The greatest challenge of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), particularly in Liberia, has remained the herculean task of conducting hitch-free examinations void of malpractices.
The challenge arises from any act or behavior by either the examiners or the candidates which is not in accordance with acceptable standards. WAEC also aims to discourage any act or behavior that is damaging to the efficient conduct of the Council’s business, or tends to bring the Council into public disrepute.
Owing to such malpractices, the Head of National Office (HNO) in Monrovia, John Y. Gayvolor, Sr., has annulled results for 539 candidates. At the same time, the HNO is investigating 33 schools for ‘collusion’ during the conduct of the June/ May administered exams.
The exams were administered to the 27,651 12th graders and the 31,927 9th graders, respectively, across the country.
At a press conference over the weekend at WAEC’s head offices in Congo Town, Monrovia, Mr. Gayvolor, admitted that in spite of several pre-emptive measures put in place, exam malpractices surfaced at some of the testing centers.
“Most of these malpractices were master-minded or perpetrated by some hired test supervisors, proctors/investigators, candidates, examiners and even school authorities to say the least,” Mr. Gayvolor disclosed.
He said that during the marking of the May/June exam scripts, examiners reported that candidates from 33 senior high schools were involved in collusion (same test writing and or answer) when the tests were being administered.
Of the 33 senior high schools involved, 17 were Montserrado County-based high schools, with Margibi recording 11, Grand Gedeh one, Grand Kru two, and Nimba County one.
Mr. Gayvolor further disclosed that, “four hundred and sixty-two senior and fifty-nine junior high school candidates were involved in some form of examination malpractices, while 18 candidates were also involved in malpractices in the administration of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).”
As such, Mr. Gayvolor has announced the annulment of the entire results for those candidates. The decision which was arrived at by the Liberia Examinations Committee at its 38th meeting held on Friday, November 21, 2014.
Mr. Gayvolor also disclosed that one test supervisor (not named) was found guilty of extorting money from some junior high school candidates for the purpose of assisting the candidates to have undue advantage in the exams.
Authorities at the Ministry of Education (MOE) have dismissed the supervisor, who was described as a principal of a public school, while an examiner was arrested and reportedly sent to court for attempting to solicit money from a school authority in order to assist his candidates.
Immediately upon the discovery of the act, Mr. Gayvolor said, the principal of the school instantly alerted WAEC. Subsequently the examiner was arrested by officers of the Liberia National Police who immediately sent the accused to court.
The matter is pending before court.
Unreliable Assessment Scores
Mr. Gayvolor explained that grades submitted by some schools for the three-year period (7th, 8th, and 9th for Junior high and 10th, 11th and 12th grades for senior high) are referred to as the “Continuous Assessment Scores (CASS).
These grades, after being subjected to statistical analysis, form an integral part of the overall performance of the candidates on the examination.
“Unfortunately,” Mr. Gayvolor said, “some school authorities submitted unreliable CASS such as 88% for all the candidates during the three-year period.”
Ten senior high schools submitted uninformed grades or unreliable CASS for the candidates as continuous assessment scores, he said.
“As a result of this, the entire outcomes for the 258 candidates with 226 in Montserrado County School System and 10 and 22 each in Lofa and Margibi counties are unreliable CASS.
“In this manner, each of the school authorities involved is being found guilty by WAEC Board of Inquiry for “unprofessional academic behavior,” said Mr. Gayvolor.