The National Examination and School Inspection Authority (NESA) says school candidates who missed or sat for few examinations compared to what they registered for, will not be ranked (graded), a development that automatically limits their chances to be admitted in best schools across the country.
The examination body also pointed out that such candidates will miss aggregate marks on their result-slips.
“In brief, candidates who miss or write some exams are not ranked. An examination is like a competition, just like students compete to join a school of excellence(boarding). Here students compete academically to join good schools. when a student misses an exam, the chances are lowered to join them. Even if a candidate misses one. Equally, when he/she misses a paper, automatically she/he misses the aggregate mark,” Dr. Alphonse Sebaganwa, Head of Department of Basic Education and TVET Examination explained.
“When a student misses an examination, he/she is already offside. However, it doesn’t mean that a student will not be promoted upon passing the rest. A student receives the result slip that indicates the done exams, but without the aggregate mark and grade,” Dr. Sebaganwa explained.
“The examiners cannot give a zero to a candidate who never sat for an examination, it is given to a candidate who sat for an examination and failed. The examiners leave space in the position of the missed exam on a result slip,” he added.
He pointed out that the automatic examination system does not rank a result slip with the blank space.
According to NESA’s report last week, at least 3,810 pupils missed their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) on the first day where two exams were written.
The reported figures are from different provinces across the country, excluding the City of Kigali.
According to the report, the Southern Province has 64,111 candidates registered for PLE exams 98.2% attended. This means 1.8% of the candidates representing 1,153 PLE candidates located in the Southern province missed the exams.
In the Eastern Province, Eric Muvunyi, the province’s Public Relations and Communication Officer told Kigali today that 891 candidates missed the exams.
According to Muvunyi, 65,918 candidates registered for national examinations from the seven districts, but only 65,027 attended. Among them, five candidates did their exams in isolation because they had tested positive for Covid-19.
“Some PLE candidates sit for mathematics because they missed what was done in the morning. However, they attended the following exams that were conducted in the afternoon exam which was social and religious studies. They will still be considered absentees,” Muvunyi said.
“The result-slip without aggregate mark has no weight, it can only indicate that a student attended and sat for some exams, but not very important because it doesn’t show the grade. If we decided to give the average of the only written exams, students can decide to boycott some examinations because they are sure of considering the average marks and ranking them,” Dr. Sebaganwa added.
“This tight examination system was designed to make sure that all candidates study hard and sit for all the examinations, otherwise, some students could intend to leave some papers because they don’t like them,” he explained.
In the Eastern Province, Kirehe district recorded the highest number of candidates who missed their exams with 213 absentees.
In the Western Province, 1,138 students also missed the PLE exam.
In the Northern Province, a total of 35,656 candidates registered for the exams in the five districts, 628 students did not attend the two first examinations.
In addition to missing the grading and aggregate mark, he said that the senior six candidates will not be given certificates, but the examination body(NESA) will issue a result-slip indicating the written exams and marks.
“Particularly for the senior six candidates, when a student misses an exam, he/she misses the chances of owning a certificate. This means the only alternative is to repeat the class,” Dr. Sebaganwa said.
According to NESA, the reports for the Ordinary , TVET and senior six candidates who missed national examinations will be released soon.
End of Term Marks to be Considered in national examinations grading
According to NESA, the government is planning to consider the end-of-term marks assessment for all the candidate classes during the national examination grading.
The system is reportedly pending and guided by the Competence-Based Curriculum (CBC).
“In the future, the government is planning to consider the end of term assessment marks during the national examination grading, but this will be implemented, after stabilizing of the marks assessment plans in schools. It is a pending plan designed in the CBC, this will be for all candidates,”Dr. Sebaganwa said.
“In this CBC exam system , the national examination body can decide to mark the national exam, for example on 70% and consider 30% for the end of term marks assessment. The CBC plans for this, but in the future,” Dr. Sebaganwa noted.
“This system makes sense, because a student may study for many years and be examined for one week to determine his/her future. Some could even come in the national exam when they are not fine,” he noted.
He did not mention when the end of term marks assessment will start to be used during the national examination grading.
This year, the National Examinations started with Vocational school practical exams, Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), and proceeded in Ordinary and Senior six level on 20 July, they will run up to August 2021.