Math hysteria: Matrics may have to wait until January to decide on ‘impossible’ math question | TBEN


Matric students are not required to rewrite a math exam paper, described as a question that was ‘impossible’ to solve.

  • Matric candidates may have to wait until January to hear what will happen to their Math Paper 2 exam results after complaining that Question 5 was “impossible” to solve.
  • However, they don’t have to rewrite the paper, the elementary education department said.
  • The question is reviewed by moderators and may be excluded from review if found to be incorrect.

Matric candidates do not have to rewrite the math exam paper with the infamous question 5, which many considered impossible to solve.

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

The “case is being discussed,” department spokesman Elijah Mhlanga said, and an announcement would not be made “when all talks are finalized.”

The talks include a meeting with the Umalusi Quality Assurance Board, which Mhlanga says is unlikely to take place until January.

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

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

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The suspected error was reported nationwide after students took the Maths Paper 2 exam on Nov. 7.

Mhlanga previously said that if there was an impact on student performance because candidates lost time answering the question or became stressed, officials would assess whether an upward adjustment of 1% or 2% was needed.

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Umalusi spokesperson Biki Lepota said standard procedure for dealing with a claimed problematic question, such as the one in the Maths Paper 2 exam, involves having the paper graded during the subject’s grading guidelines or memorandum standardization meeting.

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

The meeting looks at “where students may not have done well through no fault of their own,” Lepota said, and moderates problematic questions while considering candidates’ answers.

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

If there is an error in the question, it could also be excluded from the paper, “depending on the magnitude of the problem,” he added.

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Lepota could not provide a timeline for the process to be completed and said a staggered approach was used for the meetings. He did say that the newspaper would not be rewritten.

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

“The fine-grained details of how the concerns were addressed would be submitted to Umalusi for consideration at the end of the marking process,” Lepota said.

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SAOU teachers’ union CEO Chris Klopper said they would not rewrite the paper.

“It is either omitted from the total number of points or an adjusted figure. It is not a matter of rewriting the article, but only deciding on the specific question.

“It’s an unfortunate issue. It’s something that should have been picked up during the many phases of moderation and many people have scanned this particular document.

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

Professional Educators’ Union general secretary Ben Machipi said discussion of the memorandum would be the deciding factor.

He added: “If this happens, and it’s clear that the question hasn’t been taught to students, then they all get grades. If it’s just a problem that affects some students, it will be perceived as if these students weren’t then did. answer the question.”

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

“Students will not be put at a disadvantage if the fault lies with the examiner. With the minister saying the outcome will be heard in January, it just means it will wait for a memo discussion where a fair decision will be made,” he added .