Raising quality is more important than pass rate | 2018-05-10 | daily-sun.com

Raising quality is more important than pass rate

Masum Billah

    10 May, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Raising quality is more important than pass rate

It’s true that we have made some remarkable progresses in the field of education in the last one decade. Similarly it is also true that we have created some problems here that overshadows the development in this area.  The primary and secondary levels are very important tiers for strengthening the basics of education of the learners that calls for skilled teachers, suitable environment, sound teacher recruitment policy, good infrastructure. Unfortunately, in respect of each of this aspect we have serious gap and lacking. In the midst of this gap our course of education continues and public examination which is one of the components of education has been taking place as usual.  As part of this chain, on 6 May the results of SSC and equivalent examinations of this year were published with some usual and unusual questions. The pass rate is 77.77 in all the ten education boards including technical and madrasa boards. Last year this rate was 80.35 percent that means 2.58 percent less pass rate this year. Of course the number of GPA-5 holders has increased by 5,868 than the previous year. The number of GPA-5 achievers under the eight boards is 102,845, while 4,413 under the technical education board and 3,371 under the Madrasha board. The SSC and its equivalent examinations began across the country on February 1 and ended on February 26 while the practical exams continued until March 4.

With the introduction of Multiple Choice Questions in our examination system the results have started witnessing huge pass rate. However, it came to an ebb when creative questions were introduced. This downward trend of results soon changed its course by some unknown reasons. The higher pass rates and GPA-5 flooded the public examination results even though students don’t understand what creative question is, teachers cannot develop creative questions. This year’s results show the lowest pass percentage than the previous nine years. The board authorities and people in education identified the reasons of it. First reason they have identified the low pass rate in Mathematics and English as these two subjects are harder than other ones. In Dhaka Board students passed in English less than six percent and four percent in Mathematics than the previous year, in Chattogram Board two percent in English and three percent less in Mathematics, in Jessore Board six percent less in English. The lowest pass percentage is in Sylhet this year. It is 70.42percent. Students of this board failed five percent more in English and 15 percent more in Mathematics than the last year. These factors have influenced this year’s results. In Dinajpur Board nineteen thousand students have failed only in English this year. In ten boards total 20 lakh 26 thousand 574 students appeared and passed 15lakh 76thousand 104students. Out of them one lakh ten thousand 629 students got GPA-5 and this figure was one lakh four thousand 761 in last year.

The interest for science study has increased and girls ‘pass rate is greater than boys but the rural and urban gap continues widening. This year girls’ pass rate is 78.85 and boys 76.71 percent but boys outnumber girls in obtaining GPA-5.  Fifty four thousand 928 girls got GPA-5and 55 thousand 701 boys managed GPA-5.  Last year no students failed from one thousand 574 educational institutions while this number is 882 this year. Not a single student passed from sixteen educational institutions last year but this number is one hundred nine this year which is really a matter of concern. In urban areas students study mostly in science and commerce group whereas in rural areas most students study in arts groups and pass percentage of arts group is 69 percent that also has affected the overall results.

In Cumilla Education Board the pass percentage was 59.03 last year that has suddenly jumped into 80.40 this year that means 21.37 percent increase. It seems beyond normal course of action. Many factors such as the change of teachers, environmental change, the way of teaching, change of curriculum, student motivation, teacher motivation, and change questions contribute to better the results. Without any research or intensive care how is it possible to bring about such kind of sudden change in the results evoke questions. If this change takes place only through one decision taken purposefully or whimsically, that must be a matter of serious concern and it bears an ill omen in our educational field.

Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (BEDU) started evaluating answer scripts in a different way. According to this system, three head examiners are invited just the day on which the examination of a subject is completed. These examiners develop three types of answers such as good, mediocre and low quality. Taking it as a model twenty examiners further develop one answer script following them as a model and demonstrates what sort of writing will get good, middle and lower marks separately. The rest of the examiners are asked to do the same. Examiners are asked to award marks following this model and sample answers. Education Minister says BEDU analysis shows that students usually get poor marks in MCQ parts but good marks in writing part. It definitely gives us a warning. Teachers or examiners cannot give marks to the students in the MCQ part if the answer is not correct. In MCQ when they cannot answer correctly, they are not given marks. But in writing part it is alleged that examiners give marks without going through the answers even if they are wrong or irrelevant. However, the proper implementation of BEDU initiative across the country   can minimise this gap.

The examinations, held in February, were marred by widespread allegations of question leak that drew fierce criticisms and it was detected that the questions of twelve out of seventeen subjects were leaked and the Ministry of Education told the nation the examinations would be retaken if the allegation of leakage got proved. However, it was not done considering that negligible number of students received leakage benefit and arranging examinations  again for twenty lakh students is really  a gigantic task and it’s an extra burden for the students. It’s a reality that all the examinees will not get GPA-5 or A- and some will even fail. That does not necessarily mean that the failed students have not merit. They have different kind of talent that remains unexplored and undiscovered in the running method. Actually, the current method of evaluation cannot explore their real talent. When we look at the life of the celebrities and famous individuals we find their academic life was not so shiny but they have shined in their lives. Today’s failed students may have tremendous achievement in their next part of life. However, for the time being they may have some bad feelings. Today students and their guardians remain busy and anxious to manage GPA-5 as without these results better educational institutions will not allow them to apply for admission. This area calls for revision. When the results of the public examinations do not usually reflect the hidden and real talents of the learners, so GPA-5 must not be made as a criteria to enroll students in the institutions. Rather an ordinary score should be considered for application and through genuine admission test score students should be selected. When it will be done the guardians, students and teachers will not vie for and hanker after GPA-5 avoiding the path of real learning.

The writer works for BRAC Education Programme