An analysis of the physical science results in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the 2008 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinination.
This study examined the performance of the first cohort of learners writing Physical Science in the National Senior Certificate examinations. The critical question that the researcher addressed was: How can the results produced in Physical Science in the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the 2008 NSC examination be used to give an understanding of the academic performance of learners? Using the mixed method approach, two data cohorts, namely the results produced by learners in Physical Science and the interview data, were subjected to analysis through the lens of phenomenology and semiotics. Findings of the study reveal that the education system still carries with it the inequalities of the past, with quality Physical Science to a few learners who were fortunate enough to attend privileged schools, identified by their high quintile ranking (5), in the predominately urban areas. The results of learners in poor, predominately rural schools, ranked quintile 1 and quintile 2, reveal that the “cycle of mediocrity” (Khan, 1995, p.128) still prevails.