Social Studies Weaknesses of BECE Candidates, Question they could not answer from 2017-2019
BECE 2017-2019 Social Studies questions candidates couldn’t answer as expected of them must engage the attention of all Junior High School final year students who are preparing for the 2021 examinations.
Candidates of the 2021 BECE and Social Studies teachers must know that candidates need to explain points when required and support them with examples when available. This effort earns students extra marks especially with questions that demand some amount of narratives. Mere points do not attract full marks.
Sadly the 2017 to 2019 chief examiners reports revealed this and several weakness that affects the total score of students. WAEC has indicated in the reports that candidates could not answer questions on particular topics. This they attributed to the possibility of teachers not being able to complete the syllabus. It is also possible that teacher under estimated the topics and so did not teach them extensively making the candidates lack the needed information and knowledge to effectively answer such questions.
The fact that candidates could not answer these questions means WAEC can repeat such questions or give similar questions from the same topics.
In this write up, we will share with our 2021 BECE candidates and teachers the set of questions, weaknesses of candidates identified by WAEC as the reasons why students fail to make good grades in the subject. This will be followed by suggested remedies to help candidates and teachers prepare adequately for the impending examination.
According to the 2019 chief examiner’s report on Social Studies paper two, the following weaknesses of candidates to were identified.
Students had difficulties in answering questions on the following areas:
(i) Explanation on how direction can be shown using the cardinal points but not with the compass.
Students need to improve on their use of the cardinal points to give accurate direction. Teaches should take this mapping our environment topic very serious and help students appreciate the concept.
(ii) The use of abbreviations in naming the cardinal points instead of the full tests.
The first two questions demand students to be able to master the four cardinal points then study the pattern of how the additional four new cardinal points are written. This will help students to be able to sketch the 8 cardinal points and able them accurately.
(iii) Definition of national integrity. The topic needs to be well thought and studied by students since it is an important aspect of the syllabus which students can be examined on.
(iv) Difficulty in expressing themselves in English Language.
(v) Inability to expound on points to attract full marks. Thus students who sat for the 2019 BECE Social Studies paper lacked the ability to write full sentence answers that were self-explanatory. Fir instance if the question demands students to give three importance of Mining to the economy of Ghana student provided answers such as
- Creation of employment
- Foreign exchange for the country
- Taxes paid to the government.
For such a question the following are among the best answers if students are to get the full marks
- It leads to the creation of jobs for geologists, drillers, crane operators and others which helps them to earn income to take care of their families.
- Government of Ghana exports minerals such as Gold and diamond to other countries for sale which bring in foreign exchange for developing the country.
- Workers and mining companies such as Ashanti Gold pay monthly and yearly taxes to the government of Ghana which is used to provide social amenities for communities.
The chief examiner noticed that, schools do not complete the syllabus before candidates sit the examination.
Again, candidates performed poorly in the social studies paper because they do not read their text books or notes very well. If students read more materials on the same topic from different sources, their understanding will increase.
Teachers were also charged to cover the Social and Economic developments in Ghana aspect of the syllabus if their candidates are to perform better in the examination.
Remedies for subsequent improvement of performance should include:
(i) Devoting time to the reading of relevant literature and novel to improve expression.
(ii) Social Studies teachers should cover all sections of the syllabus particularly the
Social and Economic developments in Ghana.
(iii) Candidates must work towards expounding points where required to earn more
In 2018, the chief examiner discovered that candidates had serious spelling problem as they could not spell key words in their answers.
Again most candidates did not understand instructional words in the questions such as Outline, Describe and State.
Topics students had challenges with included Conflict management, Characteristics of the North East trade winds in Ghana, Effects of North – East trade winds, International co-operation.
- Candidates need to be helped to improve on their command of the English language.
- Teachers are to treat all topics in the syllabus before candidates write the examination.
- Candidates need to practice with past questions
- Candidates should be guided to write their answers in meaningful sentences and expound on them where necessary.
If you mention good points but fail to expand or explain them and support them with excellent examples, you are likely to make very low scores and grades in the long run. The 2018 chief examiners report just as the 2017 and 2019 showed BECE candidates were not providing complete and convincing answers to questions. Wrong spelling remains a major problem. Teachers need to help their students to learn to spell key words in each chapter. Once you can spell key words in every chapter, you are better positioned to pass the examination as these are the words you need to use in putting your answers across.
Practicing with pass questions and learning to write answers that are complete and clear without grammatical errors must be the target of all 2021 BECE candidates.
Candidates should first read the rubrics, understand and apply the rules governing the paper.
Teachers of the subject should run candidates through the rubrics of the paper especially final year candidates for them to be conversant with the challenge of not observing the rubrics.
More exercises should be given to candidates for practice and the use of past question papers would be helpful.
Teachers should assist candidates to expound on points when required. This effort is rewarded by extra marks especially with questions that demand some amount of narratives. Mere points do not attract full marks.
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