- MATSEC collects post-examination feedback from candidates.
All 2017 candidates were asked to participate via e-mail and a total of 1,549 replies were gathered. Although this is the third year that such information was collected and analysed, the 2017 research report is the first one to be made available to the public.
- Several measures to improve the running of examination centres were taken by MATSEC in 2017.
Feedback about examination centres and invigilation, which are organised and managed by the Examinations Department, Ministry for Education and Employment, is mostly positive, although it is the one area with most indicated room for improvement. MATSEC has taken several measures, following the feedback in 2016, which has ensured that instructions are read to candidates before every examination and that malpractice (centres, staff, and candidates) is more easily reported. This year, however, more respondents complained about noise levels and traffic congestions.
- Although most candidates were uninformed that MATSEC published a new candidates’ guidebook, those who did use the guidebook reported it to be positive.
Although MATSEC and the Marketing, Communications and Alumni Office at the University of Malta have issued information to the public through various media channels, the majority of respondents (79.3%) remained uninformed that MATSEC published a candidates’ guidebook in 2017. As from the coming exam session, information about access to the guidebook will also be given with the exam timetable. Most of the other respondents were informed either by the school or by following the MATSEC website or social media. About half of those who were informed (48.2%) used the guidebook and, of these, nearly all (96.3%) believe it to be helpful. MATSEC’s candidate guidebook remains freely available on the MATSEC website (um.edu.mt/matsec).
- Most respondents (81.7%) seeking help from MATSEC report it to be helpful.
Similar to 2016, although most respondents (73.8%) did not need to seek help from MATSEC, those who did were satisfied with the response (81.7%). This marks a small increase from the 80.4% reported in the 2016 study. The only group of respondents which was not satisfied with the response was the group which used non-MATSEC official means (e.g. student organisations, school counsellors, petitions).
- Most survey respondents would prefer aural examinations to be conducted using live speakers.
Following the implementation of recorded audio for SEC Arabic, German, and Spanish, this year the same practice was extended to the foreign language subjects at SEC level with the largest number of registrations: Italian and French. Respondents, including those who did not sit for SEC examinations this year, reported audio problems as a reason why aural examinations should be conducted using live speakers. This suggests that respondents’ views were influenced by media reports about lack of audibility during one of the examinations. Others think that using a live speaker would allow candidates with unfair advantages, such as resorting to lip reading or asking the examiner to reduce his/her rate or change his/her accent. Recorded audio, on the other hand, provides equal conditions to all candidates.
- Most respondents had positive views about coursework interviews held at MATSEC.
Several coursework interviews are held as part of every examination session. Feedback collected from respondents who did attend such an interview was mostly positive.
- Most respondents agree with the structure of the Matriculation Certificate, especially the importance given to interdisciplinarity, while disagreeing with the compulsory nature of IM Systems of Knowledge.
Respondents’ views about the structure of the Matriculation Certificate were similar to those obtained through last year’s survey, with most respondents agreeing that importance should be given to subjects from different areas but disagreeing with the compulsory nature of IM Systems of Knowledge. Older candidates were more likely to see value in Systems of Knowledge. Most respondents also suggested that one should be required to obtain a passing grade in all these six subjects.
- The provided Examination Access Arrangements were fair, most respondents believe.
A tenth of survey respondents claimed to have qualified for Examination Access Arrangements offered by MATSEC with the majority of these (82.5%) claiming that the provided arrangements were fair. Complaints from those who did not agree with this statement included not being given the EAA/s they thought they should have qualified for. Each year, many applications are reviewed, one-by-one, by the ACCESS-Disability Support Committee (ADSC). Rather than a one-size-fits-all system, examination access arrangements are available in a variety of sizes, made to order for each qualifying applicant. A number of respondents claimed that different persons aiding them provided different levels of access, and this claim shall be further analysed by MATSEC.