Academic grading in South Africa

In South Africa, the grading system used in secondary schools until 2008 (when the Outcomes Based Education or OBE curriculum took over) was as follows:

The OBE system, when in its experimental stages, originally used a scale from 1 - 4 (a pass being a 3 and a '1st class pass' being above 70%), but this system was considered far too coarse and replaced by a scale from 1 to 7.

For the final standard exams, a 'normal pass' is given for an average mark 50%-59%, a pass with merit for 60% - 79%, and a distinction is given or an average of 80% or more.

Most universities follow a model based on the British system. Thus, at the University of Cape Town and the University of South Africa (UNISA), the percentages are calibrated as follows: a 1st class pass is given for 75% and above, a second (division one) for 70 - 74%, a second (division two) for 60%-69%, and a third for 50 - 59%. Any lower than 50% is a fail. The University of the Witwatersrand considers an A to be 75% and above.


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