Social media, cause of failures in English in May/June 2015 WASSEC

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang (right),Minister of Education addressing participants. Photo: Victor Buxton

Prof. Opoku-Agyemang (right),Minister of Education addressing participants. Photo: Victor Buxton

The use of shorthand text and terminologies on social media networks such as whatsapp accounted for the poor performance of some students who sat for the May/June 2015 West African Senior Schools Certificate Examination(WASSCE), the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC)  has noted.

Addressing students at a West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Distinction Awards ceremony in Accra yesterday, Very Reverend Dr. Sam Nii Nmai Ollennu, the Head of WAEC, appealed to teachers of English language to intensify grammar lessons and sensitise students on the use of shorthand text.

The report  cited spelling mistakes, mixed present and past tenses throughout student’s essays, and also wrong use of capital and lower case letters.

He expressed worry that though recommendations on weaknesses and strengths of candidates in certain subjects were distributed to senior high schools, they (the institutions) failed to tackle the problems as the same mistakes were repeated every year.

Although last year’s result was an improvement over that of 2014, the WAEC said the students again demonstrated their weaknesses in their limited vocabulary which made them unable to answer the questions satisfactorily.

That aside, the report said some candidates showed good understanding in mathematics in three  areas- solving questions on sets and construction, representing inequalities on number lines and solving statistical problems.

However, examiners reported that the candidates manifested weaknesses in conversation of bases to indices, solving geometry questions, deriving equations from word problems as well as use of diagrams to solve triogometric problems.

Similarly, he said the chief mathematics examiner report for 2015 in particular, indicted that the candidates demonstrated lack of ability to use mathematical concepts to solve problems in logical reasoning, probability theory and operating decimals without using calculators.

The head of the national office advised students to plan the time they used in answering questions.

Teachers, he said should pay attention to logical reasoning, plane geometry and triogometry.

On examination malpractices, he urged cooperation between the council and institutions saying that “we wish to pledge that we will put in the necessary arrangements to ensure the examinations are conducted successfully”.

By Malik Sullemana 

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