National Senior Certificate (NSC) in South Africa

The National Senior Certificate or NSC is a high school diploma and is the school-leaving certificate in South Africa. This certificate is commonly known as the matriculation (matric) certificate, however, grade 12 is the matriculation grade. 

Students study at least seven subjects, including two compulsory official South African languages, either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, Life Orientation and three elective subjects. The official pass grade is 40%. The mean mark in any subject is usually about 55.

Life Orientation as Learning Areas

The Life Orientation (LO) comprises of the non-academic skills required in life. It consists of the following parts-
  • World of Work: This part prepares the pupils for the workplace 
  • Health Education: This part covers HIV/AIDS talks, sex education, pregnancy, and so on.
  • Physical Education: This part includes involves physical exercise and training
  • Religious Education: This part focuses on religious education.  The schools in South Africa decide which religion to follow. Students are excused from these classes. 
  • Citizenship and Responsibility: This part makes students aware about their rights and responsibilities as citizens.

Scoring and Results

The official pass grade is 40%. The mean mark in any subject is around 55. The National Senior Certificate is a group certificate and records an aggregate mark.

Level System-

There are 7 levels, starting from 1 to 7.Level 7: 80 - 100% (Outstanding achievement)
Level 6: 70 - 79% (Meritorious achievement)
Level 5: 60 - 69% (Substantial achievement)
Level 4: 50 - 59% (Moderate achievement)
Level 3: 40 - 49% (Adequate achievement)
Level 2: 30 - 39% (Elementary achievement)
Level 1: 0 - 29% (Not achieved - Fail)

Pass Mark

The following levels must be met as a minimum requirement to proceed to the next grade.
  • Home Language: Level 3 (minimum 40%)
  • First Additional Language: Level 2 (minimum 30%)
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy: Level 2 (minimum 30%)
  • Life Orientation: Level 3 (minimum 40%)
  • 2 Subjects (Electives): Level 3 (minimum 40%)
  • Remaining Subject (Elective): Level 2 (minimum 30%)
Life Orientation as Learning Area

Life Orientation (LO) has been introduced into the senior high school phase for the first time as an examination subject. LO is a broad-learning subject that covers non-academic skills needed in life.LO is examined, marked and moderated internally and comprises the following sections: 
  • World of Work, helping learners find guidance in their choice of career and prepare them for the working world
  • Health Education, this sections includes sex education, HIV/Aids talks, pregnancy, etc.
  • Physical Education, involves physical exercise and training, it is done on a separate basis but eventually forms part of LO mark
  • Religious Education, each South African school decides which religion to adhere to (as according to the South African schools act), learners may be exempted from these classes. In practice this means that learners may be exempted from, example, the Bible Studies class, but are compelled to attend the Religious Studies class (which deals with all religions as a study).
  • Citizenship and Responsibility, this section teaches learners about their rights and their duties as citizens. 
Assessment

There are three types of subjects:

General Subjects
  • An end-of-year examination: 75% of the total mark
  • Portfolio (Continuous Assessment): 25% of the total mark

Practical Subjects
  • An end-of-year examination: 50% of the total mark
  • Portfolio (Continuous Assessment): 25% of the total mark
  • Practical component: 25% of the total mark

Language Subjects
  • An end-of-year examination: 50% of the total mark
  • Portfolio (Continuous Assessment): 25% of the total mark
  • Oral Examination: 25% of the total mark
 
Continuous Assessment (CASS) includes all the tests, examinations, tasks, activities, orals and projects done throughout the year. Matric results are usually out of 400 marks.

For more details click here.


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