February 17, 2011

Exam Malpractice: WAEC to publish list of indicted supervisors, invigilators

THE West African Examinations Council (WAEC) at the 49th meeting of the Nigeria Examinations Committee (NEC) held in Ibadan, considered reports on the conduct of the November/December 2009 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as well as irregularity or Malpractice cases arising from the examination in Nigeria.

A WAEC supervisor during exams

It also considered special cases and clemency cases arising from the conduct of the November/December 2009 WASSCE, as well as late cases arising from the conduct of previous examinations.

With regard to malpractice cases, the committee endorsed appropriate sanctions as prescribed by the Rules and Regulations governing the conduct of the WASSCE after diligent consideration of all reported cases.

It also endorsed the recommendation that some ad hoc examination functionaries who were indicted for unwholesome practices during the November/December 2009 WASSCE be reported to the appropriate State Ministries of Education for disciplinary action, in addition to any sanctions imposed on them by the council.

The committee directed that, henceforth, apart from the sanctions normally applied on erring examination supervisors and invigilator such as “blacklisting,” which bans such persons from being engage as supervisors, invigilators or examiners, the council should also compile and publish a comprehensive list of all supervisors and invigilators indicted for condoning examination malpractice and circulate the list to all State Ministries of Education.

The committee expressed deep concern at the scourge of examination malpractice, which is rampant in the education sector and stressed the need for WAEC and other education authorities to redouble efforts to curb the scourge.

WAEC was commended for the on-going re-inspection of all secondary schools nationwide which has resulted in the de-listing of some schools by the examination body.

The committee decried the dearth of qualified teachers in most of the secondary schools in the country, inadequate and dilapidated classrooms, inadequate teaching aids and other facilities.

The Committee stressed that funding of the education sector should be substantially improved, in line with the recommendations by UNESCO, if the alarming downward trend in candidates performance is to be successfully checked.

Furthermore, the Committee considered the Statistics of Entries and Results for the May/June 2009 W ASSCE, as well as the Chief Examiners’ Reports on the November/December 2009 WASSCE conducted in Nigeria.

It also considered the report on the activities of the Aptitude Tests Department of the Council from September 2009 to March 2010, and the report on completed as well as on-going research projects by the Research Division of the Council in Nigeria from December 2009 to February 2010.

The Committee commended the Nigeria Office of the Council for the detailed and graphic statistics of entries and performance of candidates in the May/June 2009 W ASSCE, particularly on State and gender basis.

The data, which are routinely presented by the Council to the Committee, also included three- year comparisons of entries and performance in the W ASSCE in Nigeria. The Committee noted that the data would be very useful for policy formulation and, therefore, recommended that the Council should continue to make the data available to Ministries of Education, School Principals, Researchers and other end users.

With regard to the Chief Examiners’ Reports, the Committee noted that the papers for the November/December 2009 WASSCE were of the required standard, and that candidate’s performance improved in some subjects while it declined in others.

The Committee noted the weaknesses of candidates as identified in the Chief Examiners’ Reports. These included shallow knowledge of subject matter, disregard for rubrics and in-correct interpretation of questions, poor command of the English Language, lack of Mathematical/Manipulative skills, poor knowledge of examination techniques and illegible handwriting.

The Committee further noted the recommendations proffered in the Chief Examiners’ Reports so as to enhance the performance of candidates. These included the following:

– Candidates should read the questions and rubrics carefully in order to understand their requirements and tasks before attempting them;

–  Candidates should procure and study all texts in order to adequately prepare for the examination;
– Candidates should learn the fundamental structures of the languages in order to express their ideas freely and clearly;

– Candidates should avoid unnecessary preambles and be concise with their answers;
– Qualified teachers should be allowed to handle respective subjects;

–  There should be greater exposure of candidates to laboratory work, excursions and field trips as these will enhance candidates’ performance.

The Nigeria Examinations Committee is the highest decision-making organ of WAEC on the conduct of examinations in Nigeria.

The committee meets twice a year with the Director (Basic and Secondary Education) Federal Ministry of Education as its statutory chairman. Membership includes four (4) representatives each of state ministries of Education, the All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), the Universities, the Registrar to WAEC and the Head of the National Office.