WAEC considering interventions to reduce exams malpractices

BY: Severious Kale-Dery
Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, Head of Public Affairs of WAEC, addressing journalists at the press conference
Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, Head of Public Affairs of WAEC, addressing journalists at the press conference

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has reached a decision to implement a number of technology driven interventions to reduce human involvement in the question paper production chain.

The interventions, which are part of measures to stamp out the perennial issues of examination malpractices and minimise the human interface in the printing and distribution of its question papers, include the adoption of Test Serialisation System (TSE) of question papers, the use of parallel tests and making use of variable data printing.

The TSE is a system that generates multiple questions such that candidates in the same examination hall receive different question numberings in a randomised fashion.

Parallel tests is a system where examination questions set are different but are of the same difficulty level, while variable data printing is personalising the question papers.

The Head of Public Affairs of the council, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe, announced this at a press conference last Friday, in reaction to the launch of a report published by a civil society organisation (CSO), EDUWATCH Africa, dubbed, “EDUWATCH 2021 WASSCE Ghana Monitoring Report.

Assurance

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe gave the assurance that, “we will continue to adopt innovative measures to improve our processes, especially in the fight against examination malpractices, including examination leakage.

“WAEC is committed to the conduct of credible examinations in the public interest despite the numerous challenges that we are confronted with in the conduct of examination,” she said, giving the assurance that the council welcomed suggestions aimed at enabling it to attain its vision.

Claims of EDUWATCH

Touching on claims in the EDUWATCH report, Mrs Teye-Cudjoe said even though the CSO was aware that most of the issues raised were matters that had engaged the attention of the council, it still went ahead to raise them.

On what WAEC considered as “inaccuracies” in the said report, she said EDUWATCH’s claims that it monitored the conduct of the examination in 50 selected schools, including Insaniyaa SHS, Beposoman Muslims SHS and Kikam SHTS could not be true because those schools were not in the list of participating schools for WASSCE 2021.

“Insaniyaa SHS was closed down in January 2021.

No candidate was registered by Insaniyaa SHS for the WASSCE (SC) 2021, neither was the school used as an examination centre,” Mrs Teye-Cudjoe stated, adding that the other two schools were not in the list of the schools for WASSCE 2021.

Leakage

On the alleged examination malpractice in the report, she said “the council has taken serious notice of the allegations made of malpractices in certain schools and will probe the issue further to ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claims made.”

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe contested the claims by the report that 11 papers leaked during the examination, disputing the term “leaked” or “leakage” as applied to examinations conducted by the council, saying it, “is a question of law and facts.”

She said it was surprising that the report cited Chemistry Paper One and Integrated Science Paper One as among the purported leaked papers, explaining that those papers were composite papers, where both the Paper One and Two were in the same question paper and were therefore, written at a sitting without a break.

Mrs Teye-Cudjoe explained that once the candidates were given the paper Two, which was the Essay component, any purported leakage after the commencement could not be described as a leakage, but at best could be considered as, “examination malpractice.”
Contributing, the Head of Legal of WAEC, Rev Victor Brew, described the use of the word ‘leakage” in the report as “deliberate and disingenuous”.