Bring back BECE cut-off point, sponsor failed students to resit not Free SHS

2020 school placement

Since the 2017 BECE, cut-off points for grades and raw scores obtained have been taken off. Being the necessary evil that prevented many graduates from Basic School from continuing their education, government in 2017 deemed it wise to do away with cut-off points.

In education, a Cut-off point or score indicates the lowest score or grade that a student needs to obtain is any standardized test or assessment to be deemed to have passed or obtained the least level of proficient.

How do we continue to admit students who in the real sense of examinations have failed the exams in Senuior High Schools. Many of these students may fail the  WASSCE and we would not have achieved anything with the country’s scare resources invested in them.

Across the world, many world class examinations for the purposes of progression have cut-off points to ensure the minimum grades are obtained to merit progress.

The situation where students obtaining grades above aggregate 30 and as high as aggregate 45 gaining admission to Senior High School has not helped us.

READ: 30 Years of BECE: WAEC must build new competence and leverage IT

When BECE graduates with aggregates above up to 45 end up in SHS, we are giving our SHS teachers much trouble than they can handle because these basic school graduates have terrible foundations, lack the basic concepts and so building on such super weak foundations becomes a tedious task. 

It is time to bring back the BECE cut-off point and rather sponsor students who failed to make the grades to take the BECE resit. Should they pass, we can then assist them to benefit from the Free SHS.

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Bring back the BECE to SHS Cut-off point as it is not meant to deny students education. Can our aggregate 35 up to 45 students in SHS compete with their colleagues in other parts of the world? Not even their counterparts from Nigeria.

Students who have taken the BECE over the last few years have not been that serious with making the grades. After all, a poor grade could still get you admission to a public senior school unless you score 9 in either Integrate Science or Mathematics. 

Head teachers in public senior high schools are not excited about this development, but what can they do? Students with very poor grades  exceeding 40 are admitted into schools.

There is a school of thought moving the admission cut off to say aggregate 30 or the raw scores for admission to 370 for instance will affect many students in public basic schools in both the cities and rural schools hence the current practice of free for all must continue.

If that it the case, it will be prudent that government improves basic education by providing the enabling teaching and learning environment for rural areas and less-endowed schools. Basic education is suffering and we need as a country to give the right foundation to our youngsters so that they can make the right grade irrespective of their location in the country.

By human nature, when an activity is competitive, our efforts are doubled and we want to excel, the reverse holds. Bring back the cutoff point could help deal with the current situation where those with huge grades or very low raw scores gain admission.

It is also possible for Ghana Education Service and the National Inspectorate Board (NAB) to grade all schools at the basic level and use this to create a cutoff point.  For instance, all schools in say grade C could have cut-off points that for students in such schools. Which will differ from that of schools put in say Grade B.

Another option is to have a cutoff point for schools in the hinterland, which is different for schools in the cities.

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We need to prune Free SHS admission and bring a cutoff point if we want to have students with the basic pass in our Senior High School.

Universities must in their 2020 admissions raise their entry requirements to avoid the likelihood of admitting student whose output does not match their true academic strength, especially as some examination questions have been leaked.

Education and its related progression from one level to the other is an incremental process. If the foundation is weak, it will mess up one day. Bring the cut of point, resource teachers and schools and challenge the students to give off themselves. The no cut of point posture for free SHS is low and inimical to academic competition at the BECE level.


Source: Wisdom Hammond | Leadership expert, Educationist and Freelancer | [email protected]

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See also  Placing Professional Teachers on Non-professional Scale for 3 years is the Worst Injustice (Opinion) 



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