The Democratic Alliance is demanding an explanation from quality assurer Umalusi for the upward adjustment of marks in 16 subjects of the matric class of 2017.
Umalusi revealed on Friday that of 58 subjects written this year‚ 20 had their marks adjusted – 16 upwards and 4 downwards.
Nomsa Marchesi‚ DA shadow deputy minister of basic education‚ said last year the DA, as well as education experts, had raised the alarm about the number and size of the upward adjustments.
She said while the party was pleased to hear that fewer subjects were adjusted‚ they were concerned that Umalusi has felt the need to block members of parliament 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‚” Marchesi said.
She said marks should be adjusted when an exam paper was significantly more or less difficult than in previous years.
Marchesi said Umalusi and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) have resisted answering questions about the adjustments that are being made to matric marks.
She said the need for continuing upward adjustments suggested there was a very serious problem somewhere in the schooling system that must be identified and addressed‚ particularly as it was a trend over a number of years.
“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‚” Marchesi added.