Dar es Salaam. Half of the pupils who sat this year’s primary school examinations have passed, and will presumably proceed to secondary school, according to results announced yesterday.
The results, released by the National Examinations Council (Necta), show a significant improvement in student performance, being a 19.89 per cent improvement from 30.72 per cent last year.
Necta Acting Executive Secretary Dr Charles Msonde said 427, 606 out of 844,938 candidates who sat the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) scored above 100 out of the 250 mark set by the examinations coordination body.
This means that 50.61 per cent candidates scored well above the 100 mark and will be selected to join public secondary schools.
Of the 427,606 candidates who scored 100 and above marks, 208,227 (46.68 per cent) are females while 219,379 (55.01 per cent) are males.
Going by the Necta statistics, the 427, 606 students who passed got between grade A and C while the rest of the 417, 332 pupils scrambled for grade D and E.
Some 867,983 pupils were registered to sit the exams which for the second time were written on Optical Mark Reader (OMR), an electronic system rolled out by Necta to speed up the marking process and ensure accuracy.
Dr Msonde said 23,045 (2.66 per cent) of the registered candidates did not sit the final examinations owing to various reasons, including diseases and truancy.
Some 13, 264 (3.22 per cent of all candidates) males did not sit the examination while girls made up 2.15 per cent, about 9,781 of the candidates.
The council also nullified results of 13 pupils who cheated. Last year, results of 293 candidates were nullified on similar grounds.
Dr Msonde attributed the fall in the cheating rate to the use of computerized system in marking examinations.
The government introduced OMR last year with a view of cutting down costs associated with managing national examinations, and increasing accuracy and efficiency in the marking of examinations in the country.
OMR technology speeds up exam making and allows pupils to use special answer sheets that are subsequently marked by computers.
The introduction of OMR was met with strong opposition from players in the education sector, who feared that the system might end up producing pupils who do not know how to read and write for it doesn’t assess students’ ability academically. Yesterday, Dr Msonde spoke of what he described as great achievement in the use of the newly introduced OMR.
“The system has reduced time and manpower required in the marking process. Only 301 people participated in the examination marking process this year. We used 4,000 people before the coming of OMR,” said Dr Msonde.Apart from using the computerized system, Dr Msonda said the Council took a sample of 20,795 examination papers from 200 schools in nine regions that were marked manually and compared them with those marked by computers.
“We are glad that the comparisons of the two systems of marking showed that computerized marking was more effective than manual marking that had some human errors by 1.2 per cent,” he added. He added; “the marking of exams this year took only 16 days out of 30 days that were used before the introduction of the computerized system.”
Dr Msonde said according to result statistics, this year’s performance in all subjects that pupils did increased by between 6.01 per cent and 28.06 per cent compared to 2012 –in which there was good performance in Kiswahili (69.06 per cent) and the vice-versa in Mathematics (28.62 per cent).
Dr Msonde said Necta has accomplished its task of marking and the released results will be submitted to the responsible authorities which will have the responsibility of selecting suitable candidates to join secondary schools in 2014.
The 2012 results
Last year, about 560,706 students were selected to proceed with secondary school education out of 865,534 candidates who sat for the examinations.
Out of the 865,534 candidates, some 294,833 (52.58 per cent) candidates scored below grade C. This was due to massive failure in which only 265,873 (47.41 per cent) candidates scored A, B and C grades in the exams. According to the ministry of education the total marks are 250 and are graded; A (201-250), B (151-200), C (101-150), D (51-100) and E (0-50).