The MATSEC Examinations Board worked with State, Church, Independent schools, subject experts and other stakeholders to provide a SEC Level to students whose exams were cancelled this May following the COVID-19 pandemic.
As early as last March, the Ministry for Education and Employment published, following wide consultation, a roadmap which plotted the course the country would take in the ensuing months in terms of examinations, entry requirements and other matters. This roadmap proved to be crucial in order to instil certainty and a clear way forward for educators and students alike.
Receiving institutions such as sixth forms, the University of Malta and MCAST have revised their respective entry requirements for the 2020-2021 academic year to support students as they pursue their studies. MATSEC liaised with these institutions in order to set key dates which mark the new examination session and the issuing of results.
Our priority has been to safeguard students’ progression to the next stages in their studies. To assist in achieving this, MATSEC conducted an exercise that allowed it to award a Predicted Level to each student who registered for the Main (May) exam session through their school in each subject studied for which they had registered. The process by which the level was established was rigorous and robust and intended to predict as fairly as possible the level a student would have attained had they sat for the SEC exams in May. MATSEC ensured that the distribution of levels follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students are not disadvantaged.
MATSEC asked all State, Church and Independent schools to submit mock exam papers, marks obtained by each student for each subject, and a sample of marked scripts. Mock examinations were adopted for this exercise because they are generally modelled on the SEC exams and a comparison was possible. Apart from subjects that have a coursework component, MATSEC had no record of how assessment is conducted in each school, and therefore, the mock exams were the only common denominator across all schools.
With the information collected from schools, the calibration exercise conducted by subject experts and the historical dataset from past SEC examinations on individual schools, MATSEC was able to standardise levels across schools. This ensured that as far as possible results are fair, and students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because of schools’ harsher or more generous marking. Due to this standardisation, the SEC level awarded could be different from the level obtained in the Secondary School Certificate and Profile issued by MEDE.
If students, after receiving the Predicted Level results, do not feel their level reflects their performance or still wish to obtain a Grade instead of a Level, they will have the option to sit their exams in September 2020.
‘Private candidates’ who registered for the SEC Main session will not receive a calculated level and have been asked to register and sit SEC exams in September 2020.
Registrations for SEC examinations will open on 17 July 2020.
MATSEC worked intensely on providing the Predicted Level to students by mid-July and we are pleased to announce that students will be receiving the results today. Even though this year’s results are reported in terms of a ‘Level 3 or Level 2 or Not Awarded’ instead of ‘Grades 1 – 7 or U’, the SEC qualification will be indistinguishable from those obtained in previous years.
MATSEC ensured the fairest possible process.
MATSEC would like to take this opportunity to thank State, Church and Independent schools who were fully cooperative in providing the relevant data to make the Predicted Level exercise possible.
Special thanks are due to the subject experts and the MATSEC Support Unit for going beyond their call of duty in these unprecedented times.