Grade 7 performance ranking system questioned

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STAKEHOLDERS in the education sector have described the schools’ Grade 7 performance ranking system as unfair and misleading, adding that it also promoted malpractices in teaching practices.

By Phyllis Mbanje

A Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) official, Ebba Masiri, recently disclosed that some primary schools were now being shunned because of their low rankings based on Grade 7 results.

“Low ranking schools fail to attract pupils and teachers and according to research carried out, some teachers felt the rankings could fuel examination malpractice,” Masiri said.

Presenting a paper during the recently held conference of Southern Africa Association for Educational Assessment, Masiri said during the research, it had been established that some provincial and district authorities had even blamed the school teachers and their heads for the low rankings.

“They ignored other factors that might impact on the results and in some instances schools were ordered to set and administer tests and submit monthly reports in an effort to improve results,” she said.

This demoralised the teachers who were now calling on Zimsec to consider school enrolments and settings when analysing Grade Seven results.

“These settings should include school size, financial and material resources,” Masiri noted.

The research was carried out to establish the perceptions of primary school teachers on school rankings based on Grade 7 results, with a view to inform stakeholders in education on the interpretation and use of the rankings.

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