Kaieteur News

July 7, 2004

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The results of this year’s Secondary School Entrance Examinations (SSEE) was made public last week and more than 17,000 students countrywide who wrote the exam were awarded schools based on the marks they received.

But how are these marks tabulated?

According to Administrator of the Secondary School Reform Project, (SSRP) Walter Alexander, the highest possible total score that could have been attained at this year’s Secondary School’s Entrance Examination is 562.

And on the other hand, even if a student had all the answers wrong in the entire examination, that student would still receive a score of 288.

Why is this so?

According to Alexander this is because for the last twenty years the Measurement and Evaluation Unit (formerly known as the Test Development Unit) has been using a method of ‘standardized scores’.

A student’s actual score or raw score is converted by a formula to a standardised score. The formula takes into account the mean (or average) performance in each subject of all the candidates. Below is a table showing the conversion of raw scores to standardized scores in each of the four subjects (English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies) for selected performances from the minimum raw score of 0 to the maximum raw score of 60.

According to the table above, a score of less than 425 marks (which corresponds to the total for raw score of 30 per subject) indicates that the pupil has on the average gained less than half of the questions correct.

Therefore, a score of 425 marks or more indicates that on the average, the pupil has at least half of the work correct. Again a score of less than 356 marks means that on the average, a candidate has less than a quarter of the questions correct. On the other hand, a child with a score of about 500 marks or more means that she/he gave correct answers on the average to at least 75% of the questions.

Alexander said, consequently the children with scores under 400 marks need to do much remedial work as they are admitted to form one of a secondary school.

“It must be emphasized that they must master reading skills in order to grapple with the various subjects in their secondary schools. Also, once their Mathematics score is less than 100 marks, it means that much basic Mathematics is yet to be mastered,” he said.

Alexander extended congratulations to the many students (and their teachers) that performed well at this year’s examination, adding that parents of these children must be commended.