THE DEPARTMENT of basic education has scrapped this year's final exams for grade 10 and 11 pupils and replaced them with “controlled” tests.
Previously the promotion of grade 10 and 11 pupils to the next grade was largely dependent on the results pupils achieved in the high-stakes, final exams which counted for 300 of the 400 marks in total for each subject. The remaining 100 marks came from tests, assignments and projects, known as school-based assessment (SBA).
The weighting for the exams, which will be written as tests for this year only, has now been reduced from 75% to 40% while the weighting for the SBA has been increased from 25% to 60%.
The revised promotion requirements are contained in a circular dated September 12 that was signed by basic education director-general Mathanzima Mweli. According to the circular, “the additional loss of teaching time due to rotational attendance, Covid-19 infections and the additional four-week closure has resulted in a variable completion of the annual teaching plans”.
The document stated that in line with the revised annual teaching plans and the time spent on teaching and learning, the promotion requirements have been revised for this year.
Grade 10 papers will be an hour’s duration while the grade 11 papers will be two hours long.
Pupils in the two grades will write tests set by the schools — as the common tests, which are set by the provinces, will not be administered this year.
According to the circular, “controlled tests should be set only on content taught”.
“The controlled Test must cover a substantial portion of the curriculum taught, preferably work covered in all terms, wherever possible.”
The circular stated that the Test must be administered under controlled conditions.
“Fundamental subjects like languages, maths and maths literacy will offer the required number of papers with a reduced duration. All elective subjects to reduce the number of papers to one Test per subject.”