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Opinions of Wednesday, 16 February 2005

Columnist: Adomako, Appiah Kusi

Need To Revise Criteria For SSSCE Results League Table

Since the first time the senior secondary school certificate examination results was published in a league table, it has generated a widespread argument in various circles about the criteria for the ranking of schools in the country and labelling some as the best and other as the worst.

The idea of the Ministry of Education to stick to a quantitative approach in ranking schools in the country is something that leaves much to be desired. The whole ranking system is flawed with inadequacies as it leaves more questions to be answered. Everywhere we go we talk about quality of the students passing out and not the quantity of student passing out. Today the emphasis is on quality and not on quantity. This is where the presidential commission on Ghana?s education has recommended the wholesale promotion of pupils and students be discontinued. Since a mere pass cannot lead students to get admission into higher level of education, it must be emphasized that yardstick for ranking schools based only passed grades has to be revised. A student may have all the passes but those passes cannot lead him to gain admission into the universities, polytechnics, teacher training colleges and so on.

Ideally, by convention passes of three elective subjects plus English Language, Core Mathematics and Integrated Science up to aggregate twenty four is to qualify one to apply for universities, polytechnics and others. Practically no one can enter university with aggregate twenty four unless that person is a fee-paying student or lucky to be selected as a deprived student under Vice Chancellor Kwasi Andam?s Special Initiatives. Beyond this, one needs a competitive grade to be able to further his or her education after SSS. Even at the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) students are selected into second cycle schools based on the number of grade ones that one obtains and not necessarily aggregate that one obtains.

Are all passes equal? Certainly not! If a student obtains grade E in core maths by convention is deemed to have passed. Like wise another student who also gets grade A in the same mathematics has also passed. For us to be able to make a scientific assessment of these students we will have to go beyond the fact that they have passed but rather move to a qualitative assessment of their passes. And when this done we will know that the one who had grade A did far better than the one with grade E. It is likened to two countries going for war and each country has one hundred soldiers. At end of the war ten soldiers die from the war and the remaining ninety come back. The other nation also returns with all their combatants home with nearly sixty of them having their legs and arms amputated and some maimed. Which of these two countries will be deemed to have a stronger army? A qualitative assessment of the two will tell you that the former is better than the latter.

Now back to the issue. The process whereby school is graded based on the number of students who passed in either 8, 7 or 6 subjects is outmoded as the new education reforms emphases on good education and performance.

If a school sends 71 students to SSSCE and 35 of them get pass in 8 subjects and the remaining is shared between 6 and 7 passes. One thing that we must know is that it might even be that the student might have passed with only grade E in almost all the 8 subjects. Eventually a student?s best 6 subjects including English, Maths and Science could be aggregate 30. The question is that can one attend university, polytechnic or teacher training college with only 6 passes? This is not possible in this our twenty first century Ghana. So one wonders why the Ministry of Education is only using passes to rank schools in this country.

So the league system will give a false sense of superiority to some schools and the same time giving false sense of inferiority to other. If you look at school like Prempeh College which presented 813 candidates and had 709 students passing in eight subjects while 76 and 19 passed in seven and seven subjects respectively it will be illogical to use quantitative assessment only to rate Kukuom Agric Secondary School among the first school in the league while placing Prempeh College at 15th position. According to the records provided by the Ministry of Education indicated that Kukuom Agric Secondary School indicated that it presented 51 candidates and 14 students passed in eight subjects while 32 and 5 passed seven and six subjects respectively.

Let us compare and contrast the results of results of the following students:

NAME OF CANDIDATE: Derry Thomas

Subject

Grade

Quantitative Measure

Qualitative Measure

Best grade

Mathematics

B

Pass

40

2

English Language

C

Pass

30

3

Int Science

C

Pass

30

3

Social Studies

D

Pass

20

4

Chemistry

E

Pass

10

5

Biology

E

Pass

10

5

Physics

E

Pass

10

5

Elective Mathematics

D

Pass

20

4

Performance

 

Pass

170

 

(170/400) x 100%= 42.5%

Aggregate=22



 



 



NAME OF CANDIDATE: John Addo Sule



 



Subject

Grade

Quantitative Measure

Qualitative

Measure

Best six subjects

Mathematics

E

Pass

10

5

English Language

E

Pass

10

5

Int Science

E

Pass

10

5

Social Studies

E

Pass

10

5

Chemistry

E

Pass

10

5

Biology

E

Pass

10

5

Physics

E

Pass

10

5

Elective Mathematics

E

Pass

10

5

Performance

 

100 % Pass

80

 

(80/400) x100%= 20%

Aggregate

30



 



 



 



NAME OF CANDIDATE: Mensah Ramatu



 



Subject

Grade

Quantitative Measure

Qualitative

Measure

Best grade

Mathematics

A

Pass

50

1

English Language

B

Pass

40

2

Int Science

A

Pass

40

1

Social Studies

B

Pass

40

2

Chemistry

A

Pass

50

1

Biology

B

Pass

40

2

Physics

A

Pass

50

1

Elective Maths

A

Pass

50

1

Performance

 

Pass