Site-based Assessment Irregularity Policy

This document governs all learners enrolled at the Impaq Online School. The parent/legal guardian remains primarily responsible for overseeing the submission of all assessment components.

Apart from the Grade 12 final National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination, all tests, examinations, and practical, formal, and summative assessments for learners in Grades 4 to 12 are provided and facilitated by the Impaq Online School. These assessments are primarily made available through the Optimi Learning Portal (OLP).

As tests, examinations, practical assessment tasks (PATs) and orals form an integral part of a learner’s annual assessment, they should be conducted in a manner that ensures the credibility of a learner’s academic results during and at the end of their education. These must be written under the supervision of the Impaq Online School according to (but not limited to) the rules and guidelines as set forth in this document. These rules and guidelines have been compiled in line with statutory regulations as followed by the assessment bodies; the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI), the Department of Basic Education (DBE), and the Independent Examination Board (IEB), under the accreditation of the qualification authority, Umalusi.

The Impaq Online School Irregularity Policy must be comprehensively studied in conjunction with the Impaq Online School Assessment Policy, as well as the Regulations Pertaining to the Conduct, Administration, and Management of the National Senior Certificate Examination, as outlined by the DBE. Collectively, these documents provide a holistic framework for understanding and addressing irregularities that may arise during the completion of a particular assessment or assessment period. All stakeholders are required to have a comprehensive understanding of these policies, processes, and protocols to ensure that they acknowledge the corrective measures to be followed for the identification, reporting, and resolution of irregularities in the assessment context. This collaborative approach ensures a unified and informed response to any irregularities that may occur, fostering transparency, fairness, and the preservation of the integrity of the assessment process.

1. What constitutes an irregularity?

  • Any deviation from the timetable (the date, start time, and end time as indicated must be strictly adhered to).
  • Any violation of the rules outlined in this document by either the learner or the invigilator is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to, receiving assistance from the invigilator during the test/exam, plagiarism, using Google or any other AI and/or search tools, employing dictionaries, notes, textbooks, learners assisting each other, coaching on question papers before the learner writes the paper, and similar more.
  • Any absenteeism is regarded as an irregularity.
  • Learners in possession of the question paper prior to the specified time.
  • Learners in possession of demarcations or preparation notes based on the test or examination paper.
  • Question papers that have been compromised in the care of the invigilator.
  • Learners writing the wrong test or examination paper.
  • Unauthorised persons entering the test/examination venue during the session.
  • Maladministration that results in any advantage/disadvantage to learners, affects the integrity of the assessment, or negatively impacts the ability of the Impaq Online School to render invigilation services.
  • Submission of completed question papers after the upload time or manual submission deadline has expired.
  • Any disruption caused by a learner during an assessment session where the learner needs to be removed from the session.

2. Types of SBA irregularities

2.1 Irregularities involving learners

This category of irregularities includes:

  • A learner not meeting the minimum requirements for compiling a mark in SBA/PAT/Oral assessment for a subject.
  • A learner who refuses to abide by any or all of the minimum requirements in respect of the compilation of a mark for internal assessment with no valid reason.
  • A learner not meeting the minimum requirements for compiling a mark in SBA/PAT/Oral assessment for a subject.
  • A learner who refuses to abide by any or all of the minimum requirements in respect of the compilation of a mark for internal assessment with no valid reason.
  • A learner who presents work that is not his or her original work. This may take various forms and may include, but is not limited to:
    • Copying verbatim from another learner or source, including AI. Where the teacher/assessor is suspicious and has evidence of sections or the complete assignment being copied verbatim from another source, this will be declared an irregularity.
    • Submitting an assessment that has been completed by another learner, the parent/legal guardian of the learner, or purchased.
    • Reproduction of another learner’s assessment.
    • Work that has been previously presented and for which credits were received, which could either be his or her own effort or that of another individual/source.
  • A learner who acts in any of the following ways during the assessment of an SBA/PAT/oral component under controlled conditions:
    • Creates a disturbance, intimidates others, or behaves in an improper, disorderly manner despite fair warning.
    • Disregards the arrangements or reasonable instructions of the teacher/assessor despite a warning.
    • Continues to disregard assessment regulations despite a warning.
    • A learner making a false statement regarding the authenticity of a particular component of the mark for SBA/PAT/ oral assessments.
    • Any other irregularity related to internal assessment.

2.2 Irregularities involving teachers/tutors/assessors

Irregularities involving educators/tutors/assessors during an assessment may include the following:

  • Misconduct in terms of the compilation, monitoring or moderation of internal assessment.
  • Misconduct by any person involved in any one or all processes regarding the assessment.
  • Misconduct by invigilators officials during the administration, running, management or monitoring of formal assessments.
  • Any action by an outside body or person that may impact adversely in any way on the successful administration, management or monitoring of formal assessments, or compromise the integrity and legitimacy of these assessments.
  • Irregularities in terms of formal assessments based on reports or complaints received from any quarter.
  • Misrepresenting or fraudulently compiling SBA marks without any authentic source of how the marks were generated.
  • Wilfully and intentionally, without a valid reason, failing to satisfy the requirements or excluding one or more of the assessment tasks from the compilation of the final assessment marks.
  • Altering (either decreasing or increasing) a learner’s marks without the approval of the Impaq Assessment department.
  • Wilfully providing assistance that results in an unfair advantage for any learner.
  • Collaborating with a learner who presents the whole or part of the file that is not the learner’s own work.

3. Investigation of SBA irregularities

The Impaq Irregularity Committee is dedicated to upholding fairness and preserving academic integrity. This committee will:

  • Investigate all reported irregularities and impose sanctions in alignment with the SACAI SBA Policy Manual.
  • Ensure that sanctions are implemented consistently across all reported cases.
  • Report any irregularities that cannot be resolved to SACAI.

All irregularities will be recorded on the Irregularity register and indicated in Annexure O as required and provided by SACAI.

The Assessment coordinators, Head of Learning Delivery, Head of Assessment, Head of Client Engagement, Education Specialists, Impaq Online School Principal, Impaq Online School Phase and Grade Leads, moderators (internal or/and external), and Impaq Online School Educators are all involved in the investigation. The committee may call upon any person to appear before the committee to present evidence to carry out the investigation and may scrutinise or take possession of any document, article or any other piece of evidence that may facilitate the investigation.

If the persons involved are found guilty of the irregularity, the committee may decide that the specific marks will not be considered. These decisions will be based on the Regulations Pertaining To The Conduct, Administration And Management Of The National Senior Certificate Examination policy document of the Department of Education.

3.1 How are irregularities investigated?

All supporting information and evidence must be submitted to the Impaq Irregularity Committee. To ensure transparency and accountability, committee meetings are recorded and documented for quality assurance and resolution purposes. The relevant moderators are responsible for completing a designated form (refer to Annexure O), and each case undergoes a comprehensive investigation.

3.1.1 Irregularities identified by markers:

Irregularities identified by markers during the parking process include the following:

  • the submitted question paper differs from the one issued by the invigilator;
  • different sets of handwriting are identified in a completed paper;
  • two completed papers, written by two different learners, are submitted with the same examination/student number;
  • crib notes discovered in the completed question paper;
  • clear evidence of copying;
  • evidence of possible assistance by an invigilator;
  • indications that the learner has been allowed to write the paper with the assistance of learning material;
  • answers that are identical or too similar to the memorandum.

3.1.2 Irregularities involving learners:

The following table describes the action to be taken or santion(s) to be imposed regarding irregularities involving learners:

It is your responsibility to check that all the items you receive are in good order. Should you notice that an item has been damaged, please notify us within seven (7) business days by sending an email to info@impaq.co.za, clearly stating the student number. Please send photographs as proof of the damage when submitting your complaint. One of our consultants will contact you to assist.

Description of irregularity

Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

Description of irregularity

  1. Failure to produce identification documents

Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

  • The learner must be allowed to complete the assessment but must produce the identification document within 24 hours or, alternatively, provide an affidavit.
  • Should the learner fail to produce the identification document or affidavit within 24 hours, he or she will not be allowed to continue with the assessment session.

Description of irregularity

  1. Incorrect or no student number/
    examination number provided

Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

  • The assessment body must use all available means to establish the
    correct examination/student number, and this number must then
    be verified with the Impaq Online School or the learner concerned.

Description of irregularity

  1. Late arrival

Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

Late arrival for online assessment sessions:

  • Learners must not be admitted to the assessment session should they log in after the writing time has commenced.

Late arrival for in-person assessment sessions at an examination centre:

  • Learners must not be admitted to the assessment session should they arrive after the first hour of the commencement of the session.
  • A learner who arrives within the first hour of the commencement of the session must be allowed to complete the assessment, but will not be allowed any additional writing time.

Description of irregularity

  1. The completed assessment is missing

Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

  • After all possible steps to locate the missing assessment have been exhausted and an investigation conducted, a report in this regard must be submitted to the Department of Basic Education, which will apply to Umalusi on behalf the learner. Based on the report, Umalusi will officially declare the assessment as missing and request the assessment body to determine a calculated mark in accordance with Umalusi guidelines. The final calculated marks must be submitted to Umalusi for approval.
  • Assessments lost due to the negligence of an official constitute an act of misconduct and will be dealt with in terms of the Employment of Educators’ Act, 1998 (Act No. 76 of 1998), or other appropriate measures.

    Description of irregularity

    1. A. Writing on an incorrect grade

    Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

    • If the action was unintentional or the result of misinterpretation, the
      learner’s mark must be converted as indicated in the Umalusi guidelines.
    • If the action was intentional or deliberate, the learner’s results must be declared null and void.

      Description of irregularity

      1. Learners found in possession of unauthorised material during the assessment session

      Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

      • The learner’s results for the assessment must be declared null and void.
      • The learner may be banned, depending on the circumstances and severity of the case, from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/ examinations.

        Description of irregularity

        1. Learners found in possession of an unauthorised electronic device during the assessment session

        Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

        • The learner’s results for the assessment must be declared null and void.
        • The learner may be banned, depending on the circumstances and severity of the case, from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/ examinations.

          Description of irregularity

          1. Learner caught copying or obtaining help from a fellow learner

          Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

          • The results of the learner caught copying must be declared null and void for that examination question paper.
          • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.
          • If there is evidence of collusion, the learner offering the assistance must also be sanctioned, as indicated above.

            Description of irregularity

            1. Learner assisting another learner during the assessment session.

            Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

            • The learner’s results must be declared null and void.
            • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

              Description of irregularity

              1. Presentation of fraudulent identification or an imposter

              Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

              • The learner’s results must be declared null and void.
              • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.
              • In addition, this matter must be reported to the SAPS.

                Description of irregularity

                1. An invigilator, teacher, principal or official providing assistance to a learner

                Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                • In the event of the learner being found guilty, the learner’s results must be declared null and void.
                • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.
                • In the case of the invigilator, teacher or principal, it must be regarded as an act of misconduct. The official must be suspended immediately from all assessment-related work and be dealt with in terms of the relevant legislation.
                • This must also be reported to SAPS.
                • The individual may not act as an invigilator again.

                  Description of irregularity

                  1. Differing sets of handwriting

                  Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                  • The learner’s results must be declared null and void.
                  • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

                    Description of irregularity

                    1. Two completed question papers with the same examination or student number

                    Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                    • If the act was unintentional, the examination or student numbers must be corrected, and the results of the learners concerned must be released.
                    • If the action was intentional or deliberate, the results of the guilty learners must be declared null and void.
                    • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

                      Description of irregularity

                      1. Crib notes discovered

                      Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                      • The learner’s results must be declared null and void.
                      • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

                        Description of irregularity

                        1. Late submission

                        Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                        • The answer script must be marked as normal, pending the outcome of the investigation.
                        • In the event of the learner being found guilty, the learner’s results must be declared null and void.
                        • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

                          Description of irregularity

                          1. Submission of someone else’s work

                          Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                          • The learner’s results must be declared null and void.
                          • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.
                          • If there is evidence of collusion, the learner/individual offering the assistance must also be sanctioned as indicated above.

                            Description of irregularity

                            1. Leaked/stolen question paper (a paper to which a learner had access, e.g., a copy of the question paper, a part of it, or a transcript that resembles the question paper)

                            Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                            • This must be regarded as a criminal case and be referred to the SAPS.
                            • In the event that it can be proven that specific learners have stolen a question paper prior to it being written, the guilty learners must be barred from writing the assessment for a period of three (3) to five (5) years, from the date of the offence.
                            • The results obtained for the subject should be declared null and void.
                            • In the case of a leaked examination question paper (NSC), the Director- General: Basic Education must, in conjunction with Umalusi and the relevant Head of the assessment body, decide what action should be taken to ensure the credibility of the examination.
                            • In the case of a leaked examination question paper (Grades 4 – 12), the relevant Head of the assessment body and the head of Assessments at Impaq must decide what action should be taken to ensure the credibility of the assessment.

                              Description of irregularity

                              1. Bribery or attempted bribery

                              Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                              • This must be regarded as a criminal case and be referred to the SAPS.
                              • In the event where the learner is found guilty, the learner must be barred from writing the assessment for a period of three (3) to five (5) years, fromthe date of the offence.
                              • In the event that a teacher or a departmental official is involved, this must be regarded as an act of misconduct and must be dealt with in terms of the relevant legislation.

                                Description of irregularity

                                1. Creating a disturbance, intimidation, disorderly conduct, or disregarding the arrangements and/or the reasonable instructions of the invigilator

                                Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                                • The learner must be warned, and if he or she persists with the behaviour, the learner must be removed from the assessment session.
                                • The learner then forfeits the opportunity to complete that specific assessment.
                                • Where the learner has commenced with the assessment, the marks attained will be declared null and void.
                                • The learner retains the marks awarded for the other components in the subject, and the results are released as such. Criminal charges may be instituted.

                                  Description of irregularity

                                  1. Irregularities pertaining to an eighth and/or ninth subject

                                  Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                                  • Where a learner is irregular in any component of the subject, the result for the subject will be declared null and void, and the learner must redo the entire subject. The learner will receive the results for the subjects where there is no irregularity and will not receive the overall result until the period of the sanction has expired and the learner satisfies the minimum requirements for the National Senior Certificate.
                                  • Where a learner is irregular in the eighth or ninth subject, the learner will receive the subject results in the subjects where there is no irregularity. The learner will not receive the overall result relating to the qualification.

                                    Description of irregularity

                                    1. Learner did not turn/switch on their camera and/or microphone even after prompted by the invigilator

                                    Action to be taken/applicable sanctions

                                    • First offence: the learner will receive an official warning. Communication will be sent directly to the guardian explaining the impact of future misconduct in this regard.
                                    • Second offence: the results of the guilty learners must be declared null and void.
                                    • The learner may be banned from a minimum of one and a maximum of three subsequent assessment sessions, excluding the supplementary tests/examinations.

                                      3.2 Communication

                                      The following communication pillars outline how the Impaq Online School will communicate any findings regarding an irregularity:

                                      • Confidentiality and privacy: All communication related to irregularities will be treated with the utmost confidentiality in accordance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). Information regarding the investigation, findings, and consequences will only be disclosed to the irregularity committee, those directly involved in the investigation and resolution process, as well as the learner and their parent/legal guardian.
                                      • Timely notification: Upon the completion of the investigation and determination of the outcome, the guardian of the learner in question will be notified of the findings within a reasonable timeframe.
                                      • Clarity of charges and evidence: Communication to the involved party will be clear and comprehensive, outlining the specific charges and facts that led to the finding of an irregularity. This approach ensures that the individual fully comprehends the situation and can provide an appropriate response.
                                      • Opportunity for response: The individual involved shall be given a fair opportunity to respond to the findings and present any additional information or mitigating circumstances that may not have been considered during the investigation.
                                      • Transparent consequences: A clear explanation of the consequences resulting from the irregularity finding(s) will be provided to the guilty party. This includes disciplinary actions, if applicable, and any necessary steps for remediation or improvement.
                                      • Consistent communication: All communication regarding the findings will be consistent, documented, and appropriately stored as per organisational policies. This ensures transparency and a record for future reference.

                                      By collectively adhering to the principles outlined in this policy, we aim to create an environment where learners feel empowered to learn and grow, all while upholding the core tenets of honesty and integrity. As we continue to strive for excellence, your cooperation in maintaining the integrity of assessments is not only appreciated but crucial to the collective success of our learning community.