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Umalusi gives quality assurance of the 2020 NSC Examinations

The Covid-19 pandemic makes the Class of 2020 a unique cohort as the pandemic has proven to be a game changer in terms of how business processes in respect of quality assurance is conducted within the Education Sector. The National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations will be taking place from 5 November to 15 December 2020.

Dr Mafu Rakumetsi, Umalusi CEO, gave the assurance that Umalusi will remain sensitive to the needs of the Class of 2020. “As a Quality Council, we would be abdicating our responsibility if we allow changes to be made in the quality and content of question papers. Umalusi does not advocate for the downgrading or trimming down of the quality of examinations. Umalusi has been in continuous discussions with various assessment bodies regarding possible changes in the school calendar and examination timetables. We are willing to show flexibility in these proposed logistical arrangements by accommodating all parties concerned,” Dr Rakumetsi said during a briefing to the Sector on 31 August 2020.

An adapted risk management approach will be applied, where audits will be carried out remotely. The nine Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) will be required to submit valid evidence for each of the pre-determined key indicators that address the appropriate state of readiness focus areas. Evidence required is to be submitted and verification visits will be conducted where necessary. A monitoring and marking differentiated approach for monitoring of writing and marking is considered and it entails remote monitoring through real-on-time digital means and deployment of contracted monitors.

Onsite monitoring at sampling centres will be conducted under strict Covid-19 protocols enforced by Umalusi. The approach assumes a desktop evaluation of records and evidence against the criteria for the appointment of markers. The databases, spreadsheets and records of all appointed markers from PEDs are compared with Umalusi records of appointed markers from previous years. External moderators will be deployed to marking centres and will spend approximately three days per question paper. Umalusi will, at all times, ensure adherence to the Covid-19 pandemic protocols and regulations, including travel protocols. Essentially, the verification of marking will follow the conventional approach with minor modifications. In conclusion, Umalusi gave the assurance that the system remains trustworthy in terms of accountability, standards and stakeholder satisfaction.

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