How accurate is the published pass rate?

Can one make accurate calculations, based on the statistics published by the FSB recently? Many commentators made deductions based on these figures, but showed their own ignorance or bias, rather than objectivity.

One article berated the FSB for excluding those who failed in the total number of those that still have to write. In defence of the FSB one has to point out that it was impossible to do so, as those who wrote before 30/6 obviously still had till the end of September. This distinction had to be made, and was clearly indicated in the descriptive column on the left.

Another objection concerned the pass rate, which was called into question as it did not include those who have yet to write. I am still trying to fathom how one can calculate a pass rate for someone who has not yet written the exam.  As in all matters of this nature, the prophets of doom enjoy the biggest support. I want to be a Harry Potter in this play, and share some positive statistics without using a magic wand.


Let us look at the basic statistics published by the FSB as at 11 April 2012:

  • Key individuals: 9 150 had written, of which 6 734, or 73.60%, passed.
  • Representatives: 63 368 had written, of which 41 318, or 65.20% passed.


In statistics reflecting the position up to November last year, the FSB indicated that, on average, there was a three percent improvement in the pass rate since the beginning of the exams in November 2010.  On page 28 of a presentation published on the FSB website, it is quite evident that the initial stats were quite shocking. On page 28 of this presentation, it appears that the pass rate first exceeded 50% in September last year, but since then, it has increased sharply. The FSB states that the percentage increase was 3% per month on average, and it is quite evident from the graphics that the increase was substantial.


But, let’s get back to the present. Even if one assumes that there was no further increase in the pass rate between November last year and now, the picture does look radically different from what it was in March last year.  That must mean that the actual pass rate since November 2011 to now is substantially higher than the figures quoted above, as these figures included a poor pass rate at the beginning of the exams.

So yes, the statistics are not accurate, but it contains a lot of hope and inspiration for those who want to look on the bright side. The real picture is actually much better than the sceptics would have us believe.

Attitude is a choice. Make yours positive.


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