For decades now, the standard assessment for Senior High Schools candidates for entry into Ghanaian universities has been conducted by the West African Examination Council, WAEC.
However, these exams supervised by the West African Examination Council have over the years been consistently marred with leakages and malpractice. Therefore, it has not been a fair means in general assessment of candidates.
There have been numerous allegations of examination leakages. The most recent one which experienced severe form of leakages and malpractice in its conduct was the 2019 WASSCE exams. Social media were flooded with questions of various subject papers. In most cases, these questions were privy to the general public days before subject papers were actually written. Sometimes, these questions came with their solutions. These questions and answers that phone users had on their phones through social media days before papers were written were exact questions candidates answered in the actual exams.
I am not here to go much into this unfortunate detail; Ghanaians witnessed these leakages. However, whatever was and is the reason for this recurring indiscipline act of malpractice is best known to WAEC and the Ghana Education Service. Discerning Ghanaians would obviously ask for answers. When the public sought for answers, they gave a feeble reason as explanation to the leakage; they reacted by saying "Examination questions have not leaked, it is just post-leaks". I wonder what they meant by post-leak!
Hence, it has become so apparent that the human factor in the delivery of examination assessment services has failed us as a nation.
Coalition of questions for WAEC exams, printing of subject papers, delivery of examination questions to exams depots, supervision and invigilation in exams halls in various schools have been corrupted by the human factor. This has been possible and so easy to manipulate because of the long chain of paper works. The chain of transfer from setting of questions to transporting from national headquarters to regional offices to district depots. This long chain and process is sure to be marred with ill activities of the human resource who are involved.
Sometimes, WAEC as a body cannot be grossly blamed because I know there are some good staff members who work selflessly day and night to ensure a fair process. However their efforts are always annulled by the selfish acts of some few greedy officials who are sometimes even hired temporarily to enhance the examination process.
There is no element of doubt that the teacher has been the greatest enemy who has denied WAEC of fair conduct of exams. Teachers who are often hired and tasked to supervise and invigilate the exams at various schools are the prime architects of examination misconduct during WASSCE.
Therefore as a nation, if we are working on achieving free and fair exams for our senior high School candidates, the teacher must be taken off the centre stage. How would this be?
Computer Based Biometric Standard Aptitude Test (CBB-SAT) would be the best replacement to defeat all the flaws associated with the current paper based assessment.
Computer based tests would be more efficient because candidates can be assessed with different set of standard questions to avoid cheating even in the same hall. The number of officials hired for supervision would also be reduced. There would be very little space for teachers to interfere with the conduct of exams. The Biometric feature would help avoid cheating in the area of proxy writing and or false representation of candidate.
CBB-SAT test centres could be opened at various district capitals which could be ran by both Government and private persons. Students would therefore write exams when as they wish after completion of their senior high school courses.
CBB-SAT would be an effective and smart way to check and defeat indiscipline and malpractice associated with paper based exams. When adapted, it would also ensure fairness and give true reflection and or assessment of our candidates for efficient positioning into various degree programs according to their intellectual capabilities.
May God bless Ghana.
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