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Basic education dept revises promotion requirements for grades 10,11 due to impact of Covid-19


Fumigation takes place in a classroom in preparation of the opening of schools under Level 3 lockdown.

  • Grade 10 and 11 pupils will now write controlled tests based on the work which has been covered.
  • Weighting requirements for the grades have been changed because of the impact Covid-19 has had on teaching and learning.
  • Where subjects have two question papers for assessment, it must now be reduced to one but cover content from both. 

The Department of Basic Education has revised promotion requirements for Grade 10 and 11 pupils due to the impact of Covid-19.

This according to a circular issued by the department’s director-general, Mathanzima Mweli, on 12 September directed to, among others, provincial departments, the South African Qualifications Authority, school governing body associations, the Independent Examinations Board and teachers’ organisations. 

The three-page circular, which News24 has seen, stated the Covid-19 lockdown and intermittent school closures have had an impact on teaching, learning and assessments, resulting in the revision of the promotion requirements for the 2020 schooling year.

The department’s spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, confirmed the document to News24.  

According to the department, paragraph 29 of the policy document, the National Policy on the Programme and Promotion Requirements of the National Curriculum Statements Grades R to 12, made provision for the promotion requirements for grades 10 to 12. 

It said the current 25% weighting for school-based assessments (SBAs) for grades 10 and 11 had, therefore, now increased to 60% and the examination component decreased to 40%. This will now see a weighting of 60:40 compared to the known 25:75.

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“In line with the revised annual teaching plans and programmes of assessment, and the time spent on teaching and learning, the promotion requirements have been revised for the year 2020. 

“The proposed promotion requirements are interim in nature and will only apply in the year 2020,” Mweli wrote. 

The department also instructed that for subjects with practicals, 20% of their exams should be allocated to the practical assessment task.

Instead of the usual full set of examinations, the two grades would now write controlled tests, which should only be set based on the content that would have been taught, the circular read.  

The department said the controlled tests should cover a substantial portion of the curriculum that would have been taught, preferably work covered from all the terms, where it was possible.

The tests should adhere to a prescribed standard in terms of content coverage and must be administered under controlled conditions. 

“All controlled tests must adhere to the protocols for pre- and post-moderation to ensure compliance with standards. 

“Fundamental subjects [languages and mathematics/mathematics literacy] will offer the required number of papers with a reduced duration.”  

Question papers for the tests should also be reduced to one paper, with those for Grade 11 pupils set for two hours and those for Grade 10s set at an hour. 

The content of the tests should, however, where possible, incorporate subject matter that both papers would have covered.

Mweli said the national subject committee would outline the composition of the 60% SBAs and the 40% controlled tests in terms of subject matter contents and marks.


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