THE West African Examinations Council, WAEC, has disclosed, it’s high time secondary school students started preparing to write the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations, WASSCE, through Computer Based Test, CBT.

This came as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Liberia, Mr Augustine Ngafuan urged WAEC to introduce Group-Work in classroom into their marking scheme.

Speaking with journalists during WAEC’s 20th Annual Endowment Fund Lecture held at Multipurpose Hall, WAEC International Office in Ikeja, Lagos, WAEC Registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae said: “WAEC is ready to adopt technology based method in conducting its examinations across West African countries.”

The Registrar who noted that the WAEC new international office in Lagos is equipped with internet facilities that can accommodate over 350 candidates per sitting, said JAMB used the centre in the just concluded UTME. He said that the centre was specially designed for candidates writing aptitude tests.

To achieve the goal of conducting credible examinations in West Africa through the use of CTB, Uwadiae said the challenge with the adoption of the CBT is not the theoretical questions it sets. He, however seeks for the cooperation of secondary schools in submitting genuine continuous practical assessment results of their candidates to the examination body.

Asked when he hopes to commence the CBT, he averred that WAEC doesn’t rush its decisions, stressing that the highest examination body in West Africa has been conducting CBT exams in one way or the other for years.

He explained: “But we must know that we conduct achievement test not selection test, we have to take our time to implement error-free examinations. We must also understand that because WAEC has five member countries, we have to consider each country’s capacity to move in the same direction before adopting a particular mode.”

Meanwhile, the guest lecturer, Mr Augustine Ngafuan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Liberia, in his speech urged WAEC to adopt a system whereby students performance during SSCE will not only be evaluated by what they can do as individuals but also by their performance during group work in school.

“What WAEC and school authorities could do to contribute to the holistic preparation of the youth before SSCE is to promote the value of team work in testing evaluation systems.” He said.

According to him, WAEC as it is structured now, assess the performance of students as individuals urging that consideration should be given to performance of students in groups. Evaluating students performance as individuals, he noted, reveals that at the end of the day, it is what you do as individual that counts and not what you do as a group.

Consequently, he said that every student knows by and large that his destiny is in his own hands. “The positive side of this is that it makes the student cultivate the attitude of independence or individualism which is useful for survival,” he added.

The Minister, however informed that the unintended consequence of this experience on individual performance and assessment is that the student will also develops an attitude of selfishness and in some cases arrogance.

Giving examples to drive home his point, Ngafuan said in the job world, our performance or destiny is affected by the actions or inactions of others. “Many tasks have to be executed in teams in which there are smart people and those who are not smart. Managers, especially officials of government appointed into a new positions, usually have  problems managing already recruited staff. If you are to succeed your team is as strong as its weakest link.”

According to him, some people who have academic excellence, do perform woefully on the job, because when they were in school they did every thing all alone to earn academic excellence.

“In order to encourage team works and skills in youth, WAEC working with school administrators can derive a system whereby a student’s final score in WAEC exam is the combination of his scores plus an extra point that takes into consideration group or team performance. Thus, the student’s final score becomes an aggregate of the individual score in an exam, plus the score of the team which the student was a member.” Ngafuan proffered.

He maintained that such evaluation scheme placing premium on team work will make students look out for each other. Knowing full well that their fates are tied to an organ of mutuality.

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