Understanding the Department's policy on progression and the Multiple Examination Opportunity (MEO)
Posted by Magali von Blottnitz on 11 January 2019 6:40 AM CAT
Understanding the policy framework for progression and the MEO option is essential in order to make sense of the matric results of high schools.
The policy on progression was first introduced in 2013 in the FET band (Grade 10-12) and later extended to other phases. The provision of this policy states that a learner should not spend more than four years in a phase. This implies that if a learner fails a grade for the second time within a 3-Grade phase, such a learner should be progressed to avoid the learner spending more than four years in the phase.
However, in 2016, it was observed that learners that were progressed to Grade 12 were not coping. Therefore additional criteria were introduced to ensure that only learners that have satisfied certain other basic criteria, in addition to the clause regarding the four years in the phase, should be progressed. The additional criteria included that the learner must:
● Pass four of the seven subjects (Life Orientation included);
● Pass the language of learning and teaching (LoLT);
● Attend school on a regular basis; and
● Have complied with school-based assessment (SBA) requirements in all subjects.
Multiple Examination Opportunity (MEO) for progressed learners in NSC exams
The multiple examination opportunity (MEO) option was applied for the first time in the 2016 NSC Examinations to ease the burden on progressed learners. Based on this policy, a progressed learner may not sit for all six subjects in the final November examinations. However, based on his/her performance throughout the Grade 12 year, a progressed learner may sit for the six subjects (Life Orientation excluded) in two sittings. In order to ensure uniformity in the application of the MEO option, a set of criteria was developed in determining which learners should be allowed to exercise the MEO option. These criteria included that the learner:
● Is a progressed learner;
● Has completed all his/her SBA requirements in all seven subjects;
● Has attended school regularly (not absent for more than 20 days without a valid reason);
● Has written the preparatory examination for all subjects; and
● Has failed a minimum of three subjects.
The number of subjects for which an MEO candidate may sit for in the final examination is determined by his/ her performance in the Preparatory Examinations.
What this means for matric pass rates
In the early years after the progression policy was introduced, the number of candidates for the NSC examinations went up dramatically, especially in 2015. However, a lot of these learners were not well prepared for the exams and this explains why many schools have seen their matric pass rate go down around 2014-2015. In subsequent years and specifically around 2017-2018, many schools have been able to improve their matric pass rate very significantly, because the majority of their progressed learners made use of the MEO option, and would only complete their exams in June of the following year. The MEO candidates are therefore not accounted for in the January matric statistics.