Poor spelling hits exams

17 November 2014 - 02:00 By Katharine Child

"This memorrandum coonsists of 7 pages."

This is the Gauteng Education Department's Ekurhuleni North District answer sheet given to teachers marking the Grade 11 standardised maths literacy exam.

Some schools choose to have standardised exams approved by their districts for students. The answers appear to be correct.

But the cover sheet invents words. The cover page explains to markers the symbols they need to use when marking and what they mean:

  • A is for accuraccy.
  • CA is for Consist Accuraentacy.
  • O is own oppinion.
  • R is rouding offng.
  • S stands for simpliifccation.

The National Teachers of South Africa Union president Basil Manuel said: "The poor spelling is totally unacceptable."

Manuel said circulars sent to teachers from provincial or national departments often had spelling errors. Naptosa had raised concerns about bad spelling "time and time again" and this "reveals a culture of 'I don't care'," in the department.

Equal Education Gauteng chairman Tsepo Motsepe said: "Such an official document definitely does not inspire confidence in the department."

He said this was a symptom of a wider issue : "The department ought to really look at its officials and the level of skills they have in order  to advance quality learning and teaching. T he real failures of the system are not teachers, but, rather, district officials, who are lacking in providing quality support to schools."

The department said it would respond today to queries sent on Thursday.