Liberia: 2022 WASSCE Much Better Results

Flashback: Liberian students taking the WASSCE exam. 


— Nearly triple the number of students passed in at least 5 subjects, compared to 2021

In June this year, as Liberian students completed their  West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), a viral video showed a man interviewing a random selection of students who could not even tell what the acronym WASSCE stood for. 

At this, many Liberians began to brace themselves for another round of possible massive failure by Liberian students in the state and regional standardized exams. 

Surprisingly to the contrary, however, the Liberia office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) announced on  August 9, that Liberian students had shown remarkable collective improvement in the test.

According to the 2022 performance report released yesterday, the total number of candidates that passed at least five subjects — a prerequisite to graduate — increased from 8,818 last year, to a whopping 22,628, constituting 52.71 percent of the total 42,926 candidates that sat the exams.

Senior high school students sat the exams in nine subjects — Economics, Geography, History, Literature-in-English, English Language, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. 

“The performance trend from 2020-2022 shows an upward trend in five subjects including Economics, Literature-In-English, Mathematics, Biology, and Physics,” said WAEC, adding that this year’s “candidates performed better in three of the nine subjects (English Language, Mathematics and Biology).” However, over the past three years, there was a fluctuation in the performance trend in four subjects, Geography, History, English Language, and Chemistry.

“The WASSCE for School Candidates was administered at 334 centers in the fifteen counties from May 31 to June 17, 2022. The overall performance of the candidates at the passing rate of at least a subject on the Examination is encouraging as compared to their counterparts who sat the same examination nationally for the first time in 2018,” WAEC Liberia boss Dale Gbotoe told at a news conference on Tuesday. “Nine subjects were offered on the examination with the Arts candidates sitting for seven of the nine subjects while the Science candidates sat a minimum of eight of the nine subjects.” 

However, this year, of the 42,926 students who took the exam in all nine subjects, none of them passed all nine. This is compared to 652 (out of 40,977; 1.59%) in 2021 and 42 (out of 39,263; 0.11%) in 2020. 

But according to WAEC, those who passed in at least seven subjects have nearly tripled year-over-year since 2020, when there were only 1,049 (2.67%) passes. In 2021, that number shot up to 3,589 (8.76%) and then shot up again to 9,251 (21.55%) in 2022. 

On the lower end of the performance scale, those who passed in at least two subjects this year were 40,015 (93.22%), compared to 23,671 (57.77%) in 2021. Those who passed in at least one subject this year amounted to 42,273 (98.48%), compared to 25,800 (62.96%) in 2021.  Of the 809 schools whose students sat the WASSCE this year, only 4 had all their students fail the entire exam (all nine subjects) — a major improvement from 2021 (9 out of 761 schools) and 2020 (16 out of 707). 

32,597 students, dominated by female candidates (16,570) from across 656 private schools sat the WASSCE exam, compared to their counterparts from across 153 public schools, constituting 12,210 students, dominated by male candidates (6,542). 

WAEC has yet to name the best-performing student(s) for the 2022 exam. However, the body hinted that such information would be released before the end of the calendar year, after a period of apparent queries and other outstanding issues concerning the results released. 

The results from 785 students across 381 senior secondary schools have been withheld due to what the examination body calls ‘examination malpractices’. 

“Henceforth, all certificates for examinations will be released to stakeholders three months after the release of results,” WAEC says. “This year’s Certificates will be available for collection by December, at which time all outstanding issues such as the resolution of queries, requests for revision of scripts, decisions on irregularity cases, etc. would have all been resolved.”