Examination may not be the best way of assessing students, as there are many disadvantages that can be identified with their conduct.
It has been said that in order to score high marks, students and even teachers ignore the concepts and focus more on rote learning and revision, which in effect leads to decreased knowledge, as most students forget what they have memorised after a few days.
But examinations have proved to increase knowledge and strengthen the memory. It is also largely an objective way to place learners into different professional and academic areas.
Be that as it may, our children in final year in junior high school, starting from yesterday to Friday, are writing the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) that will place them in senior high, technical and vocational schools in the next academic year.
The importance of the examination to the candidates, their parents and teachers cannot be underestimated.
For the candidates, it is the determinant of their future; for parents, the results will be the outcome of years of educational spending, while for teachers, it is an assessment of their professional output.
It is, therefore, very tempting for some parents, teachers and candidates to resort to cheating to get undue advantage.
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But the Daily Graphic is happy that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) came out a few days ago to assure all that there had been no examination leakage.
This is refreshing, as it is not every parent, teacher or student who will resort to leaked questions. To especially the candidates, we think the assurance by WAEC should encourage them to write the examination in a relaxed manner, knowing that they are not disadvantaged.
We also entreat WAEC to strengthen its monitoring and ensure that the sanctity of the examination is protected. We recall the council’s ban on the use of cellular devices in examination rooms by candidates, invigilators and supervisors alike and think it is a good decision, as there have been reports of some invigilators and supervisors conniving with other elements outside to get solved questions through their mobile phones for onward transmission to candidates.
We hope WAEC will continue to come up with measures that will strengthen security and ensure that its examinations are conducted in a fair environment.
As the over 500,000 candidates write the BECE across the country, the Daily Graphic asks for the cooperation and support of all stakeholders, especially heads of schools, invigilators and supervisors, to manage the examination effectively to avoid any malpractice that may put its outcome in disrepute.
We also strongly advise candidates not to take mobile phones, prepared scripts or foreign materials into the examination halls, while we urge invigilators to demonstrate dedication, commitment and diligence during the conduct of the examination.
What has been the concern of the Daily Graphic over the years is that examinations have not dealt fairly with candidates who may not be well composed on a certain day, since they measure how a student has performed on a particular day.
This makes us reason that it is not very convincing to use a one-off examination in measuring a student’s intelligence and knowledge.
We suggest, therefore, that the country looks at other forms of assessing students that will bring the creativity in them, since we think the concept of continuous assessment has not succeeded in making an informed academic decision on the child.
We wish our BECE candidates the best of luck.