Their aggregates are based on the exit examination all Junior High School students take as a method for determining qualification for High School Placement. It is mostly a measure of how well they can memorize the material they have studied in Junior High School. The lower the score, the better the score. They are tested in each core subject, English*, Math, Social Studies and Science, plus two of the best scores from the elective courses which may include Religious and Moral Education, Info and Comm Tech, French, Fante, Home Economics etc. (the elective subjects vary from school to school). So, the best score a student can get is 06, 1 for each core subject and 2 more for the best scores from the elective subjects. A test score of 30 is the upper limit for placement in a government school. Usually.
These test scores are interesting. They do tell us if a student can memorize or if a school places a great importance on how well their students do in these examinations and how much they help the students prepare for the tests. So, the scores often do not predict the academic potential of a student. We need to consider where the student went to junior high school and their home situation when we evaluate their academic potential based on the aggregate they earned on the WAEC test. We have made a mistake or three in the past.
Last year we did an experiment: We went to two remote villages where we had never had an applicant. I thought perhaps they did not have the funds to get their results off the internet (car fare to the office plus the fee for the number necessary to access the scores on line), which we need before the results come to the J.H.S. in order to ask for national placement of our students in our three designated schools. At these villages we asked for the names of the students who had taken the WAEC (West African Examinations Council) exam and their Index numbers. Then we went to the WAEC office and paid for the results for these students. After learning that not one of the students qualified for entrance into a government school (an aggregate of 30 is most often necessary for placement in high school), we went back to the village schools and learned that no student had ever gone to high school from these two villages. No expectations from the teachers or the students that anyone could go on to more schooling. Three of the students had earned an aggregate of 31. We thought that if a few students could get 31 on these tests when no one expected anyone to do well, perhaps they were pretty smart. We decided to fund the three aggregate 31 students. I am happy to report that all three students, one girl at University Practice Senior High School and two boys placed at Edinaman, did very well in their first year in high school.
*English is, by the way, the second language for all our students – their first language is their African language . In most cases our students speak Fante, a close cousin to Twi, at home and with each other. Their education is supposed to be in English.