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2016 WASSCE Performance - An Improving Trend




The 2016 results of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are out and generating discussion.


This write-up seeks to put the 2016 WASSCE performance in perspective and provide a brief assessment of the performance over the past ten years.


Overall Performance of Candidates (2006-2016)


In order to qualify to pursue a degree programme at an accredited public tertiary institution, a candidate is expected to score A1 to C6 in six subjects: English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and/or Social Studies, which are popularly referred to as core subjects, and three other elective subjects.


A summary of WASSCE results (2006 to 2016) indicating the percentage of candidates who scored A1 to C6 in the aforementioned six subjects is presented in the bar chart below.



Analysis of the trend indicates that since the WASSCE started in 2006, the years 2006 and 2007 recorded the worst performance of 12.5% and 10.6% respectively. Since then, there has been a significant improvement in the trend with 2012 recording the highest performance of 31.2%. The most recent WASSCE in 2016 recorded 24.7%.


Analysis of Performance by Subject Over the Past Ten Years


Analysis of performance by subject over the past ten years indicates that the lowest performance in English Language of candidates obtaining A1 to C6 was recorded in 2006 and 2007 with 35.5% and 29.0% respectively. In contrast, 2011 to 2013 recorded the highest performance at 75.9%, 66.9% and 65.7% respectively, while 2016 recorded 53.2%.


In Integrated Science, the highest performance of 55.3% of candidates achieving A1 to C6 was recorded in 2012, followed by 48.5% in 2016. In 2008, 26.8% of candidates achieved A1 to C6.


In Core Mathematics, the highest performance of 49.4% of the proportion of candidates who obtained grades between A1 to C6 was recorded in 2012 followed by 43.8% in 2011. The 2016 performance of 38.2% was higher than the performance in 2006, 2007 and 2008 at 32.2%, 25.8% and 26.3% respectively.


Proportion of Students Obtaining F9 in three Core Subjects


The failure rates (F9) continue to pose a worrying trend to education authorities as indicated in the table below. This trend is a clear indication that more work is required to ensure that the failure rate is minimized in these core subjects.





Core Mathematics



Integrated Science








Interventions made so far


Over the past four years, Government has intensified measures to improve management and administration of education service delivery, access, equity and quality, especially to increase performance at the secondary level. These measures include:


  • Continuous training of Mathematics and Science teachers, especially in low-performing SHS

  • Engaging leadership in 500 SHS institutions

  • Training leadership of 125 low-performing SHS in management practices

  • Resourcing Science laboratories in 300 SHS with modern equipment

  • Procurement and distribution of 2,549,647 dictionaries to Primary and Junior High Schools across the country to help address the challenge with English language

  • Ongoing procurement of textbooks in Core Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and English for SHS students

  • Recruitment of 2,400 Mathematics, Science, English and Geography teachers

  • Introducing Item Differentia Profile (IDP), a software for detecting cheating in Objective tests to combat examination malpractice

  • Providing ICT hardware, software and content for 565 SHS under the eLearning, eTransform and Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP)

  • Procurement and distribution of 300 buses and 200 pick-ups to educational institutions, especially at the second cycle level

  • Rehabilitation and expansion of facilities in secondary schools

  • Provision of over 5,000 scholarships under the SEIP

  • Introduction of progressively free SHS as a way to reduce the cost barriers to education

  • Construction of Community Day SHS




The 2016 WASSCE performance is an indication that the investments made and the measures put in place by the Government in secondary education is beginning to yield results. This is indicated by the proportion of candidates achieving A1 to C6 in the four core subjects captured in the table below:



Integrated Science

Core Mathematics


Social Studies

















These results notwithstanding, a lot more still needs to be done by Government, teachers, students, and all stakeholders in education working together.



The writers are with the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service

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