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WASSCE 2021: Double-track pioneer students excel

BY: Severious Kale-Dery

A seven-year analysis of core subjects data in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) shows a positive trend in student performance.

This is against the A1 to C6 tertiary qualification, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, has said.

In 2015, the aggregate percentage pass (A1-C6) in the core subjects was 40.93; in 2016, it went up 46.91, while in 2017 it was 47.33.

The aggregate pass in the core subjects in 2018 went to 52.17 per cent; in 2019 it hit 62.90 per cent, while in 2020 it was 60 per cent, with the same percentage being recorded in 2021.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the 2021 WASSCE results released yesterday, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said candidates for the "2021 WASSCE are the pioneers of the double-track school calendar introduced in 2018”.

"This points to the fact that the double-track school calendar was a game-changer in allowing more students to have access to free quality senior high school (SHS) education without compromising on quality,” he said.

Double Track

The 2021 WASSCE candidates were the first batch of the double-track programme introduced in 2018.

Prof. Opoku-Amankwa explained that management of the education sector saw the performance of the candidates as a vindication of the double-track programme, “which was criticised as watering down the quality of education in the country.

“The performance of the candidates is an indication that the double-track intervention, which was heavily criticized was not a mistake but a game-changer,” he added.

Release

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) released the provisional results of school candidates who sat for the WASSCE this year.

According to the release, 238,819 candidates, representing 54.08 per cent, scored between A1 and C6 in the English Language, while 238,539 of them, representing 54.11 per cent, scored between A1 and C6 in Mathematics.

For Integrated Science, 289,329 candidates, representing 65.70 per cent, scored between A1 and C6, while for Social Studies, 290,545 candidates, representing 66.03 per cent, scored between grade A1 and C6.

Performance

A statement signed and issued by the Head of the Public Affairs Unit of WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, said, “The provisional results indicate that there were improvements in the performance of candidates at grades Al to C6 in Integrated Science and Social Studies in 2021, as against 2020.”

In 2020, 52.53 per cent of the candidates scored between grade A1 and C6 in Integrated Science, while for Social Studies, 64.31 per cent scored between A1 and C6.

The statement said English Language and Mathematics (Core) recorded a decline in the performance of candidates at grades Al to C6 in 2021, compared to 2020.

In 2020, 57.34 per cent of the candidates scored between A1 and C6 in English Language, while in Mathematics (Core), 65.71 per cent of them scored between A1 and C6.

But in a trend analysis, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said the past four years had been exceptional, with candidates topping 50 per cent plus on average, adding: “Significantly, it is the 2020 and 2021 candidates (free SHS candidates) who attained 60 per cent in aggregate percentage passes in the core subject areas.”

Interventions

The GES Director-General said 2020 and 2021 were the only years in the past seven years when more than 50 per cent of the candidates obtained A1-C6 in all core subjects.

Assigning reasons for the performance of the candidates over the past few years, he said the various interventions rolled out by the government with the introduction of the flagship programme "did the trick".

He listed some of the interventions to include the training of Mathematics and Science teachers, the provision of core textbooks for all students and the training and digitalisation and dissemination of training materials to all schools.

"Others include the delivery of remedial packages to all students and the increase in contact hours," Prof. Opoku-Amankwa added.

Touching on general challenges in recent times, he identified the purported fake leaked papers in the final examinations, saying they destabilised the candidates.

Additionally, he said, the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the initial challenges when schools first reopened were among some of the challenges identified.