JONATHAN JANSEN | Behind the end-of-year exam plan is a big, ruinous lie

The ‘Covid-driven’ change merely stresses the huge gap between privileged and disadvantaged schools

24 September 2020 - 19:11

The government’s plan for the end-of-year examinations for grades 10 and 11 is a joke - except it will ruin the lives of tens of thousands of children. That makes Circular S7 of 2020’s “revised promotion requirements” no laughing matter at all. It really is a pity that our journalism is so weak as to swallow the official line in headlines like “Government scraps final exams”. It did nothing of the sort.

Let’s begin with the before-and-after Covid-19 picture for assessment in these two senior grades. Before, a pupil’s final mark was based on a school-based assessment (SBA) mark (25%) and a formal examination at the end of the year (75%, composed of two three-hour exams). Now, the SBA mark jumps to 60% and the end-of-year exam contribution is reduced to 40%. Before, the subject exam was typically composed of two papers of 150 marks each completed over three hours each. Now, that exam is a single, consolidated paper of two hours only...

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