The Stellenbosch University (SU) Unit for International Credentialing (SU-UIC) has been quality assuring Africa’s first international school-leaving certificate, namely the International Secondary Certificate (ISC), developed by the Independent Examinations Board-International (IEB). The first ISC examinations took place during October and November of 2022. SU-UIC has been responsible for overseeing the quality assurance processes of the examinations.
The SU-UIC Quality Assurance Governance Committee, chaired by SU Prof Hester C. Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, has now approved the release of the results of the IEB ISC examinations administered by the IEB-International.
Universities South Africa (USAf) concluded that international candidates who obtain the qualification with merit or at an advanced level and are offered a place at a South African higher education institution, meet the minimum requirements for admission to degree programmes. The IEB ISC has further been evaluated by UK Ecctis (previously UK NARIC) the institution that represents the United Kingdom in all matters relating to international qualifications. UK Ecctis benchmarked the qualification and concluded that the ISC is comparable to the following reputable qualifications in other countries:
- England, Wales & Northern Ireland’s GCE Advanced Subsidiary (AS) level
- Australia’s Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
- Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education
- The IEB-ISC Further Studies levels are equivalent to UK Advanced (A) levels
The class of 2022 is the first cohort of Grade 12 learners writing the IEB ISC examinations. This cohort followed the IEB NSC curriculum in grades 10 and 11, before transitioning to the IEB ISC curriculum in Grade 12. The ISC examinations were written by 489 candidates at 16 different examination centres situated in Eswatini, Mozambique and Namibia. In carrying out its quality assurance processes, SU- UIC moderated and approved a total of 52 question papers and related assessment documents for 32 subjects. Furthermore, SU-UIC verified the IEB-International’s internal quality assurance processes and has standardised the results. SU’s external quality assurance processes ensure that the examinations are fair, reliable, and valid.
SU evaluated information that the IEB provided regarding the cohort, schools context, curriculum changes, internal moderators’, and markers’ feedback as well as feedback from the examination process. The feedback indicated that the examinations and marking of the examination papers went smoothly. Ms Anne Oberholzer, CEO of IEB, noted the IEB’s excitement about this historic conclusion of the first-ever examinations of the IEB ISC, an international qualification with its roots in Africa.
The examination question papers were of a high quality in 2022. They went through a rigorous moderation process, firstly by IEB before being moderated externally and approved by SU-UIC. The quality of the question papers is regarded as a crucial aspect of the credibility and integrity of the examinations.
A standardisation process followed the marking of the examination papers. The responsible committee interrogated the data from all 32 subjects submitted for standardisation and considered the additional contextual and curriculum information provided. No irregularities were reported during the conduct of the 2022 examinations.
Prof Sizwe Mabizela, chair of the SU-UIC Standardisation Sub-committee and a member of the SU-UIC Quality Assurance Governance Committee, regards standardisation as an important process to ensure the results are consistent from year to year. He further notes that “We want to bring every ounce of integrity to this process and are committed to working cooperatively to ensure quality of assessments is at the appropriate level.”
The SU structures and processes were mindful of the historic nature of the introduction of the first African-based international school-leaving qualification. Furthermore, it observed demands of the learning and teaching of the new curricula associated with the qualification and that these require a transition phase for the complete adaptation by participating schools to a new international qualification.
At the approvals meeting on 21 December 2022, Prof Hester Klopper, the Chair of the SU-UIC Quality Assurance Governance Committee stated the following:
The SU-UIC Quality Assurance Governance Committee has approved the release of the ISC results. The Committee, after studying all the evidence presented by the Independent Examinations Board is convinced that no irregularities were identified or reported which might have compromised the integrity and credibility of the October/November International Secondary Certification (ISC) examinations administered by the IEB. Therefore, the Committee concludes that the examinations were valid, reliable and fair. It commends the IEB for conducting the first ISC examinations successfully. The committee views this as a historic moment and looks forward to many more successful ISC examinations in the future.
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Issued on behalf of: Stellenbosch University Unit for International Credentialing