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2016 WASSCE performance: Implications for Quality Education

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Introduction

 

The 2016 results of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are out. As usual, the debates on the performance have started and still running.

 

This write-up seeks to dilate on what has been happening as far as the conduct and performance of WASSCE, which is conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), is concerned.

 

Overall Performance of Candidates 

 

A careful analysis of the track records of performance of WASSCE candidates from 2006 to 2016 presents an interesting picture of the way our nation should go if it should continue to live to perform the task of providing quality education to the youth.

 

A candidate is expected to score not more than C6 in six subjects, including English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science and Social Studies, which are popularly referred to as core subjects, and other elective subjects, to qualify for admission to pursue any programme of study at an accredited public tertiary institution.

 

In the year 2006, the overall pass rate of candidates presented for the examination stood at 12.5%; 10.6% was recorded in 2007 as 2008 and 2009 registered 13% and 15% respectively.

 

Tracing up the pass rates, 2013 could boast of 19.2%; 2014 had 28.1% as 2015 and 2016 tallied 20.2% and 24.7% respectively.

 

It is, therefore, evident that there has always been an upward trend in the performance of students considering the huge dose of social intervention packages that the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Government have injected into the educational sector within the period.

 

Performance Analysis of Core Subjects 

 

The performance of students in core subjects at the senior high school level, including English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science is dear not only to the heart of parents and guardians but to Government and all of us as well.

 

It is gratifying to note that though there is still room for improvement, we have not done badly as a nation in helping to improve the performance of our pupils and students in English Language.

 

WAEC has just released this year’s provisional results of WASSCE with the pass rates in English Language being 53.2% as against 49.6% in 2008 with the corresponding failure rates (that is; those who scored F9) being 14.2% in 2008 and 19.2% in 2016.

 

In the area of Mathematics, there is an interesting statistics to appreciate. As 2008 had a pass rate of 26.3%, this year has produced an appreciable figure of 32.8% to reduce their corresponding failure rates from 44.5% to 38.1%.    

 

On Integrated Science, 26.8% pass rate was chalked in 2008 with about 30.3% having failed to make it in that year as this year has been able to produce a pass score of 48.5% with just a corresponding failure rate of 18.1%.

 

Combating Examination Malpractices

 

Significant strides have been made in fighting examination malpractices that have hit our educational system over the years, including collusion, cheating and impersonation of candidates.

 

There are several factors that influence education service delivery of which the nature and form of educational assessment and evaluation administered to learners is a part. This year, WAEC did introduce the Item Differentia Profile (IDP), a software for detecting cheating in Objective tests, which hitherto happened unnoticed.

 

With the aid of the software, 2,293 candidates were identified to have cheated in English Language, Mathematics and Integrated Science which called for the cancellation of the affected subjects.

 

If education service should be seen to be holistic and of quality, it must abhor and punish all forms of malpractice. Quality assurance in the process of education service delivery, including examination is, therefore, necessary and must be maintained at all times.

 

On that score, this write-up commends all and sundry, especially WAEC for having identified some 1,576 candidates whose subject results have been cancelled, 598 candidates having their entire results cancelled with about 13 others barred from taking any of the Council’s examinations for two years mainly on the grounds of impersonation during this year’s examinations.

 

This piece believes that the sanctions would serve as a deterrent not only to future candidates but would also contribute to the maintenance of discipline and sanity within the supply chain of the educational services. 

 

 

Interventions made so far

 

Government, with the support of MOE, GES and other stakeholders, has mounted series of intervention measures to help churn out quality educational services to pupils and students.

 

Under the Special Science Education Project, which started from the 2013/2014 academic year, over 300 selected senior high schools across the country have so far benefited from the supply of equipment in science and Information Communication Technology (ICT).

 

The same Project also prides itself with the training of over 400 teachers made up of 300 science teachers and 100 laboratory technicians and their assistants from over 100 senior high schools in the country.

 

The Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) could not have been left out in the success story of promoting quality education. As we speak, close to 2,000 teachers from over 125 senior high schools have been given special training in mathematics and science so as to make them much more effective than they have been.

 

All these and others are identified to have contributed greatly to the level that our pre-tertiary education system has reached now and there is the need for all of us to continue to help in producing the best for mother Ghana.

 

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

 


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