Diverse opinions on matric chemistry paper


The second physical science paper that matric learners wrote on Monday provoked quite diverse opinions, and even gave rise to allegations that there were errors in the paper.

The Solidarity School Support Center (SOS) says science teachers were divided about the question paper and how matric learners experienced it.

One teacher believes that the paper was “well balanced” and that learners felt that previous papers were more difficult.

Another teacher again remarked that it was a difficult paper and that learners who have an eye for distinctions in this subject are worried about how they will do.

“There were several questions that were asked strangely, and learners would have to have a lot of insight to be able to answer them,” says one of the teachers.

“There were enough easier questions for learners to get an average mark, but those who want distinctions complained that they were unsure about a few questions because they had not seen them in any other papers.

“That’s why I believe that only learners with good insight will get distinctions.”

Stephan Ehlers, a matric student at Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (AHS) in Pretoria, says that there were also “definitive errors” in the question paper.

According to Ehlers, he noticed in question two and question four that there were mistakes and that it bothered him a little.

“The paper was challenging throughout, but the combination of mistakes and difficult questions left me feeling uncomfortable,” he says.

A matric student from Garsfontein High School also described the paper as difficult.

Hendrik Kruger says that there were a number of questions that he did not recognize at all, and moreover they were difficult. Nevertheless, he had enough time to complete paper.

Science teachers who spoke to RNews say there was only enough time to complete the three-hour paper for those who knew their work well.

“Stronger candidates were able to finish writing in time, which meant that learners who were generally weaker could not go back to questions they had skipped, and time ran out.”

This chemistry paper consisted of 150 marks. The first science paper was about physics and was written last week.

According to teachers, the first science paper was “well balanced” and the “cognitive distribution fell within the requirements”.

“There were innovative and new questions in the paper that challenged learners, but at the same time familiar scenarios provided confidence. It was a good balance.”

The matrics continue with their National Senior Certificate examination tomorrow (Tuesday) when they sit the first geography paper.