By Dominic Yooku deGraft Aidoo
Email Dominic: [email protected]
“Every person should have the opportunity to good quality education. They must be equipped with the necessary resources to enable them to excel in their chosen field of study or discipline regardless of where they live”. (Dominic Yooku deGraft Aidoo)
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) 2016 West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results were released some weeks ago. The following are some interesting statistics:
Total number of Candidates 274,262
Total Number of candidates obtaining A1-C6 = 53.19%,
Total Number of candidates obtaining D7-E8 =25.40%
Total Number of candidates obtaining F9=19.82%
Total Number of candidates obtaining A1-C6 =32.83%
Total Number of candidates obtaining D7-E8=27.68%
Total Number of candidates obtaining F9= 38.10%%
As always the politicians were at it again trying to make political capital out of it and put the best possible spin on it to suit their political agenda. At least as a nation we all agree that there is a lot that needs to be done to improve this performance. Whoever is to be charged to do this will depend on the decision of Ghanaians in the 7th December elections. I have said many a times and will continue to do so for the umpteenth time that education involves the participation of all, this includes: The Government, Parents, Teachers, Students, The Community, etc. The government must provide the right structures for a good educational system for its citizens. May I suggest that such an educational system must be holistic, collective and innovative and have a wider stakeholder involvement. It would be good if it is based on the socio-economic and cultural practices existing in Ghana instead of wholesale import from abroad.
The question the ordinary Ghanaian is asking is simply this: “What are the reasons for the WASSCE performance”? Unfortunately, there are no straight forward answers. The issues are multi-faceted. I believe some students do not adopt the right approach to studying and this may have contributed to the poor WASSCE examination results. It is for this sole reason that I am focusing this article on students studying for an examination. I have had my fair share of writing difficult examinations back in the days when I was studying to become a Chartered Accountant. In writing this article, I draw on my experience from my days as a Student Accountant. I write from my book (extracts) “PASS”. The Art of Studying and Writing Examinations Successfully. (“PASS” will be available in all leading Book Shops in November). The WASSCE results will improve if students on their part adopt an appropriate and effective studying technique. As always I write from my perspective.
Effective studying starts from when the subject is introduced. In most cases, the subject teacher will introduce this at the start of the lesson. A first-hand understanding of the topic, when it is taught, can save the student time spent in getting their head around the topic or getting a colleague to explain it. It is advised that students pay attention in class and understand the topic first hand from a qualified teacher.
It is also key for teachers to explain the learning objectives and for students to understand the learning objectives for each topic. Every lesson taught has a learning objective. The objective describes what students should know, understand or be able to do at the end of the course. It is important for students to remember that in almost all cases examiners test their understanding of the learning objectives. Therefore, students should always make sure that they have a full understanding of the learning objectives. This way, they can measure their understanding against these so as to identify any gaps in their knowledge and address them by doing further studies or research on the topic.
I strongly recommend students to make notes during lessons (unless instructed otherwise), to complement any notes provided by the teacher. Making your own notes also ensures that you have the clarity of thought and helps you to understand what the teacher is explaining. It also helps you to stay focused and to concentrate on the subject being taught. If you do not understand a topic or need further clarification on any aspect, ask the teacher. Do not be intimidated by fellow students who pride themselves in mocking others in class. It is not acceptable for anyone to be intimidated or bullied. However, it is a far better option to be embarrassed in class than to fail your examination. If you are not confident enough to ask for the explanation in class, approach the teacher immediately after the lesson.
Students must inculcate in themselves the habit of practicing with a lot of questions during their studies, especially past examination questions. Practicing answering questions is a very effective way of testing your knowledge of the topic you have studied. Check your answers against the marking scheme and the recommended answers. You can refer to the answers if you are struggling with how to approach the question but I strongly advice where possible that you have a go at the questions without any help whatsoever.
I perceive that our founding fathers will agree with me if I conclude by saying “There are no shortcut to passing any examination. Passing an examination involves, at the very least, the following practical steps:
- Study and revise the entire syllabus.
- Practice past questions.
- Develop an appropriate examination technique.
- Write the examination.
Any recommendation on studying which does not include the four steps listed above is likely to be a scam”
God Bless Ghana