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This is neither my first nor second experience as a West African Examination Council (WAEC) examiner.
Over the years, as part of my teaching experience, I have been marking candidates scripts in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) organized by WAEC and the experience has not eased to remind me how urgently our entire educational system needs to be overhauled if we must catch up with the rest of the world.
The coordination (discussing the marking guide thoroughly with other examiners) for this year’s marking started over the weekend (Friday through Sunday) and active marking of scripts commenced on Monday for me.
I have been marking Chemistry Theory (Paper2) in previous years. However, this year, I decided to mark Chemistry Practical (Paper 3) in order to dot some I’s and cross some T’s in my chemistry practical teachings.
As a teacher, it is always good to have some experience in the marking and assessment methods of whatever examination you are preparing students for. It makes you weed out the irrelevant things in your teaching while concentrating on the relevant areas.
WAEC exam coordination and marking is no doubt, a very stressful experience. Also, our unorganised system of doing things makes it more tedious and stressful.
Despite the stress involved, it is an experience I am proud to be part of. Marking WAEC exams has truly made me a better teacher.
My participation in the marking over time has made me to generally focus on the basics in chemistry as a subject. The experience has also enhanced my delivery skills, making the subject not only attractive, but also enjoyable and easy to understand by my students.
Truly, the benefits derived by my students outweighs the stress and other challenges I might have faced while participating in the marking.
Wait! before I forget! We don’t do the coordination and marking for free o. Yes! We are paid for it, though I would like the WAEC body to increase the pay and make the exercise more financially rewarding.
Anyway, while the WAEC authorities work on that, let me continue…….
One of the deficiencies I discovered while participating in marking practical chemistry is that some teachers, especially those who do not participate in the marking do not know the basic requirement especially with respect to passing WAEC conducted examinations. As a result, their students make avoidable mistakes and consequently, do not do well in the exams.
From the teachers’ report sheets that are filled and enclosed within the examination centers scripts, you see some teachers making some obvious mistakes and these mistakes are also reflected in the candidates scripts.
Though our current educational system may not be consistent with periodic personnel (teachers’) development and training, however, I think it is high time teachers took it upon themselves to participate in career/teaching skills development programmes/activities.
I know that many teachers are doing that already and that’s quite commendable.
However, it always pays to develop and upgrade yourself periodically, irrespective of your career choice.
That very lucrative opportunity might not have come yet, but with constant periodic self development, whenever such great opportunities come, they will meet you already prepared.
As they say, luck is simply opportunity meeting preparedness!
Lest I forget that I am not done marking all my scripts. Off I go to continue my marking before my team leader thinks I am too slow.