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Matric scores down, says Umalusi

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Exam monitoring body, Umalusi has revealed that it has uncovered 26 probable cases of group copying during the 2015 matric examination process; this after 58 exam centres were implicated in a similar cheating scandal in 2014.

The body defines group copying as any form of assistance given to a group of students in an exam room by another student, teacher or an invigilator. Many of those caught during the 2014 exams were issued with bans excluding them from writing for the next three years, although some who confessed were allowed to write their exams this year.

“We thought that we had eliminated this practice but unfortunately we’ve had 26 cases, which is however a very small percentage. If you take 100 learners at each centre then it is only 2000 and odd learners out of 674 000 (who wrote DBE exams).

“It’s just alleged and nothing has been proven yet. It seems as if there is a pattern here which we need to investigate. This does not declare the whole exam invalid or lacking in credibility,” said Umalusi Council chair, Prof. John Volmink.

In addition, the body also noted that exam papers for bother Life Sciences exams were leaked in the Vhembe district in Limpopo, resulting in a rewrite for over 16 000 learners in the region. Several arrests were also made in relation to the leak.

Umalusi has announced an overall drop in the 2015 pass rate. In addition, it has also revealed that candidates fared worse in 30 of the 59 subjects written, compared to those who wrote the previous year.

Exams are set, administered and moderated by three respective bodies, namely the Independent Examination Board (IEC), the DBE, as well as the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI); the latter covering home-schooled and rural area students. Once internal moderations by the respective bodies have been conducted, the exam papers are then sent to Umalusi for external moderation.

“Umalusi receives the raw scores after they have been marked. We look at those raw scores and compare them with previous years.

In 2014 we had 58 subjects presented to us and we had left 35 of those (results) unadjusted. This year we could only leave 29 as raw, so we had to adjust 30,” explained Volmink, further highlighting a decline in performance during this year’s exam process.

IEB results were officially released last week, with the class of 2015 recording a 98.30% pass rate; a minimal decline from 98.38% in 2014. 10 775 students wrote the private schooling exams this year.

Public school candidates are expected to receive their results on Wednesday. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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