Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE November 2015 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) Ordinary Level results are out with the national pass rate improving by five percent on 2014 statistics.
Masvingo had the highest pass rate of 31,9 percent followed by Midlands and Manicaland. Mashonaland East recorded the least percentage pass rate of 22,98 percent.
Candidates did better in Mathematics and Science subjects in 2015 than in the prior year. Boys last year managed to break girls’ dominance over them, the Zimsec analysis on the basis of gender shows.
Grades D and E are now considered as passes. Traditionally pass grades were A, B and C while D, E and U were fails. This year, a candidate who attained grade C is said to have passed with a credit – a mark considered above an ordinary pass.
The results show an increased pass rate from last year’s 22,38 to 27,86 percent with 50,79 percent of the total candidates passing five subjects with grade E or better.
Zimsec director, Esau Nhandara, said in a statement yesterday that the results are ready for collection and have been dispatched to regional offices.
“Examination centre heads have started collecting the results from Zimsec regional offices. We look forward to the usual smooth and expeditious collection of results,” said Nhandara.
“At this level candidates who obtain a grade E in a subject are considered to have passed and are given a certificate grade. Candidates who obtain grade C in a subject are considered to have passed the subject with a credit.”
In the analysis candidates are described in two parts, one being ‘school candidates’, the second being the ‘private candidates’.
Nhandara said there was an increase in the percentage pass rate for school candidates from last year’s 22, 38 to 27, 46 this year.
“The total number of candidates who sat for the November 2015 O-Level examination was 310,917.
“School candidates who wrote five or more subjects were 156, 418 and 43, 581 obtained Grade C or better in 5 or more subjects, yielding a 27,86 percent pass rate,” said Nhandara.
“Of the 176, 657 school candidates, 156, 418 wrote five subjects and above resulting in 79,457 passing five or more subjects with a grade E or better.
This translates to a pass rate of 50, 79 percent. For private candidates, out of the 134, 260 candidates, a total of 9, 055 passed at least five subjects, yielding a pass rate of 38, 97 percent at grade E or better”.
He said there was a total of 23,235 private candidates who wrote five or more subjects and 2,791 obtained Grade C or better in five or more subjects, which also translates into a percentage pass rate of 12, 01.
“The rise in the pass rates for the November 2015 examinations,” said Nhandara, “could be attributed to a number of factors, such as the Education Development Fund (EDF), the then Education Transition Fund (ETF) where in 2011 and 2012 all secondary schools received textbook kits. There was a one to one textbook-pupil ratio and these resources were used from Form 1 up to Form 4. The cohort of learners who used these books from Form 1 to Form 4 were those who wrote examinations in 2015. These learners had all the basic textbooks from Form 1 to Form 4.
“In addition to the EDF programme, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education mounted workshops in provinces, districts and even at cluster level through the Better Schools Programme. All these efforts were meant to improve teaching and learning processes in schools. The issue of having qualified teachers in secondary schools cannot be ignored as a contributing factor to improved learner performance during the November 2015 examinations.”
Explaining why boys performed better than girls, he said this could be because of biological factors to do with maturity.
“Another notable factor is that female learners engage in domestic chores after school more than their male counterparts and that retards them in studying. There is need for research to be conducted to establish why male candidates perform better than female candidates.”
But the Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Richard Gundani yesterday said he was hearing of the new grading system for the first time.
“We find it strange. As veteran educationists we know that an E is only considered as a pass at A Level.”
He said Zimsec should clarify what the new system entails in terms of seeking jobs and proceeding to Advanced Level.
Nhandara said the leakage of a Mathematics paper was contained and did not affect the rest of the candidates.
“With that in mind, we’re pleased to note that the leakage of the Mathematics paper in November 2015 was restricted to a small geographical area that is Harare and Seke.
“In this case 41 people were implicated and convicted. However, it’s prudent to note that of these, only 14 were registered candidates,” said Nhandara.
He said the 14 candidates have since had all their examination results cancelled and are banned from sitting any Zimsec examination for the next two years, along with the penalties issued out by the courts of law.
According to the analysis by the examination mother body, there was a significant improvement in Mathematics (5,17 percent), Integrated Science (10,62 percent) and Physical Science (10,34 percent).
These improvements are in line with the government’s thrust in the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.