Matric 2017: Upward adjustments must be explained

Umalusi has today announced their adjustments to the matric results: out of 58 subjects written this year, 20 had their marks adjusted (16 upwards and 4 downwards).
Last year, the DA as well as education experts raised the alarm about the number and size of the upward adjustments. While we are pleased to hear that fewer subjects were adjusted, we are concerned that Umalusi has felt the need to block MPs from attending this year’s standardisation meeting to avoid anyone asking questions about these adjustments.
As such, we do not know how big the adjustments were, and what the justification for making them was. We will submit written questions in the New Year to determine the size of the adjustments, and what the reasons for these changes are.
Marks should be adjusted when an exam paper was significantly more or less difficult than in previous years. However, Umalusi and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) have resisted answering questions about the adjustments that are being made to matric marks.
The need for continuing upward adjustments suggests there is a very serious problem somewhere in the schooling system that must be identified and addressed, particularly as it is a trend over a number of years.

Year Total subjects Total adjusted Adjusted upwards Adjusted downwards
2012 61 17 4 13
2013 62 15 2 13
2014 58 23 13 10
2015 59 30 29 1
2016 58 32 28 4
2017 58 20 16 4

Until the DBE admits that there is a problem, no steps can be taken to identify and solve it. Sticking our head in the sand won’t improve the quality of the basic education our learners receive.