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Improving the effective administration of marking processes during the NSC Examinations

The sustainability of quality marking in all marking centres across the nine provinces, is achieved through a joint effort between the DBE and PEDs. According to Ms Pricilla Ogunbanjo, Director for Public Examinations and Assessment, the marking of the 145 NSC question papers will be administered by the DBE, whilst the non-official languages will be marked by the Independent Examination Board (IEB).  “In the main, the marking of scripts is done by provinces, except for some small enrolment subjects which are centrally marked by the DBE. One such subject is South African Sign Language Home Language (SASLHL), which is being offered as one of the NSC key subjects for the second time. Prior to the commencement of marking, national Marking Standardisation Meetings (MSM) are conducted. The marking standardisation process ensures reliable and valid marking of all candidates’ scripts.”

“In preparation for the national MSM, and immediately after each paper is written, the provincial Chief Marker (CM) and Internal Moderator (IM) conduct pre-marking of a sample of scripts. They hold consultative meetings with teachers or subject specialists to discuss the standard of the question paper and the candidates’ responses gauged from the pre-marking. A week after the paper is written, the provincial CMs and IMs attend a two-day National Marking Standardisation Meeting convened at the DBE. Day one is dedicated to the standardisation of the marking guideline so that all relevant responses are discussed by provinces. Day two is for the training and authorisation of the CM and IM.  A pre-meeting between Curriculum specialists, the panel of examiners and Umalusi moderators precedes each marking standardisation meeting. At the pre-meeting a preliminary review of the question paper and marking guidelines is conducted in preparation for the MSM.  The MSM provides the opportunity for experts, curriculum specialists, IMs and CMs of all PEDS to interpret and apply the standardised marking guideline and to hone their technical marking skills”.

Tolerance Range (TR) is critical in the marking processes to ensure compliance with the standardised marking guidelines and tolerance range for the paper. “The TR can be described as “the agreed deviation between the markers score and the moderators score”. Generally, only a 2 to 3% deviation between the marker and moderator is tolerated. Where the deviation exceeds this range, then the scripts are returned for remarking. This process ensures that utmost care is taken in the marking of each candidate’s script. The implementation of the TR during marking ensures consistency among markers, across all PEDS, and contributes to the accuracy of marking.

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