Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Matric Maths Disaster Looms


Matric Maths disaster looms

Viking's post "Can South Africa Work?" Got me to think. And yes, I tried to approach the question rationally. I see so much being given and sacrificed by whites, so much hard work and eagerness, that I think somehow SA will make it. It will. From our side, yes, doubtless.

But I'm really concerned that there is not a 50/50 deal going on, and this may ultimately sabotage the future in SA...How much longer can these kinds of results from our youngest and "brightest" minds be excused? How can it be, that children, who started school four years AFTER apartheid ended, score so dismally in maths?

Thousands of matrics are expected to fail maths this year because one of the two final exam papers was "beyond their intelligence".

The level of difficulty of some of the questions has sparked calls for marks to be adjusted upwards (and this has happened, see this report today)

A senior moderator of maths paper one in Mpumalanga, whose group checked more than 6000 scripts, said only 1000 of them had passed.

Nationally, 300461 learners wrote maths while a further 284826 wrote maths literacy, the easier paper.

The moderator, who cannot be named because of confidentiality regulations, said
at least 1000 of the papers he had marked had scored zero out of a possible 150.

"Very few learners will make it in paper one; most will fail," he warned.

The Department of Basic Education's exams directorate this week confirmed that it had also received reports from teachers and subject advisers that the paper had been "extremely difficult".

Pupils countrywide wrote new question papers in five subjects, including maths paper one, after the original papers were leaked in Mpumalanga. The Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (Amesa) sent a submission to the department highlighting its concerns about the paper. Its Western Cape branch said the paper had been tricky and the standard of questions "unexpected".

It said: "The majority of learners are second- and third-language (English speakers). Could questions not be asked at a more simple level?"

A senior KwaZulu-Natal maths teacher labelled a lengthy question that carried only two marks as a "disgrace". The teacher said all pupils should be awarded 40 extra marks because most of the problems were "beyond" the majority of pupils.

"If there is no massive upward adjustment of marks because the papers were problematic, there will be mass failures," he predicted.

Eric Ndimande, a maths teacher in Mpumalanga, said most maths teachers would have battled to pass the paper had they written it.

Amesa singled out 12 problematic questions and recommended that the exam in future provide a "reasonable opportunity" for weaker pupils to score at least 30%.
Amesa's president, Elspeth Khembo, said her association would welcome an upward mark adjustment by Umalusi, the body responsible for monitoring and standardising the matric exams.

The department's chief director of examinations, Nkosi Sishi, said reports on the difficulty of the paper would be presented to Umalusi on December 28 and 29.
"Umalusi will measure the level of difficulty (of the paper) against the level of difficulty of equivalent papers set in the past," he said.

Professor John Volmink, chairman of the Umalusi council, said pupils' performance this year would be compared with the performance of pupils in previous years and added that, if warranted, "minor adjustments" may be made.

Matric results will be released on January 7.

7 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

Wow.

Didn't Mrs.Thatcher say something about Anti-Racist Mathematics??

Pensioner said...

My eldest Grandson just phoned us to say he passed his matric and he got B+ for his maths one. Well done, my boy we are proud of you. LOL

Anonymous said...

South African maths difficulty determination test.

1+1= Easy
1+2= Moderate
1+3= Difficult
1+4= Eeeesh

A4

Dachshund said...
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Dachshund said...
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Dachshund said...

So we can take it there'll be less affirmative action candidates for actuarial science studies enrolment this year?

Anonymous said...

some idiot teacher made this comment in the article :-
A senior KwaZulu-Natal maths teacher labelled a lengthy question that carried only two marks as a "disgrace". The teacher said all pupils should be awarded 40 extra marks because most of the problems were "beyond" the majority of pupils.

Anyone with ANY exam training would leave such questions to the end as they only count 2 marks - says it all does it not.