The West African Examinations Council said on Saturday that its maiden Computer Based Test for West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination first series for private candidates would eliminate the major source of examination malpractice.
Council’s Head of National Office, Dr, Amos Josiah Dangut, said this when he monitored the examination in Lagos.
Recall that the council had stated its readiness to conduct the maiden edition of the WASSCE first series for private candidates, using the CBT platform.
The examination commenced on January 31 and would be concluded on February 17.
Dangut said that prior to the introduction of the CBT, the contents of the examination were usually let out before the test through some mischief makers who might have a role to play during the examination.
He said: “So, I think with the introduction of this CBT, the issue of candidates having fore knowledge before the commencement of the examination will largely have been eliminated.
“It can no longer be business as usual.
“The major avenue, source of leakage, where we used to have supervisors carry these question papers from one point to the other will no longer obtain.
“When I say leakage, I mean the tearing of the bag containing the examination questions and sneaking out one.
“So, with this new concept, this will never happen.
“Again, you can see with the sitting arrangements that the candidates are also separated with cubicles that will not enable them to engage in any form of examination malpractice, coupled with the fact that they have to be dealing with different subjects at the point in time.”
The council boss explained that given the CBT mode of examination, one does not need a special software to check examination malpractice because the questions vary from one candidate to the other.
Dangut said that so far, the process had been encouraging as there had not been any reported case of infraction or technical hitch recorded across the designated centres for the examination nationwide.
According to him, the council prepared well, did a lot of sensitisation, and gave the candidates the opportunity to try hands-on before the commencement of the examination.
He said that power supply would not affect the examination as the council had made two alternative arrangements outside public supply.
The HNO said that power was critical in choosing all the centres engaged to conduct the test.
He said that the council was not on the general internet and was using intranet for the conduct of the examination.
Dagnut added: “Today, the general Mathematics is taking place and as you can see, everything is moving on smoothly.
“The systems are top notch, with zero hitches recorded since the commencement of the examination on January 31.
“This examination is being conducted simultaneously across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
“We have about 8,350 candidates sitting for this examination as of today because we have an opportunity for people who want to register and start their own examination the next day.
“We call such candidates ‘walk in candidates’ and because of that too, the entries keep going up everyday.
“For example, last week, when we were having the briefing exercise, we had about 8,230 candidates, but like I said before, as we speak, we have over 8,350 in all because of the ‘walk in’ candidates.
“Candidates who would want to sit for a paper on Monday are doing their registration today.
“They will have to register at least 24 hours before the commencement of the paper they intend to be examined on.”
The HNO added that the WAEC Test and Training Centre at Ogba was one of the 10 centres being used for the examination in Lagos State.
According to him, the council is optimistic that it will have a successful outing of the maiden edition of the WASSCE CBT for private candidates, given the state of its readiness.
He said that the council had interacted with the stakeholders and they had all expressed delight at the development.
Dagnut said: “You know, perception has a lot to do with performance.
“The stakeholders had anticipated very well and the result is what we are getting so far.
“We have said right from onset that this is a hybrid examination.
“The objective questions are beamed on the screen and are answered on the screen.
“But for essays, just like this general Mathematics paper 2, you will find out that they have answer booklets provided for them where they are expected to do their calculations but the questions too are beamed on the screen.
“That is what makes it hybrid mode.”
Dr. Dangut said that results of the examination were expected to be out 45 days after the last paper.
He expressed optimism that the second series of the WASSCE for private candidates that would begin in November would also be taken through the CBT mode.
He added: “We are encouraged with what we have now for this maiden edition.
“We sat on the drawing board, got our act right and that is why we are able to deploy the computer mode for this examination.
“So, after this one, we will also go back to the drawing board and together strategise for the second series.”
Some of the candidates who participated in the examination said it gave them the opportunity to have a feel of what obtains with other computer based tests in the age of technology.