PR and Communications

083 227 6074