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Clarity on National Benchmark Tests (NBT) and National Senior Certificate

In 2009 and 2010 the University of the Witwatersrand participated in the National Benchmarking Tests following the introduction of the new NSC written for the first time at the end of 2008.

This pilot project (National Benchmark Tests Project) was commissioned in 2005 by Higher Education South Africa (HESA), with the following four objectives:

  • To assess entry-level academic and quantitative literacy and mathematics proficiency of students;
  • To assess the relationship between higher education entry level requirements and school-level exit outcomes;
  • To provide a service to HE institutions requiring additional information to assist in placement of students in appropriate curricular routes; and
  • To assist with curriculum development, particularly in relation to foundation courses

All registered first year students were required to write the tests, N.B. Wits University did not use the results for admission purposes.

It has come to our attention that some Universities are requiring their applicants to write the NBT as a condition for admission. This is not the case at Wits as we have found from the first intake who participated in the pilot NBT that our own admission rating system, based on the NSC results, is a sufficient indicator of suitability for admission.

Aside for study in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Wits does not require applicants to write the NBT in order to be considered for admission to our degree programmes. In the case of degree programmes in the Faculty of Health Sciences, applicants are still required to write the NBT as part of the Health Science Consortium agreement which Universities in South Africa have been running for the last three years.

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