n South African Journal of Higher Education - The National Senior Certificate : implications for access to higher education

Volume 23, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



In the light of the uncertainty surrounding the new National Senior Certificate that was written in South African schools for the first time in 2008, this article aims to examine the new Grade 12 National Senior Certificate results quantitatively in the context of the Grade 11 application score for entry into higher education and the Grade 12 Senior Certificate scores of the old curriculum. Ultimately, the article also aims to examine the use of an additional measuring instrument (in conjunction with the National Senior Certificate final matriculation examination) to determine access to higher education. Attention is focused specifically on the Stellenbosch University Access Test. The results showed that grade inflation occurred particularly in the results of the lower performance group. Although the real influence of the National Senior Certificate results on access and throughput rates can only be determined over a longer period, the first results of the National Senior Certificate and the use of the Access Test as benchmarking show that the scores of especially the lower group of achievers could cause first-time entering students to have an unrealistic perception of their own academic ability. This article confirms the increasingly important role of additional measuring instruments in determining students' access to higher education.

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