The BECE Grading System Committee Report: Implications for Minimum Educational Qualifications for Basic Education Certificate
In spite of the low attainment obtained by pupils at the end of primary education in Criterion Referenced Tests (CRT), the performances of these pupils at the end of junior secondary education, as evidenced by results of the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE), were surprisingly normal. Some heads of senior secondary schools (SSS) and concerned educators in the country have observed that there is no match between the apparently high achievement of pupils in the BECE and their performance at the SSS level, and for that reason criticized the validity of the BECE. These criticisms led to the setting up of a committee by the Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to examine the BECE and its grading system and make recommendation for its improvement. The committee found the norm-referenced grading system with the percentage passes already fixed (also referred to as the „Stanine‟ system) which was used in the BECE as the major cause of the inefficiencies. It recommended in its place the use of a flexible 9-scale criterion referenced grading system that will reflect variations in the performances of pupils from year to year. The success of the new grading system will depend largely on clearly defined list of grade descriptions for critical grades identified (i.e. Grades 2, 6 and 8). This presentation examines the need to specify the grade descriptions that should match the lowest critical grade (i.e. grade 8), which may be considered as the minimum educational qualifications for basic education.
Keyword: norm-referenced grading system, stanine‟ grading system, basic education, minimum basic education qualification
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