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2013 IT PAT

So another year and another new PAT theme. The 2013 PAT theme is centered around a registration and voting process with possibly a random selection feature.

The wording in the PAT guidelines is “The learner is expected to write a program that could be used to manage one of the following:
• An election process
• A competition to identify a winner

Popular options for this theme will no doubt be programs designed to manage music competitions and sport events. This post is to add some feature ideas to these options.

This theme lends itself to a nice set of Internet related features as well as other external features. Featuring network connectivity is an obvious one but the program could also create a webpage interface allowing users to enter information that is stored in the database. This could be done by generated HTML. A central database is key with the program needing to be well designed in order to manage incoming data from a number of clients.

Another option is to make use of mobile devices in a voting process. This could include special apps written to submit data or be as simple as sending an email with the user’s chosen options for later processing.

A Grade 12 IT PAT must display advanced programming skills, database developement and good graphical user interface design in order to achieve an excellent result. These should always be kept in mind when planning and investigating a proposed software. The theme again lends itself to a database driven application and so care should be taken by learners that they incorporate enough features to attract marks in all sections of the Phase 3 rubric.

Download 2013 PAT

Unpacking the 2012 PAT

The theme presented for the Information Technology Practical Assessment Task (PAT) for 2012 had some learners groaning about a boring theme. There are, however, opportunities for creative programs within the theme if one starts digging a little deeper. In fact many opportunities exist for “advanced” programming if one starts adding notable features.


The learner is expected to write a program that could be used as an information system by the staff and/or visitors at any nature-oriented tourist attraction in South Africa


A topical issue at present is the problem of poaching so there is scope for software which will aid the discovery of poachers so that they can be dealt with. A program could plot on a map, all data of poaching to date in a particular area and attempt to highlight hot spots and times when poaching may occur. The program could notify rangers of possible poaching attempts.

A botanical gardens scenario could see a program displaying images and detailed information of plants within areas of a botanical garden. The program could also include a game for correct guessing of plant types or names making the experience of identifying plants more interesting.

The outdoor nature of the theme also provides the opportunity for a mobile component of the program. With the Java Mobile Development Kit (Java ME) it is just as easy to develop an application for a Java enabled device as it is to create a desktop Java program. An “advanced” program could use the network sockets to connect a mobile version of the application to the desktop application in order to retrieve data and images from the Microsoft Access database.  This idea could be taken to almost any application developed within this scenario.

2012 Grade 12 Practical Assessment Task

The 2012 Grade 12 PAT appeared on the Eastern Cape Exams Website on 29 October at This is the earliest we’ve seen the Information Technology PAT released for the following year which certainly helps in planning for your learners’ projects next year. The PAT is available here.

Update 11/11/11: The DBE has now listed all PATs officially on their website at