IEB - Assessment Matters

Full Accreditation Status!
June 2016

Umalusi has granted the IEB full accreditation to assess the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC, AET L4) NQF1 for an indefinite period. This is an important milestone for both the IEB and all its partners in the Adult Education and Training (AET) sector because it demonstrates the high standard of work and the commitment to high quality education and training in the country. The IEB will continue to be the standard bearer in the provision of world-class assessments at this level.

Adult examinations
30 December 2015

The IEB is pleased to announce the release of its results for the November Adult Education examinations for the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) qualification at NQF Level 1.  The IEB conducts 11 NQF Level 1 examinations per year.

1464 candidates wrote the November 2015 examinations across 8 subjects.  These candidates are predominantly adult learners who are fully employed but have been given the opportunity to further their studies at AET level 1-3 and at NQF Level 1.  These are often people who for a wide variety of reasons, were not afforded an opportunity to complete formal schooling with a recognised qualification.  A number of employers provide such learners with an opportunity to study towards a recognised qualification. 

“One of the most heartening parts of our work is to witness the happiness of people when they achieve a pass in these examinations.  The IEB congratulates all the successful learners on their achievements and encourages those who were not successful, not to give up and to make the effort to try again next year,” says Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB.

IEB National Senior Certificate 2015
30 December 2015

10 212 full time and 563 part time candidates from 200 schools across Southern Africa wrote the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations in October and November 2015.

This year saw an increase of 236 additional learners that wrote the IEB examination, compared with 9976 who wrote the examination in 2014. This increase is largely due to learners from 8 new institutions that have joined the IEB as well as from increases in learner numbers at existing schools.

The 2015 pass rate is 98.30%, comparable to last year’s pass rate of 98.38%. All candidates that passed achieved a pass that is good enough to enter tertiary study at one of the three levels.

  • 85.26% (compared to 85.45% in 2014) of the cohort achieved entry to degree study.
  • 11.66% (compared to 11.56% in 2014) qualified for entry to diploma study.
  • 1.37% (compared to 1.37% in 2014) achieved entry for study at the Higher Certificate level.

The 2015 IEB examinations have been conducted without any incidents that challenge the integrity of the process or the credibility of the results. This is due to the integrity with which IEB schools approach the examination together with the IEB’s use of a sophisticated electronic locking system which ensures that examination material is kept secure at all times. Umalusi has monitored all aspects of the examination process and has declared the results as fair and valid.

“The IEB is proud of the achievements of the Class of 2015. Learners have again shown that with a commitment to hard work over their 12 years of schooling and supported by a dedicated cohort of teachers and parents, they have achieved the first major milestone in their learning careers,” says Anne Oberholzer, CEO of the IEB.

The achievement of the NSC certificate through an IEB school signifies more than just passing an examination. It indicates that a young person has also developed the skills and attitudes that they require to be successful, not only in further study, but also as constructive citizens and contributors to the economy. They persevere in solving problems, they understand the diverse nature of our world and the challenges it poses for them as citizens of the future. Most importantly they have been exposed to and have been asked to grapple with difficult questions that face humanity at a global level. With the educational experiences they have had, they should feel confident that they are already ahead of the game and more than ready to take on whatever the future brings.

“The 21st century citizen must not only be able to comprehend and empathise – they must have the courage to uphold the ‘common good’. This means challenging any attempt to unfairly discriminate against specific groups in our society or undermine the rights of individuals. It means holding people accountable for their commitments and their opinions. When we talk about educating young people, it means so much more than ensuring the achievement of good results in the NSC examinations or developing flawless technical know-how. It means providing young people with the power to think for themselves, to come to well-thought through opinions that can be defended as moral, rational and socially constructive. In the context of South Africa, in all that we have achieved and in the many challenges ahead and disparities that still exist in our country, this cannot be emphasized enough for our young people,” adds Anne.

Fostering an appreciation for Mathematics

From Grade 10 in 2016 learners wishing to offer Physical Sciences or Accounting at Grade 12 will be required to offer Mathematics. IEB schools have always emphasised the importance of Mathematics as a fundamental discipline of study. Hence it is not surprising that 6598 of IEB full time learners, some 65%, offer Mathematics as a subject. Already 2128 students of the 2535 offering Accounting, also offer Mathematics – that is 87%. Furthermore 4697 students of the 4867 offering Physical Sciences, also offer Mathematics – that is 96.5%. Hence the requirement for Mathematics is unlikely to negatively affect the number of students in IEB schools that offer these subjects.

It is worth noting that in 2015, some 48% of full time IEB learners offered Physical Sciences. The percentage of learners scoring 40% and above in Physical Sciences is 86% and the percentage scoring 40% and above in Mathematics is 88.3%

The closing date for the application for remarks is 8 January 2016 and the results from remarking will be released on 1 February 2016. The closing date for learners who qualify to enroll for the supplementary examination to do so, is 5 February 2016.

Advanced Programmes

“The IEB is conscious that we have some exceptionally talented learners in South Africa. Hence in order to provide our learners with access to a globally competitive examination, the IEB has overseen the development of three Advanced Programme (AP) courses, namely AP Mathematics and AP English and Afrikaans. The IEB conducts the assessment of these courses,” says Anne.

The AP courses are extension courses and hence not part of the NSC. They are available to any learner in South Africa who chooses to participate. Hence learners in both IEB and state schools make use of the opportunity to extend their learning and challenge their own abilities through these programmes. The assessment has been benchmarked by UK NARIC, the UK equivalent of the South African Qualifications Authority, and are considered equivalent to the UK A-levels.

Feedback from students at universities who have offered these courses indicate that they are certainly worthwhile in providing them with a very sound base for further study. This is particularly true in the case of Mathematics. It is not surprising then that there is a marked increase in the number of learners offering the Advanced programme courses from 2109 in 2013 to 2498 learners in 2015. That is an increase of some 18.5%. From a total of 2498 learners offering AP Mathematics, 1208 come from state schools and 1298 from IEB registered schools.

The performance of the class of 2015 has been very pleasing with 87.7% achieving a pass above 40%, compared to 85.2% in 2014. From a total of 596 learners offering AP English, 99.8% achieved a pass mark of 40% or above compared to 96.8% in 2014. All learners offering AP Afrikaans achieved a mark of 40% and above.

Combined Abitur-NSC 2015

The Combined Abitur-NSC is a qualification offered by the German Schools in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. The qualification consists of five subjects assessed by the IEB and seven subjects assessed by the German Education authorities. Through this government-to-government agreement, successful learners in the Combined Abitur-NSC are recognised by German education authorities for entry to German universities and by the South African education authorities for entry to South African universities. Of the 51 candidates who offered this qualification, all passed with entry to degree study. The IEB sees its involvement with this qualification as a means of keeping South African students in touch with global standards and developments.

2015 IEB NSC Update

19 October 2015

Today marks the start of the 2015 National Senior Certificate examinations for 10 228 fulltime candidates and 636 private candidates registered with the Independent Examinations Board (IEB). These candidates will conduct their examinations at 200 examination centres spread across the country. The IEB has over 25 years’ experience in offering school-leaving examinations as well as examinations at NQF Level 1 for adults in industry.

The IEB has set examination papers in 66 NSC subjects, 14 of which are non-official languages. The IEB also sets Advanced Programme examinations in 3 subjects, namely Mathematics, English Home Language and Afrikaans Home Language. These papers are written by learners in IEB as well as state schools. These subjects are rated by UK NARIC (UK National Recognition Information Centre) as equal in demand to A-level courses.

Because of the diverse abilities of learners in any education system, there is a need to provide an opportunity for talented learners to be challenged at the highest level. This is the reason for the IEB’s introduction of the Advanced Programme in Mathematics and language (English and Afrikaans). More importantly to ensure that all South African learners can participate, examinations in these stand-alone courses are available to learners in public as well as independent institutions of learning. Awards in these subjects have been benchmarked by UK NARIC as equivalent to A-levels.

While there have been some assessments during the year to date, the main NSC examination starts on Monday 19 October and will continue until Friday 27 November. Marking is centralised and will commence on 6 December in Johannesburg. The IEB anticipates that results will be released to learners at midnight on 29 December 2015.

Adult Assessments - Enhanced Security for AET NQF 1 Examinations
30 September 2015

The IEB has recently introduced an innovative approach to enhance the security of examination papers during transit and storage within the examination process in the adult education environment. This is in support of the IEB’s vision, to advance quality teaching and learning in South Africa through an assessment process of integrity, innovation and international comparability.

The IEB piloted a combination locking system to protect the examination papers from being opened by any unauthorised individual, or prior to the scheduled examination session. Each centre’s examination papers are packed into a bag and then locked. Each centre is allocated a unique combination that changes per examination session and examination paper. The combination is then sent through to the Chief Invigilator or Centre Manager 45 minutes prior to the examination session to give them time to open the bag. After the examination, the scripts are packed into the same examination bags, which are re-locked before returning them to the IEB.

Our pilot involved 44 centres using 58 keys for the September 2015 NQF 01 Communication in English and Mathematical Literacy Learning Areas. On the day of each examination, the combination to open the bags was sent via SMS to the Chief Invigilators/Centre Managers. As with any new system, there were a few technical glitches, however all the centres managed to open the examination bags on time and within the grace period. The returning of the examination scripts also presented its challenges where some centres did not re-lock the examination bags.

The IEB is well aware that the integrity of an examination relies on the ethical conduct of personnel at the examination centre itself. The introduction of the security bags has nevertheless assisted in the tightening up security of the examination papers during transit and storage

As the IEB continues to roll out the project, we are confident our assessment centres will become familiar with the requirements of the process with the aim of improving security of the NQF level 1 examination.

The Primary School Initiative
10 March 2015

The IEB is proud to present the Primary School Initiative, or psi, designed to complement the IEB’s product offering to independent schools. For the past 25 years, we have focused on delivering quality support in assessment practices to independent high schools and are now extending that level of support to IEB primary schools.

The Primary School Initiative aims to broaden the awareness of the importance of good teaching and assessment practices at the primary school level.  It wishes to establish a strong collaborative network of primary school educators who are fully conversant with local and global trends, developments and standards and assist primary schoolteachers in embedding these in their daily classroom interactions with learners.

To read more, go to psi
IEB - Assessment Matters
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