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UPDATED: WAEC adopts CBT for conduct of SSCE

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The management of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has announced the adoption of the Computer-Based Test (CBT) mode in the conduct of the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).

This is contained in a statement released on Monday by the Public Affairs Unit of WAEC and signed by its acting head, Moyosola Adesina.

According to the statement, the new innovation will kick off with the conduct of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates in February 2024.

The statement reads in part: “In line with global best practices, the Nigeria National Office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) wishes to inform the general public, and all its stakeholders, that it has concluded plans to migrate its WASSCE for Private Candidates Examination Diets from Paper and Pencil Test to Computer Based Examination (CBE).”

Existing mode

Unlike the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) which migrated the conduct of its annual Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)- the entrance examination into Nigerian tertiary institutions, to the CBT mode long ago, WAEC had consistently cited the nature of its examination and especially the number of subjects and practicals involved as part of the impediments.

The 72-year-old institution is the oldest examination body in the West African sub-region and has consistently maintained its integrity as its results are accepted by global institutions for admission and other opportunities.

However, since its establishment, WAEC had adopted the Paper-Pencil Test mode to conduct its examinations, and has done that consistently for more than 70 years.

The past heads of the agency including the recently retired Head of Nigeria’s National Office, Patrick Areghan, the type of examinations conducted by WAEC are not those it described as “ranking examinations”.

According to these WAEC officials, ranking examinations such as those conducted by JAMB, which they said only group candidates based on their performance for such purpose of admissions into tertiary institutions.

They said WASSCE does more than that as it assesses the performance of candidates on what they had been thought in six years. “WASSCE involves the conduct of practical examinations including demonstration such as drawing, identification, cooking, among others.”

There are also the issues of the availability of technology infrastructure, especially for the school-based diets, and the number of days involved.

“A single subject like English and Mathematics will have like three papers. So it schools that could not provide common desks for students to sit that would now provide available computers, and other tools necessary for the conduct of CBT,” one of the WAEC officials who did not want to be quoted, had told PREMIUM TIMES in the past when the debate came up.

New model

Following advancements in technology, WAEC said it is set to pioneer the adoption of CBT in the conduct of assessment examinations.

WAEC said the first series of the CBT mode will commence with WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2024 – First Series, “which is slated to hold in February 2024.”

Modalities

WAEC said while the “Objective Tests” will be fully computer-based, “the Essay and Test of Practical papers will be hybrid, in which the examination questions will be delivered on screen and candidates required to write answers on the answer booklets given to them.”

“Furthermore, the examination will be conducted in urban centres/cities and candidates with special needs have been factored into the plan. Registration for the examination will commence on Monday, December 18, 2023,” WAEC announced.

The examination body has, therefore, promised to hold a mock examination so that willing candidates can familiarise themselves with the new examination platform. It said the trial examination will be conducted before the commencement of the main examination, and has advised the prospective candidates to “hone their computer skills and be fully prepared to embrace this innovation.”

“As Africa’s foremost examining body, providing qualitative and reliable educational assessment, encouraging academic and moral excellence, it is the vision of the Council that in the near future, all its examinations will be delivered via the computer,” WAEC wrote.

culled from Premium Times


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