Liberia: 13,454 WASSCE Candidates’ Results Withheld for Alleged Malpractices

Liberia’s office of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has withheld the 2021 results of 13,454 candidates who, the office said, were found to be involved in acts incompatible to its professional standards for the public test.

At a recent press conference through which the 2021 results were released, WAEC boss, Dale Gboto said the his office has withheld the results of the 13,454 candidates, representing 32.83% of a total of 40,977 candidates who sat the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2021, for their alleged involvement in examination malpractice or their schools submitting unreliable Continuous Assessment Scores (School Grades) for nearly all of their candidates.

He pointed out that the results of 73 schools in eight counties including Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Gedeh, Margibi, Maryland, Nimba, Sinoe, and Montserrado, are withheld for their alleged involvement in Collusion and Examination malpractices.

Gboto reported that 8,536 candidates representing, 63.45% of the 13,454 candidates whose results are being withheld were caught with cell phones, other foreign materials and/or insult/assault on examination workers, amongst others, while the remaining number of candidates affected aided and abetted the process of cheating.

Mr. Gbotoe announced that his office has immediately dismissed the Examiners who were involved in examination malpractice and forwarded them to the law for investigation.

He named William A. Kpennie, Montserrado Biology #2 team leader, Armola Marshall, Montserrado Biology #3 Assistant examiner, and Peter M. Walker, Maryland county proctor as examiners who are dismissed for awarding grades to students for money, amongst others.

The December 30, 2021, WAEC-Liberia’s report, which was already delayed, covered all categories including the Liberia National Assessment Test (LNAT) for 3rd Graders; the Liberia Primary School Certificate Examination (LPSCE), for 6th Graders; the Liberia Junior High School Certificate Examination (LJHSCE), for 9th Graders; and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), for 12th Graders.

“The Council’s International Examination, The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is available for candidates in the terminal class of senior high schools in all five English Speaking West African countries,” Mr. Gbotoe said, adding, “Unlike the national examinations, WASSCE is a common test that candidates write at the same time in the five countries for subjects that are available in those countries.

While the overall average performance is said to be somehow good for Liberia as a member country of WAEC, he did not mince his words to express challenges confronting the system, mainly by a number of candidates in 12th grade performing below average.

Gbotoe noted that the performance of students in English in the 2021 Examination is the worst, unlike over the years when over 50% passed. 

He placed the percentage of senior high candidates who passed English at 17.06% for the year 2021.

He stated that 3rd grade candidates were assessed in two subjects including Numeracy or Mathematics and Literacy or Language Arts, and the total of 7,240 candidates that registered for the exams, 4,971 sat for the tests, and, 4,118 constituting, 82.84%, passed, while 853 candidates, constituting 17.16%, failed.

For the Liberia Primary School Certificate Examination (LPSCE) administered to 6th Graders, Mr. Gbotoe stated that the exams were administered at 329 centers on 21 and 22 September, in all 15 counties, in four core subjects: Mathematics, General Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies.

“The total number of candidates that registered for the LPSCE was 36,229, with 28,842 sitting for the tests, and out of the total number of candidates that sat for the exam, 26,842 or 93.56% successfully passed, while 1,847 constituting 6.44% failed,” he reported.

Gbotoe continued that the overall performance of the candidates on the 6 Graders’ examination was excellent and that the females performed slightly better than their male counterparts on the LPSCE, for 2021.

He added that the Liberia Junior High School Certificate Examination (LJHSCE) was administered on 24 and 27 September, at 345 centers in all 15 counties. For that exam, 36,103 of the 40,744 registered candidates sat and 33,630 or 93.15% made a pass, while 2,473 constituting 6.85% failed. 

Concluding on down the release of the results, Mr. Gbotoe stated that the WASSCE was administered from September 10 – 30, 2021 at 322 centers in the 15 counties, indicating that the overall performance of the candidates in WASSCE for 2021, at the passing rate of at least a subject on the Examination, is encouraging compared to their counterparts who sat the same examination nationally for the first time in 2018.

He said nine subjects were offered on the examination with Arts Students sitting for seven of the nine subjects while the Science Students sat a minimum of eight of the nine subjects.

Regarding performance per subject, Mr. Gbotoe lauded the candidates, stating that the 2021 candidates performed better in two of the nine subjects; History and Mathematics.

Best performing students and schools

The WAEC boss disclosed that 99 students were successful in reaching division one of the WASSCE in the country and of the number, 30 came from the Sekou I. Sheriff Arabic and English School.

The year 2021 goes down in history as a very challenging for the examination body as some of its staff, including a police officer assigned to its office, died in Niko Ivanka, a faulty boat that sank in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Marshall, Margibi County.

Niko Ivanka sank on July 17, 2021 while sailing with the WAEC staff who were heading to the Southeast (Maryland, River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Kru and Grand Gedeh Counties) to administer the test. The Niko Ivanka embarked from the Freeport of Monrovia but, in less than twenty four hours, the vessel sank, leaving almost all of the passengers on board dead.

WAEC Liberia lost seven of its staff and the police officer assigned to its national headquarters, located in Congo Town.