NEWS & ANALYSIS

Update on matric group copying investigation - DBE

Dept says results of 14 centres in ECape remain blocked and 20 in KZN

STATEMENT ON THE INVESTIGATION INTO EXAMINATION IRREGULARITIES IN KWAZULU-NATAL AND EASTERN CAPE

Irregularities were identified by DBE, Umalusi and the Provincial Education Departments during the writing (in October November 2014 and marking process (in December 2014). Whistle blowers also alerted the DBE of possible irregularities at certain schools. As a proactive measure, the Provincial Education Departments adopted a three pronged approach to invigilation; total administration, resident monitor, roving monitor.

DBE also deployed monitors to the provinces, focusing on each district. In the case of KZN a monitor per district was allocated. During the marking process, the DBE added an investigative audit component to the quality assurance process. During the investigative audit at marking centres, centres that were suspected of irregularities were given special attention.

In KZN a total of 38 centres were identified as showing some form of an irregularity emanating from the marking audit. In the case of the EC, a total of 19 centres were identified after the marking audit. A total of 58 centres were initially implicated.

Based on the suspicion of copying, DBE deployed a team of subject specialists to conduct a more detailed investigative audit of the scripts in seven selected subjects, in the centres identified. Umalusi subject specialists were also involved in the audit. Based on the outcome of the audit, the centres were blocked.

A total of 20 centres in KZN and 14 centres were finally blocked based on the evidence identified in the other subjects. Provincial Education Departments and DBE conducted interviews with the chief invigilators/invigilators and learners.

DBE and Umalusi were represented on each panel. Invigilators and learners were requested to complete a questionnaire which served as a statement. Invigilators were then presented with the evidence and interviewed individually.

Learner interviews were conducted in KZN and EC. Orientation sessions of the panels were held prior to the commencement of the interviews.

Concurrent hearings/interviews were conducted at schools. Interview panel comprised PED, DBE and monitored by Umalusi. Learners were interviewed individually based on a sample and in other cases group interviews were conducted.

Evidence of copying is erratic - limited to specific questions or even sub-questions. Not wide spread across the script.

The practice of alleged copying is also confounded by the isolated and erratic occurrence of these common answers and common wrong answers.

In the light of this it a decision has been taken as follows;

Eastern Cape:

The results of all the 14 centres remain blocked. However, there are two centres where the results in some subjects will be unblocked. In one school the results of 2 candidates out of 80 will be released because the 2 candidates were not implicated. In another school where 13 candidates wrote exams were implicated the results of 8 candidates will be released and 5 blocked because they were implicated.

KwaZulu-Natal:

The results of all the 20 centres remain blocked. However, there are some subjects that will be released in certain centres. It's important to clarify that if, for example, the result for Paper 1 are released but Paper 2 is blocked it means the subject is blocked because the results of subject cannot be split into papers. Therefore the unblocking in those cases might not assist because those involved would still need to work with the investigators to resolve the remainder of the papers or subjects.

In KZN and EC, the chief invigilators, invigilators and the matriculants that are implicated need to be invited to a formal hearing.

Based on the formal hearings the sanction will be determined.

DBE will exercise a more dominant role in all provinces in 2015.

We are working on system improvements to avert similar occurrences in the future. We will provide details on this in due course.

Statement issued by Elijah Mhlanga, Department of Basic Education, January 20 2015

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