Grades 10 and 11 exams have been cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19 and pupils will write tests set by schools instead of the provinces, the Department of Basic Education has announced.

The final exams for these two grades will be replaced with controlled tests. This will only apply for 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  As this is an interim intervention, it will not be incorporated in the national policy. These controlled tests should only be set based on content that has been taught, the DBE said in a circular.

The circular that grades 10 and 11 exams be cancelled and substituted by school tests was sent by Mathanzima Mweli on September 12 to provincial departments, school governing body associations, the South African Qualifications Authority, the Independent Examinations Board and teachers’ organisations.

Under normal circumstances, the progression of Grades 10 and 11 to the next grade mostly depended on the results of their final exams. These accounted for 300 out of the 400 marks per subject. The remaining hundred marks were calculated from tests, assignments and projects (school-based assessment or SBA).

 The DBE acknowledges in the circular: “The additional loss of teaching time due to rotational attendance, Covid-19 infections and the additional four-week closure has resulted in a variable completion of the teaching plans.”

Weighting for the exams has been reduced from 75% to 40%. Weighting for the SBA has been increased from 25% to 60%. 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. The department said the controlled tests should cover a considerable part of the curriculum taught, and preferably work explored from all the terms, wherever possible. There will be a standard regarding the coverage of content. Tests must be administered under controlled conditions.

ALL YOUR STUDY MATERIAL: Study material for all grades

Fundamental subjects will offer the required number of papers with a reduced duration. Elective subjects will have the number of papers reduced to one test per subject.

For subjects that involve practicals, 20% of their exams would be allocated to the practical assessment task, according to the department.

Grade 10 papers will be allocated an hour-long time slot. Grade 11 papers will be two hours in duration.

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