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13 September, 2007

Q&As on Grade 11 exam timetable

The following are answers given to questions put by the Cape Argus on the Grade 11 examinations timetable for November 2007.

1. Some schools have voiced concerns over the Grade 11 exam timetable. They say learners will have to write two subjects on certain days. They claim this will be hard for pupils and will impact on results. Will pupils be able to cope with two exams on the same day?

Grade 11 learners will write national examinations over three weeks, from 5 to 26 November.

The exams form part of our preparations for 2008, when Grade 12s will write the National Senior Certificate exams based on the national curriculum for the first time.

The national Grade 11 exams will provide learners with an opportunity to experience of what it will be like to write the NSC exams in 2008.

The national Department of Education (DoE) has combined papers on certain days in such as way as to reduce the possible impact. Learners who have prepared properly should be able to cope.

Learners will write on 14 days. Five of the days will have two exams, during a morning session starting at 08h30, and an afternoon session starting at 13h00. Learners will write single papers on the remaining nine days.

Three of the days featuring two exams include a language paper in one session and a content paper in the other. Learners will write two Geography papers on Friday, 16 November.

Learners writing Agricultural Sciences Paper 2 will also write Maths Paper 3 on the same day, on Thursday, 22 November. Maths Paper 3 is an optional paper, which does not form part of the final mark for Maths for Grade 11.

2. Why has the exam timetable been set up in such a manner that pupils will have to write two subjects on certain days?

The timetable allows as much time as possible for teaching and learning. The DoE has also taken Senior Certificate exams into account. Most schools cannot accommodate Grade 11 and 12 learners for their exams at the same time. Grade 11 Maths exams will therefore take place in the afternoons.

3. Teachers claim the exams end late and they will not have enough time to complete all the necessary marking. Can you please respond to this?

The timetable provides sufficient time for marking. The exams start on 5 November. Teachers must complete marking by 29 November. The papers for the subjects written by larger numbers of learners, namely, Business Studies, Life Sciences and Mathematics, will be written earlier in the month.

Learners will write the last exam, Economics, on 26 November. This subject does not have many learners and the teachers involved should be able complete marking by 29 November.

4. Schools claim some pupils are battling with the new curriculum. What interventions are in place specifically for the Grade 11's of this year?

Schools, the WCED and the DoE have been preparing for the introduction of the national curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 for the past five years.

The curriculum focuses on knowledge and skills we need for the 21st century, and is cognitively more demanding than the old curriculum.

Extensive support this year has included pace setters, to assist teachers in completing the curriculum, as well as learning support materials, exemplar question papers, and examination guidelines for certain subjects.

Support for teachers has included teacher orientation workshops, work schedules and lesson plans, and specialist subject training where subjects include new content.



Issued by:
Paddy Attwell
Director: Communication
Western Cape Education Department
Tel: 021 467 2531
Fax: 021 461 3694
Email: pattwell@pgwc.gov.za

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