Wednesday, 11 February 2015

ZIMSEC RESULTS: ‘Ranking unfair’

Extra Reporter
The grading and schools ranking system used by Zimbabwe School and Examinations Council (Zimsec) in its “A” Level results has become a subject of debate as various stakeholders argue that the system is riddled with inconsistencies.

A simple glance at the examination results reveals that the majority of the schools with fewer candidates had the “unfair” advantage of occupying most of the top national positions at the expense of schools with more candidates.

One glaring example is Harare province where Roosevelt Girls’ High School tops the list after 91 candidates registered a 100 percent pass rate and is number 12 on the national position.
ZIMSEC RESULTS: ‘Ranking unfair’
Mufakose 1 High School, with more candidates (148) than Roosevelt Girls’ High School and a pass rate of 98,65 percent, was relegated to second position in Harare province and a distant 22 on the national position.

“I think they must also consider the fact that Mufakose 1 High School had more candidates than Roosevelt. I am not a mathematician but I think the way the percentage calculations are done favour those schools with lesser candidates,” said Mr James Chanakira, a parent and former teacher.

Similarly in Masvingo province, Chinorumba High School, with only 21 candidates who all passed their examinations, is number 9 on the national position whilst Gokomere High School with 108 students who managed a 98,15 percent pass rate, were placed 28 on the national position.

Most of the schools that had fewer candidates and performed well only recruit those students that would have done exceedingly well in both the Grade Seven and the “O” Level examinations, another factor which observers noted should be considered when ranking schools. For a prospective Form 1 student to be enrolled at such schools, the student is mostly required to have attained four units in the Grade Seven examinations.

The ranking system does not also take into consideration the actual marks of the individual candidate to differentiate the centres, except when the centres are tied.

It, therefore, means that the school with the highest percentage pass rate, without considering the grades attained by individual candidates, is placed higher than a school with fewer candidates who would have attained even higher grades.

Reacting to the announcement of the “A” Level results, one social media commentator said the grading and ranking systems are flawed, resulting in “not-so-brilliant” candidates proceeding to university.

“I think there is need to rethink about our grading and ranking systems. Are you saying someone who gets two points (2 Es) has passed? So can that person qualify for university? No wonder why the quality of our education is going down,” the commentator, who identified himself as Ticha, wrote.

Questions e-mailed to Zimsec regarding the ranking and grading system were yet to be answered by the time of going to print.
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