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The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has said its assessment standard coupled with teachers’ exposure to refresher courses enabled many candidates of the 2017 May/June examination to make good grades.

Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, the Head of Public Affairs Department, WAEC, Nigeria, made the explanation in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.

Ojijeogu explained that the council had been training its examination coordinators and assessors on the marking scheme prior to the examinations.

According to him, the quality of teachers preparing the candidates and the examiners has also improved, especially those involved in coordinating and marking candidates’ scripts.

He said that the teachers as well as the examiners were exposed to the exact things and standard expected of the students in examinations and thereafter pass same to the students.

He further said that if the students were exposed to the right things to watch out for in the examinations and the standard demanded of them the final output would be optimal.

Ojijeogu noted that the May/June 2017 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results and students’ performance improved by seven per cent compared to the previous year’s results.

He noted that 59.22 per cent of the candidates who wrote the 2017 examination had credit pass in five subjects, including English Language and mathematics.

He said the poor performances in previous years was due to the lack of necessary facilities and skilled teachers in the core subjects.

He said in 2014 those who obtained five credits and above, including English Language and mathematics, was 31.28 per cent.

‘’In 2015 we had 38.68 per cent and then in 2016 it was 52.97 while in 2017 it is 59.22 per cent,’’ Ojijeogu said.

Also, Mr Olatunji Jekayinfa, Sustainable Development Goals Desk Officer, National Mathematical Centre, said improvement in students’ performances was due to the on-going training of teachers.

“Luckily we have a slight change in performance of the result this year. Last year we had about 52.11 per cent of students that had six credits, including mathematics and English.

“But this year we have up to 59.22 per cent that had six credits, including mathematics and English.

“So, we have like seven per cent increase in the students’ performance this year, I think that is the response to the little trainings that are on-going,’’ Jekayinfa said.

According to him, teachers are being exposed to training and retraining and the country is reaping better results from students.

He emphasised the importance of training for teachers preparing candidates for examinations.

“Training is the key and we have shortage of teachers, especially in the area of mathematics; qualified teachers are not available in the teaching of mathematics.

“ But if these few ones are given the right training and resources to work, we can see more improvement,’’ he said.

A teacher, Mr Sanni Bala, said good reading habits would go a long way in improving students’ performance and should be encouraged among the students.

Bala said majority of students preferred watching films and engaging in online chatting instead of studying.

He attributed poor performance by some students to inadequate preparation and urged parents and teachers to inculcate the reading habit in their wards.

He also advised that students, who did not make good grades at the first attempt, not to be discouraged as there was always a second chance for hardworking candidates.

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