The Department of Basic Education has scrapped final examinations for Grade 10 and 11 learners and will instead replace them with controlled tests.
Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told the SABC that the decision was made as a once-off measure, due to teaching time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a once-off measure that we have put in place after we looked at everything that affected schooling this year and we felt it would not be fair to have a full-scale examination when schools were closed and reopened. With the trimmed curriculum we realised that we are not going to finish the syllabus,” he said.
“Grade 10 and 11 (students) learn the same thing, it is just the degree of difficulty of what they are learning. It is basically something that is not really new to them. So what we are going to do is create more time next year to ensure that all the work that was not covered is covered then.”
The weighting for the exams been reduced from 75% to 40%, while the weighting for the school-based assessment (SBA) has been increased from 25% to 60%.
A circular sent to schools and teachers presented the changed promotional requirements for Grade 10 and 11 in more detail.
On the test, the circular stated that grade 10 papers will be an hour-long, with grade 11 papers two hours long. 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 test, it said, must be administered under controlled conditions. The document said that 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,” the department said.
Later start dates
Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga says to ensure that matriculants are not compromised by the late release of the Grade 12 results, Universities South Africa has agreed to extend the academic year to the end of February 2021.
Universities are expected to start their 2021 academic year in March or April next year. This, Motshekga said, will ensure that students will still be able to get admitted to institutions of higher learning on time.
The Minister said this when ministers in the Social Services Cluster responded to oral questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“On 24 August this year, our Director-General (Mathanzima) Mweli met with Universities South Africa, which is the body that regulates admissions to higher education institutions, and they indicated that universities will be extending the 2020 academic year to the end of February next year.
“So while the opening of universities is not universal, we are certain that when we issue (matric) results on 23 February next year, we will not be disadvantaging learners because most universities will start their 2021 academic year in March or April next year,” she said.
This comes after the department announced last month that the 2020 Grade 12 examinations would be completed by 15 December, with marking being concluded on 22 January and the results released on 23 February 2021.
The new school year will commence on 25 January 2021 for teachers and learners a few days later.
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