THE National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA) has defended its grading system following widespread discontent among stakeholders on the just-released National Form Four Examinations 2013 results.
NECTA released results of last year’s Form Four last Saturday exams based on the new grade range system, showing that 58.25 per cent of candidates passed, which is an improvement compared to 43.08 per cent in 2012.
The new system aims at reducing the huge backlog of scores in one grade. Examination results for 2012 showed massive failures among the candidates in which more than a half, 204,093 out of 397,136 candidates who sat for the exams, posted Division Zero.
NECTA Acting Executive Secretary Dr Charles Msonde told a news conference in Dar es Salaam that the grade ranges used for the 2013 examinations aim at placing students with similar capability in one group to differentiate them from other groups.
The NECTA official further explained that the examination body has for long been using five grades until last year when it started using seven grades for the Certificate of Secondary Examinations Council (CSEEE), commonly referred to as National Form Four examinations.
“The council started using the new grading system which involves seven grades of A, B+, B, C, D, E and F, different from the system of five grades (A, B, C, D and F) that the council has been using for many years until 2012,” he said; adding that the new system aims at improving overall performance.
Dr Msonde elaborated further that grading system differs from one country to another, depending on the needs of a particular country.
“In Kenya, for instance, they have 12 grades while in Malawi, Uganda as well as Western African countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia they have nine grades,” he explained.
According to Dr Msonde, the lowest pass mark in the new system of grading is grade D while the highest pass mark is grade A; thus a candidate will be considered to have passed if he/she scores grade D and above, while those scoring grade E and F will be considered to have failed.
“According to the examination regulations, passing of exam with A to C will be a pass for credit and grade D will be considered as a pass, while grade E and F will be allocated as failures,” he clarified.
Regarding overall performance, Dr Msonde cited article 20 (1)-(6) of Examination Regulations whereby; pass in division one to three is arranged by considering the total number of passing points.
In the same development he said, pass in division four is arranged by considering the lowest pass mark (grade D) that the candidate has scored in subjects not less than two or passing in the range which is not below C grade in one subject.
He added that division One comprise 7-17 points, division Two comprise 18-24 points, division three comprise 25-31 points, division four comprise a pass in one subject which is not below C grade or pass with grade D in not less than two subjects and division zero comprise score less than two D grades.