MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Ministry of Education has set April 24 as the beginning date for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination for all 12th graders across the country.
Maxime Bleetahn, the director of communications and public relations at the Education Ministry, issued a press statement dated April 18 announcing the date of the WASSCE test. The date was selected in collaboration with the Liberia office of the West African Examinations Council. The test is expected to last for several weeks.
In announcing the test, the ministry cautioned all 12th graders to assemble at their various exam centers in their respective school uniforms with their identification cards for proper identification and easier recognition at least one hour prior to the exam time.
At least 39,849 students from 651 schools are expected to take this year’s exam at 237 centers across the country.
The ministry has also set May 22 for pilot national exams to assess sixth graders’ skills in Mathematics and English. Additionally, ninth graders will take their national exams on May 23 and 24.
The Ministry of Education had pledged to provide the top 10 high performing students on WASSCE with scholarships to colleges in foreign countries.
In 2018, at least 65 percent of senior students who took the WASSCE were unsuccessful. It was the first time when all 12th graders in the country were required to pass the exam before graduating from high school, although the Ministry of Education later removed the test as a graduation requirement due to a large number of failures.
To avoid the mass failures, the ministry had held Saturday classes aim at preparing students for the exam. Latim Da-thong, the deputy education minister for administration, spoke at the Ministry of Information’s regular press briefing on Thursday where he said 31,800 students took part in those tutorials, which lasted for 21 weeks. He said the tutorials focused on tackling the weaknesses identified in students.
“We believed that [an] emphasis on working on math was important,” he noted.
The ministry also arranged for a national mock WASSCE test for more than 38,000 senior students from high schools across the country. However, the results of the test have not been released yet as WAEC is “still grading the papers,” but Da-thong expressed optimism based on the results seen so far.
“From the results we’re getting from the mock [exam], if they [the students] didn’t cheat – if they did it fairly, the results we get on the [actual] test will be better,” he noted.
He pointed out that many of the issues that plagued students were “simple procedural errors” such as not shading answers correctly.
The mock exams were only in English and Math, not all nine subjects.
“We will share the final results when they’re finished grading it,” the deputy education minister said.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah