Appreciating The 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination, Mathematics Paper Two

By Rich Akpalu
Article Appreciating The 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination, Mathematics Paper Two
JAN 19, 2022 LISTEN

First and foremost, I wish to congratulate the West African Examination Counsel (W.A.E.C) for the success of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E.) conducted in the month of November 2021. It was credible and void of the usual mass leakages which has bedeviled recent examinations in the country. W.A.E.C ayekoo!!

Appreciating the questions set for the students in relation to past years questions, there has been great variation across subjects. It is a worthwhile innovation to varry the trend of questions to build on the standard of examinations.

However, varrying the trend of question to the neglect of it capturing the varrying level of strength of learners or their different levels of intelligent quotient, deserves a review.

Students' strength in the subject of Mathematics vary from Number, Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, and Handling Data.

In simple terms, from my experience interacting with Mathematics learners, students can be categorized into two groups. The first group of students are those who have high computational quotient. These learners find calculation questions easy to understand and handle.

The second group are also equally intelligent. But, unlike the first group, these learners have high geometric quotient. These learners find geometry and measurement questions easy to understand and handle.

In a typical class, only about five percent have high intelligence in both computation and geometry. The majority are divided with every learner possessing a strong ability in either computation or geometry. There is no learner who lacks in both categories; every mathematics student is potentially good in one of the two areas.

In effect, I wish to comment that the 2021 B.E.C.E. Mathematics paper two was structurally unfair to a section of learners.

There was almost no question on geometry; it is obvious all the questions were computational. Not even one question required the use of pencil, geometry or measurement skills. All the six questions were computational. The usual geometry questions like construction, rigid motion and statistics were evidently absent.

Let's consider the fact that learners are even given the options in school selection to choose both grammar school and at least one technical/vocational school. Now, if the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service recognizes the diversity in student abilities and mandates that they choose grammar and technical/vocational schools in their school selection, it is only fair that examinations are structured well - taking into consideration this same fact of the diverse abilities of learners, computational and geometry.

Going forward, I am hopeful the West African Examination Counsel will review the structure of it's Mathematics questions for the Basic Education Certificate Examination taking into consideration the diversity of learners' skills and abilities.

Written by: Rich Akpalu

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: +233 (0)547 198 833

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