The Institute For Education Studies (IFEST) has asserted that the performance of students in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) cannot be attributed to the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.
The results indicate improvements in the performance of the English Language and Mathematics as compared to 2019, whereas Integrated Science and Social Studies saw a decline in the performance of candidates.
The results, which were released on Friday, November 13, 2020, have sparked arguments among some Ghanaians, many of which claim the Free SHS policy has lowered the standard of education the students received.
But the Executive Director of IFEST, Peter Anti insists that the outcome of the Free SHS policy must be observed for a number of years before drawing a correlation between the quality of education under the policy and the performance of WASSCE candidates.
“One year is woefully inadequate to make any policy decision or judgment. Those who want to make political capital out of it can do that, but professionally, it is not right to make a policy judgment on a big policy like the free SHS within a year.”
“Whatever results we had this year can be attributed to so many factors. How then do you know what exactly to attribute it to? Look out for the next two to three years, then you can do a longitudinal analysis of the results of students that were solely admitted unto the free SHS stream,” he added.
He further drummed home his point that “until the policy is studied for some time, judgments on its impact on student performance will be inaccurate. Analysing last year and this year’s results, it will be realised that last year’s came in with an average minimum aggregate of 38, whereas this year’s came in with a minimum of 54. You cannot even compare the two. We need to professionally take our time and follow the policy for a little more time to be able to make a very robust, conclusive judgment on it,” he said.
WAEC last week released the provisional results of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination.
The Council in a statement said the students’ performance in English and Mathematics increased in 2020 as compared to 2019 while performance in Integrated Science and Social studies dipped in 2020 compared to the previous year.
English Language – 48.96% in 2019 to 57.34% in 2020.
Mathematics (Core) – 65.31% in 2019 to 65.71% in 2020.
Integrated Science – 63.17% in 2019 to 52.53% in 2020.
Social Studies – 75.43% in 2019 to 64.31% in 2020.
A total of 375,763 candidates from 976 schools sat for the examination representing “8.6% higher than the 2019 candidates of 346,098. The 2020 entry figure was made up of 187,581 (49.9%) males and 188,182 (50.1%) females.”