Matric pass rate expected to drop: report

 ·4 Jan 2015
Maths fail

The pass rate for the 2014 matric exams is expected to drop by as much as 5% – the first decline in 5 years, the City Press reports.

Citing the head of exam quality control at Umalusi, Professor John Volmink, the decline is due to poor maths, physical science and home language results.

A 5% decline would see as many as 178,000 pupils failing (out of about 660,000 who penned the exams), which translates to a pass rate of approximately 73%, down from a 78.2% pass rate seen in 2013.

Volmink was quoted as saying that, in his experience, the raw scores – which account for 75% of the final matric mark – indicated that there would be a 3%-5% drop in the overall pass rate.

Volmink noted further that there was a 48% failure rate in maths literacy – which is a compulsory subject – and a 5%-6% drop in the pass rates for maths and physical science.

The predictions were based on unadjusted results.

The drop in the maths results were expected due to a change in the curriculum in 2014, which saw the addition of Euclidean geometry and probabilities, which were “conceptually hard”, according to the professor.

For this reason, a lot of pupils failed maths compared to previous years; but there were also more As in the subject, Volmink noted.

Subsequently, Umalusi said that the maths results would be adjusted downward for the top pupils, and maths literacy would be adjusted upwards, in line with the 5-year standard.

The results of home languages would also be adjusted upward, as the subject’s failure rate was “significantly higher” than previous years.

The overall pass rate is expected to be announced on Monday, 5 January.

The full report can be read in the City Press for 4 January 2015.

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