Durban – Matric pupils, who complained that there was a problem with a question on Maths Paper 2 which was written last week, say the exam papers should be properly checked before they are released for the examinations.
An apparent error in Maths Paper 2 has sparked an outcry as teachers and pupils allege something was wrong with question 5, which was a trigonometry question for seven marks.
Sifiso Kubeka, a maths teacher in one of the top-performing schools in KwaZulu-
Natal, Menzi High School in uMlazi, said he also found there was something wrong with the question.
“Generally, the trigonometry question is easy. But many pupils were complaining, in fact all of them came to me about the question. But I heard that Umalusi will do something about it. I am not sure if it will be removed but I hope they look at it,” said Kubeka.
A matric pupil from Menzi, Siyabonga Mchunu, said the papers should be thoroughly moderated before the exams.
“The big problem was it was the first question of question 5. The trig ratio was not supposed to be negative on the first quadrant, that was wrong.
“I sat wondering if I was the only one seeing this, so I spent a lot of time on that question. It would be better for the paper to get properly checked by moderators, or they should first write it themselves to see if everything is fine, because now it has caused an inconvenience,” said Mchunu.
Another pupil from Menzi, Nhlanhla Mngadi, said the error had set him back during the paper.
“This was an error, something with basic rules was wrong. Unfortunately, this affected me a lot, because I made a mistake trying to solve the question and I ended up wasting time.
“This affected many people because you would not expect that kind of error, you would think everything on the paper is right,” Mngadi said.
He agreed that the papers should be checked.
“People who are knowledgeable about maths should check it so it can be assured that we are writing something that is correct.”
Vishnu Naidoo, chairperson of the Foundation for English, Mathematics, Science Sports and Innovation of South Africa, said it was a blatant error and pupils should all get the full marks.
“The Mathematics Paper 2 is a very poorly constructed paper. There is no doubt there is an error with question 5.1.
“Full marks must be awarded to every learner. This is normally what happens,” Naidoo said.
Naidoo also said he had come across another error in the same paper and said errors like these have been happening for far too long and those responsible were gambling with pupils’ careers.
Umalusi spokesperson Biki Lepota said during marking if it is found that there was an error, the section that was erroneous would be scrapped.
“The issue of excluding the section that is said to be erroneous will be discussed by chief moderators during marking standardisation decisions.
“We also look at the number of complaints by pupils if indeed there was an error, but as I said, the decision has not yet been made but the panel will make the decision.”