The National Benchmark Test of quantitative literacy: Does it complement the Grade 12 Mathematical Literacy examination?

  • Natalie le Roux
  • Kabelo Sebolai
Keywords: academic readiness, mathematical literacy, national benchmark tests, national senior certificate examination, quantitative literacy


The National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination in South Africa is a standardised assessment whose main function is to determine whether Grade 12 learners have  mastered subject knowledge at the culmination of their secondary education. Alongside this, the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP) was introduced to develop the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) that are aimed at assessing the academic readiness of first time entry students to South African universities. This article explores the relationship between these two standardised assessments in the domain of  mathematical/quantitative literacy. This is accomplished through a Pearson correlation analysis of 6,363 test scores obtained by Grade 12 learners on the NSC Mathematical Literacy examination and the Quantitative Literacy test of the NBT in 2012. The  results reveal a curvilinear relationship between these two sets of results. This  indicates that the two assessments are related but not identical, and the paper argues that their complementarity suggests the value of using performance information  generated by both for access and placement.

Keywords: academic readiness; mathematical literacy; national benchmark tests; national senior certificate examination; quantitative literacy


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2076-3433
print ISSN: 0256-0100