Opinion

External Examinations

  The Honourable Prime Minister Honourable Members of the House First of all I wish to thank Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to share to the Honourable members
11 Feb 2016 13:58
External Examinations
Minister for Agriculture, Mahendra Reddy

 

The Honourable Prime Minister

Honourable Members of the House

First of all I wish to thank Madam Speaker for giving me the opportunity to share to the Honourable members of the house the comparison of the external examination results for 2014 and 2015.

In the beginning of last year, there was some debate on the removal of scaling for Years 12 and 13 exams and bringing back of exams from Years 6 to 11.

Madam Speaker, following comments from various stakeholders, and our own perusal of past results, we noted that we were not adequately preparing our students for further studies and for the labour market as well as the results did not correctly portray the true stock of knowledge that the student had acquired. It also did not provide correct guidance to parents and guardians as well as to teacher on their performance as reflected in their pupils’ performance because marks were mechanically adjusted to deliver a desired outcome.

Madam Speaker, we also analysed the raw results of past years and we noted the low mean marks and low percentage passes in almost all the subjects in Year 12 and Year 13. (See Tabel 1)

The marks portrayed that there was a failure in the system and we had to act fast as we were continuously passing out poorly prepared students to universities and the labour market by adjusting their marks.

Madam Speaker, the problem was compounded with the removal of exams up to Year 11 and thus poorly prepared students were passed on from one year to the other year without them, their teachers and parents knowing the true status of their level of attainment at that year or level. Good teachers became helpless because the student did not have the base knowledge which was supposed to be provided to them in the previous year. They then covered the basics and examined them the basics and passed them to the next level. This cycle continued until such time the student reached Year 12. The student again performed badly, but this time around, their marks were adjusted, 50 per cent of them were passed and allowed to progress to Year 13. The same happened in Year 13 where 54 per cent were passed.

Madam Speaker, concerns over scaling were not adequately addressed and were mostly left unanswered, which created doubts and lead to suspicions and a loss of confidence in the examination system. Public demands to make public the formulae used for scaling were ignored saying that it was “confidential information”.

Madam Speaker, following approval by Cabinet to discontinue scaling of marks, we:

 Informed students, teachers and parents that external exam marks will no longer be adjusted and students will be given their original subject scores thus reflecting their true performance in each of the subjects;

 Reintroduced exams from Years Six so that they are focused, have a goal to target and parents also join in to prepare their child for the Year end exams;

 We prepared detailed solution guide for each subject exam paper for Years 12 and 13 for the last four years and these were provided to the students at no cost to them. Soft copies of these were also loaded on our homepage;

 Teachers were encouraged to finish the syllabus by Term Two and spend Term Three for revision work;

 Teachers were encouraged to take extra classes in Term Two to cover the syllabus.

The whole nation was psyched up…scaling discontinued, exams introduced…students were talking about it, teachers were discussing amongst themselves and with students and parents were talking to their children and reminding them to work hard….

Madam Speaker, the whole nation was geared up to prove that their children didn’t have to be given marks for nothing…they can work hard and achieve the desired outcome.

Madam Speaker, back in the ministry, we also tightened up on quality control. Unlike before, in 2015, subject matter specialists in the Curriculum Development Unit were recruited and tasked with the responsibility of preparing the national examination papers. In the recruitment procedure, it was a requirement for Senior Curriculum Officers to have a master’s degree in their subject area so that these subject experts can design better curriculum and better assessment for the children of this nation.

Madam Speaker, let me present to you the comparison of the external examination results for 2014 and 2015 for the Year 12 and Year 13.

(See Tabel 2)

1

2 

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Subscribe-to-Newspaper