By Uchechukwu Nnaike
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has attributed the poor performance of students in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and other external examinations in the country to shallow knowledge of the subject matter, disregard for rubrics and incorrect interpretation of questions.
Other causes of mass failure, it said, included, poor command of the English Language, lack of Mathematics/manipulative skills, poor knowledge of examination techniques, illegible handwriting, spelling errors, among others.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the 52nd meeting of its Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) in Lagos recently, the council said these weaknesses were part of the observations contained in the Chief Examiners’ Report on the May/June 2011 WASSCE.
To enhance candidates’ performance in future examinations, it recommended that: Candidates should read the questions and the rubrics carefully so as to understand the requirements of each question; candidates should learn the basic rudiments of the English Language for better and clearer presentation of their answers; they should procure and thoroughly study the prescribed texts in Literature-in- English,
Arabic and the Nigerian Languages.
According to the report, governments and private owners of schools should employ qualified hands to teach various subjects; special attention should be given to training of candidates on legible handwriting to ensure clear conveyance of answers to examiners, who would mark the scripts; unnecessary preambles should be avoided while answering questions and presentations of answers should be as concise as possible.
Addressing newsmen, the NEC Chairman, Chief Adeniyi Falade said an important mandate of the committee during its meetings was to consider all cases of malpractice reported to it by the Nigerian National Office of the council and take appropriate decisions in line with the policies of the council, as well as the rules and regulations guiding the conduct of the examinations.
“At the just concluded 52nd meeting, the committee considered malpractice cases involving 81,573 candidates who sat the May/June 2011 WASSCE in Nigeria, and whose results were withheld, based on reports of their alleged involvement in malpractice. After thorough consideration of all the reported cases, the committee endorsed appropriate sanctions prescribed by the rules and regulations governing the conduct of the examination. Where applicable, it endorsed the cancellation of the entire results of candidates involved in cases, which attract such penalty, and the cancellation of subject results of those involved in cases which attract such penalty.”
He said the committee also directed the council to, henceforth, compile a ‘blacklist’ of supervisors and invigilators who are indicted for any misdemeanour, just as the council does for examiners. He said such persons would not be allowed to participate in any WAEC-related assignment anywhere in the country future.
The committee expressed concern over the large number of candidates that some schools present for examinations and called on ministries of education and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to monitor the activities of both public and private secondary schools, particularly during and after registration of candidates for WASSCE.
It also urged the government and various agencies charged with the development of education in the country to address the issues of infrastructure deficit in schools and the need to provide conducive atmosphere for proper teaching and learning.