Could decrease in matric pass rate 'be a good thing'?

An education expert says a decrease in the 2014 matric pass rate could indicate an improvement.

FILE. An education expert says a decrease in the 2014 matric pass rate could indicate an improvement. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - With an expected drop in the matric pass rate, an education expert says the decrease could actually indicate an improvement in the quality of education.

The class of 2014 is the first matric group to write the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), which could see an improved quality of teaching and learning.

But it could also lead to a decrease in last year's grade 12 results.

The pass rate will be unveiled from 5pm today, when Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga addresses the nation this evening.

Researcher Nick Spaul says an increasing pass rate doesn't necessarily point to an improved quality of education.

"It's very difficult to compare the matric results to say that the quality of education is going up or down based on increases or decreases in the pass rate. That's not a fact that's widely appreciated in South Africa, so when the results go out people think that education is improving."

Earlier today, quality assurance council Umalusi said it was analysing results in several matric subjects that have yielded disappointing outcomes for the 2014 academic year.

Despite adjustments being made in several subjects, it's expected that the pass rate will drop by between 3 to 5 percent.

Umalusi says the class of 2014's Mathematics marks were adjusted downward, due to a high number of pupils passing with A symbols.

Despite the high marks at one end of the spectrum, an increasing number of failures have been reported for the subject.

Upward adjustments were also made for Maths Literacy and English First Language to boost results. Despite this adjustment, the failure rate is reported to have increased in both subjects.

It's reported the class of 2014 has achieved the lowest pass rate in Maths Literacy since it was introduced to the curriculum.

Officials say plummeting standards in these key subjects threaten to cause a drop in the overall pass rate.

Meanwhile, education expert, Professor Mary Metcalfe, says the change in curriculum at schools will be one of the major reasons behind an expected drop in the matric pass rate for 2014.

"There are particular subjects that there've also been big changes to the content and it's in in those subjects that the Umalusi press statement tells us there's been a decline in performance, which has affected the overall matric results."

To access your personal results when they are released tomorrow go to EWN's Matric portal.