SA Journal of Education, Vol 40, No 1 (2020)

The alignment of the Grade 12 physics examination with the CAPS curriculum: (November 2014–March 2018)

Nishaal Bhaw, Jeanne Kriek


The South African Department of Education has attributed the poor pass rates in Grade 12 Physical Sciences to the learners’ lack of practical work and the inability of learners to solve problems by integrating their knowledge from different topics in Physical Sciences. A possible reason for this could be a disjointed alignment between the curriculum and the examinations. The study reported on in this article focused on the alignment between the curriculum and the examination by analysing the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document, the Examinations Guidelines documents, and the final and supplementary examinations of Paper 1 (P1) for Grade 12 Physical Sciences. We used the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum method, which incorporates a document analysis of CAPS and P1 using Bloom’s taxonomy as a classification tool for the 4 physics topics and the 4 levels of cognitive demand. We found a balance of representation of 67%; a cognitive complexity of 80%; and an average Porter’s alignment index of 0.76 between the CAPS and P1, all of which indicates a disjointed CAPS–P1 alignment. We recommend that the CAPS–P1 alignment be reconsidered.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Nishaal Bhaw -
Jeanne Kriek -

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