HomeAfrica-NewsMath hysteria: Matrics may have to wait until January for decision on...

Math hysteria: Matrics may have to wait until January for decision on ‘impossible’ math question


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Enrolled students will not have to rewrite a Maths exam, described as having a question that was ‘impossible’ to solve.

  • Matrix candidates may have to wait until January to hear what will happen to the Maths Paper 2 exam results after they complained that Question 5 was “impossible” to solve.
  • However, they will not have to rewrite the paper, according to the basic education department.
  • The question will be evaluated by moderators and may be excluded from grading if it is found to be wrong.

Matrix candidates will not have to rewrite the math test that contained the infamous question 5, which many marked as impossible to solve.

But they may have to wait until January to hear the Department of Basic Education’s decision on whether to adjust their grades.

The “matter is being discussed,” according to department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga, and an announcement would only be made “once all discussions have been concluded.”

The talks included a meeting with the Umalusi quality assurance council, which would probably only take place in January, according to Mhlanga.

Umalusi gave “final approval of all the questionnaires,” he added.

The department previously told News24 that an investigation was underway into the question, worth seven points, after students complained it was “impossible” to answer.

The alleged error was reported across the country after students wrote the Maths Paper 2 test on November 7.

Mhlanga previously said that if there was an impact on student performance because candidates wasted time trying to answer the question or became stressed, officials would assess whether a 1% or 2% upward adjustment was necessary.

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Umalusi spokesman Biki Lepota said the standard procedure for dealing with a suspected problematic question, such as the one on the Maths Paper 2 exam, involved evaluating work during the subject grading guidelines or memo standardization meeting.

This meeting includes markers and representatives from the department and Umalusi.

The meeting discusses “where students may not have done well through no fault of their own,” Lepota said, and moderates problematic questions based on the candidates’ responses.

Depending on the answers of the students, the question could be accepted. This could be done if most students receive method grades for showing their calculations and logic.

Alternatively, if there was an error in the question, it could be excluded from the document, “depending on the magnitude of the problem,” he added.

Lepota was unable to give a timetable for when the process would be completed, saying a staggered approach was used for the meetings. However, he said that the document would not be rewritten.

“Umalusi’s external moderators attend these meetings and take responsibility for signing the final qualification guidelines after considering the candidates’ responses and deliberations.

“Detailed details of how the concerns were handled would be submitted to Umalusi for consideration at the end of the rating process,” Lepota said.

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The executive director of the SAOU teachers’ union, Chris Klopper, said they would not rewrite the document.

“It will be left out of the total score or the score will be adjusted. This is not a rewrite of the paper, but rather a decision on the particular question on its own.

“It is an unfortunate problem. It’s something that should have been picked up through the many phases of moderation and a lot of people scanned this particular document.

“We have advised our members accordingly and need the department to calm students down during this time as well,” Klopper added.

The General Secretary of the Union of Professional Educators, Ben Machipi, said that the discussion of the memorandum would be the deciding factor.

He added: “When this happens, and it is clear that the question was not taught to the students, then everyone will be given points. If it is just an issue that affects some students, then it will be taken as if these students did not “. answer the question”.

Machipi said they have yet to meet with their union’s math teachers to tell them the implication of the question.

“Students will not be at a disadvantage if the error is on the part of the examiner. If the minister says that the result will be heard in January, it simply means that he will wait until a memorandum discussion where a fair decision will be made,” he said. additional.


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