South African matric students gear up for mid-year exams on MXit

South African Maths, Physical Science and Life Sciences learners are turning to MXit’s new tutoring and quiz portal, Quizmax, to supplement their exam preparation studies, and it seems to be yielding positive results.

May 24, 2011

In February this year, QuizMax, compiled of a group of South African teachers, teamed up with MXit to help learners navigate the more challenging aspects of these subjects by offering a set of exam-level quizzes that are compliant with the National Examination Guidelines for Grade 12s.

Maths, Physical Science and Life Sciences are some of the most difficult subjects for matric learners to grasp; not only are they difficult in principle, but there are often external challenges like the availability of books or the large number of learners per class, that detract from a successful learning environment.

QuizMax supports learners by offering a suite of free mobile learning tools.

“Over 90 000 quizzes were completed by learners in March and April alone, and the numbers continue to increase.  We believe that QuizMax helps to captivate learners and makes practising model questions in these subjects more fun, especially when coupled with the fact that it’s featured on a platform that is being used by a great proportion of South Africa youth. They like technology, and they love using MXit – a win-win combination for us,” says Ian McDougall, business manager of Learning to the Max, the company that created QuizMax.

QuizMax chose to start with Maths, Physical Science and Life Sciences. “This is because of the critical value these subjects bring to, not only the future of learners, but also to the development of the South African economy as a whole,” says McDougall.

Currently Grade 12 is available, but other grades will be introduced soon.

While students, especially in rural areas, often don’t have access to learning material, over 80%* of them own a mobile phone.

“QuizMax has a real potential to assist the Department of Basic Education to encourage learners that are struggling with Science and Maths to change their perception of the subjects, and this is where we see the most value.  Our partnership with QuizMax fits into our overall vision of creating features and platforms that add real value to the lives of users, and what is more valuable than education?,” says Laura Hallam, head of MXit Cares, a division of MXit that creates platforms for social good.

Besides the more serious objective of the programme, QuizMax also aims to make learning interactive and accessible.

“Our challenge initially was deciding on how to make subjects like Maths, Physical Science and Life Sciences exciting enough for learners to want to engage with, while still being able to help the national education system achieve their mandates.  It quickly became clear that MXit should be our partner and that our format should be fun, challenging and uncompromisingly curriculum-based,” says McDougall.

Although some of the top private schools are using QuizMax, most of the activity is coming from government schools and their learners.  The highest number of quizzes completed in a recent school-based trial was by learners at Simanyene Secondary School in the Western Cape.

Comment from teachers:

John Pym, a teacher from Prestige College says: “It is a really exciting concept and I enjoyed using it in my class.”

Mercy Mxokozeli, HOD for Steve Tshwete Secondary School says: “The learners became very self-motivated, one boy just did QuizMax all the time, and improved from being a very average student to getting 79% in his final exam.”

Comments from learners:

A learner from Steve Tshwete Secondary School says:  “The people, they like using it. It is very cool.  It helped especially with the Mathematics.  It was good for my studies. Every time I do the Physics, I feel like a scientist. They must also do the Geography. Every last day, before the exam, I was just logging in and doing the quizzes. It’s like magic!”

The QuizMax platform is free to learners and allows school teachers to evaluate their learners’ progress.  Teachers can also individually track the quizzes students complete, and how they are progressing.

In order to facilitate the information outreach programme, MXit also recently integrated Wikipedia into its search offering, so that learners would not have to leave the MXit programme to research subjects while they are on the platform.