Persistent complaints about the “poorly constructed” and “difficult” Grade 12 maths paper 1 have been referred to Umalusi’s Assessment Standards Committee of Council for further investigation.

The Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) yesterday confirmed that it had referred a complaint about the Grade 12 maths paper 1 to its committee.

If the council finds the complaints valid; maths marks could be adjusted upwards.

The council carries out the process of standardisation and also statistical moderation of exam results for all qualifications that Umalusi certifies.

maths paper

Umalusi spokesperson Kgaugelo Sekokotla said the complaint was received from a member of the public; and also stemmed from a collective grievance that the Grade 12 maths paper 1, which includes algebra and calculus, was not standardised and was worded in a way that created “unnecessary confusion”.

The Mercury previously reported that parents had raised concerns about both matric maths papers set this year, which were written in October, as they feared they could negatively affect their children’s final results.

The pupils found that the papers had very few similarities to past papers they had used to prepare. Parents found that the issue was not isolated to KwaZulu-Natal, and they learned from their associates in other provinces that this was a nationwide problem.

In response to a question posed by The Mercury on Facebook last month, dozens of parents and some pupils voiced their concerns about the papers.

The chairperson of the Foundation for English; Mathematics; Sciences; Sports and Innovation of South Africa and a former matric examiner, Vishnu Naidoo, said he found problems with maths paper 1.

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“This is the most poorly constructed paper in the history of maths. The paper clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of mathematical concepts.”

He also pointed out that there was no sketching of graphs by the pupils, saying this could have assisted them to earn extra marks.

He said he believed extra marks should be awarded to all pupils who wrote the paper.

“At least 52 marks must be awarded to all learners. Those who don’t speak English as a first language would have found this paper extremely difficult and are seriously compromised as the wording of the questions were confusing.”

KwaZulu-Natal Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said: “The council is still investigating the complaints and adjustments would be made afterwards.”

The Mercury