The National Assessment Circular 03 of 2016, entitled, SPECIAL CONDONATION DISPENSATION FOR LEARNERS IN THE SENIOR PHASE (GRADES 7-9), was released on 2 December 2016 after the department received reports from school principals and provincial officials across the country.
“The content of the Circular was foregrounded by a change in the promotion and progression requirements for the Senior Phase introduced in 2014 with the implementation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).
“This change resulted in raising the pass requirement for Home Language to 50% and including Mathematics as a compulsory pass requirement at 40%,” said the department.
This implies that it is compulsory for a learner to pass two languages, one of which is the Home Language and must pass Mathematics, in order to be promoted.
The department said concern has been raised during the academic year from within the sector that the current CAPS promotion requirements need to be reviewed and policy review in this regard is underway.
However, in order not to disadvantage the current cohort of learners, the department said a special condonation dispensation was urgently required to accommodate learners whose promotion to the next grade may be adversely affected by the compulsory requirement of passing Mathematics at level 3 (40%).
“It should be noted that the decision to apply a condonation dispensation in view of the stringent pass requirements, was an administrative decision that had to be made within the limited time available.
“The Circular should only be considered as an interim measure for 2016 and is only applicable for Grades 7, 8 and 9.”
It said the circular does not undermine the policy intention of CAPS on raising the bar in terms of promotion requirements by having taken the bold step of making Mathematics a compulsory promotion/progression requirement.
The department also said the circular does not limit efforts to improve Mathematics attainment.
However, in raising standards there is a need for a gradual transition from the current to the higher envisaged standards hence this policy review that is underway and this interim condonation dispensation.