Uganda National Examinations Board(UNEB) has said that a total of 18,415 candidates failed the 2020 UCE exams from the results were released on Friday afternoon.
According to the UNEB Executive Secretary, Dan Odongo this represented 5.6% of the total number of candidates (333,396) who sat for UCE exams in 2020.
According to UNEB, the poor performances were more pronounced in science subjects where candidates failed to apply what they had learnt in class in form of practicals.
“In the sciences, the papers test the candidates’ ability to manipulate science apparatus while carrying out experiments, to apply the science process skills of making measurements and observations, recording observations and other data, drawing inferences or conclusions from observations that they have made, data presentation and interpretation. They should also be able to apply basic scientific knowledge to solve problems in their environment. Those challenges are persistent and are responsible for poor performance by the candidates in the lower grades,” Odongo said.
Odongo said the candidates showed weakness in making and recording observations and drawing conclusions from the observations which contributed to their failure.
“They also showed poor mathematical skills required in calculations, inability to write the correct symbols of elements, formulae of compounds and equations, among others. Some candidates merely forged figures of experimental results in the practical papers,”Odongo said.
“Most candidates showed lack of practical experience as many schools tend to handle practical aspects of the curriculum much later in the course. As a result, students do not develop the necessary skills. This could explain why most malpractice cases are in science practical papers.”
He also noted that despite improvement in English language, in composition writing there was misfiring by candidates who were doing cram work
“Candidates are expected to exhibit creativity and originality but teachers in some schools are still making learners cram passages from what they call “model compositions” with unusual and difficult vocabulary in English language. They then reproduce the crammed passages irrespective of what the composition topic is,” he said.
“The challenge of language deficiency is reflected in performance in other subjects, where chief examiners continue to report failure by the candidates to interpret the demands of the tasks set, failure to follow instructions, misunderstanding keywords used in the stem of a question, and generally poor language expression.”
According to UNEB, candidates performed better in questions that require mainly knowledge and understanding whereas those that require them to apply knowledge in problem-solving situations, draw inferences, or make predictions from observations or set data were not done well.
UNEB said this has been the trend for many years.