Students at the end of secondary schooling will this year not be issued with grades in their SEC certificate but “predicted levels”, as the MATSEC Board tries to ensure the results are fair for all students.

Last week, the government announced that SEC examinations, which should have been held in April and May, will not be held because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Students have a choice of going by the assessment of the board based on the results obtained in their mock examinations or sitting for the SEC exams in September.

In the former, they can obtain one of two levels – 2 or 3 – intended to “predict” the standard they would have achieved had they sat for the SEC exam.

They will be awarded levels for every subject they had planned to sit an exam for in the coming weeks.

…in a manner that is fair to all students

Level 3 signifies that the student is at the level expected after having completed secondary school education. Level 2 indicates the student is “nearly” at the expected level.

The top five grades normally awarded in the SEC exams, namely 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, will be considered as Level 3, while grades 6 and 7 considered as Level 2. The MATSEC Board intends to publish the “predicted levels” on July 15.

Apart from the marks awarded in the mock exams, the MATSEC board will also ask schools to submit the examination papers used, marking schemes and marked scripts of all the subjects for all students. The board will then apply a “standardisation procedure” so as to award a predicted level “in a manner that is fair” to all students.

The level awarded cannot be appealed. Students unhappy with it can opt to sit for the SEC exams in September.

The decision to make use of the mocks had raised concerns in education circles owing to the fact that state and church schools each set their own papers, as opposed to those centrally set for state schools. 

The head of the teachers’ union, Marco Bonnici, said the matter had been discussed during a meeting of the education task force, set up recently to tackle issues related to the outbreak.

“The decision taken by MATSEC to issue a predictive assessment based on levels rather than grades is a safeguard to cater for the variation between one mock exam and another,” he said.

He said the exercise that will be carried out by the board would lead to a “better uniformity” in issuing the predictive assessment level.

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