Detailed analysis of the 2018 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination shows that with the exception of Social Studies there has been a significant drop in the performance of candidates who obtained grade C6 and better.
Performance in the English Language for instance dropped from 52.24 per cent in 2017 to 46.79 in 2018, while that of Mathematics dropped from 41.66 per cent in 2017 as against 38.15 per cent in 2018.
For integrated Science, the performance of the candidates dropped from 52.89 per cent in 2017 to 50.48 per cent in 2018 but for Social Studies the performance jumped from 42.52 per cent in 2017 to 73.25 per cent in 2018.
The Head of National Office (HNO) of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mrs Wendy E. Addy-Lamptey, said this at the Distinction Award ceremony for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates for 2018.
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Ms Wilhermina Opoku, a former student of the Wesley Girls’ High School, currently reading medical science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), was adjudged the Overall Best in the WASSCE and also emerged the Best Candidate for the General Science programme.
Ms Sarpong Brago Afrifa, formerly of Yaa Asantewaa Girls' SHS, Kumasi, currently studying medical science at KNUST, came up as the Second Overall Best student, while Ms Imelda Naa Ayorkor Adjei, also, a former student of Wesley High Girls' School in Cape Coast, who is currently pursuing science at the University of Ghana.
The Overall Best in the General Arts Programme went to Ms Davina Seyram Gbedy, another former student of Wesley Girls' High School who is currently pursuing LLB at the University of Ghana, while the lone gentleman in the midst of the ladies was Mr Dennis Acquah, a former student of St Augustine's College and currently pursuing Accounting at the University of Ghana, Legon, picked the Overall Best Business programme award.
The Universal Merchant Bank (UMB), which was the headline sponsor, provided a full scholarship and a cash of $1,000 to the Overall Best Candidate, while the WAEC Endowment Fund, the SAKOA Press, Power City Network and Bond Savings & Loans provided cash and laptops to all the winners.
Why the drop
Mrs Addy-Lamptey said the WAEC said the drop in performance could be attributed to the activities of rogue websites that peddled fake questions which unsuspecting students relied on instead of preparing adequately for the examination.
“We wish to use this forum to urge all candidates preparing for the 2019 WASSCE to be wary of fraudsters.
“Students are advised to concentrate on their books and try their hands on past questions. The Chief Examiners’ Reports on past questions are a useful source of information for prospective candidates and can be accessed for free at the Council’s website: www.waecgh.org,” Mrs Addy-Lamptey said.
Chief Examiners’ Report
For instance, she said, the Chief Examiner for Core Mathematics Two listed some of the candidate’s weaknesses as their inability to translate word problems into mathematical statements, incapacity to solve simultaneous equations and probability-related problems, among others, adding that the examiner had suggested that teachers gave students sufficient exercises in the various topics they treated with them.
“Poor grammar, spelling and use of abbreviated words and dearth of sufficient vocabulary on the part of the candidates were some of the weaknesses identified by the Chief Examiner for English Language.
“Some recommendations to improve the performance of candidates in these areas include reading of well-written materials to improve linguistic proficiency and once again teachers having to engage students in exercises in comprehension, summary and essay writing,” she said.
Mrs Addy-Lamptey observed that examination malpractices had become the single most challenging threat to the integrity of examinations globally, adding that the canker was eating deep into the fibre of some schools, “and now we are recording impersonation cases in school examination too.”
She said in order to halt the growing trend of impersonation, for the first time the registration exercise for the 2019 WASSCE examination captured finger prints of the candidates.
“Every candidate for this year’s examination WASSCE was biometrically verified,” Mrs Addy-Lamptey announced, adding that the activities of “soft or miracle centres are becoming a source of concern to us” especially in regard of the examinations for private candidates.
She gave the assurance, however, that the council was determined to intensify the fight against all forms of examination malpractices by providing further training for supervisors and invigilators.
“We will also continue to expand the scope of our sensitisation programmes to reach many more candidates with the rules and regulations of the examination and to assure them that they can pass the examination without cheating,” Mrs Addy-Lamptey added.