Kampala- Of the 144 star candidates who scored maximum 20 points in A-Level last year, the majority were only average performers in their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) and O-Level exams.
An analysis of A-Level exams results by the Uganda National Examinations Board (Uneb) that Saturday Monitor has accessed shows that of all the 144 candidates who got maximum points at A-Level in last year’s examinations, only 15 had scored the maximum aggregate four in PLE in 2012.
The analysis also indicate that of the 15 who scored aggregate 4 in PLE, only two candidates scored maximum points at all three levels – PLE, O-Level and A-Level.
The two are Praise Anyine and Collins Arinaitwe, both from Ntare Schoo in Mbarara District.
Of the 144 candidates who scored maximum 20 points in A-Level last year, the most improved candidate is Okot Morish, who sat his A-Level exams at Our Lady of Africa SS.
In PLE in 2012, at Acimi Primary School in Lira, Okot scored aggregate 22 and not four, which is the best aggregate performance at that level.
In O-Level at King James Comprehensive SS in Lira, Okot scored aggregate 20 in the best done eight subjects against a possible best aggregate performance of eight.
Another heavily improved performer is Sylvia Nantongo, who scored maximum 20 points at St Pius SS Kiziba.
At Masuliita Primary School in 2012, she scored aggregate 19 against a possible best four, and only managed 38 in eight in O-Level still at St Pius SS Kiziba.
However, some of the star students in the early stages of their education experienced a decline along the chain and they bounced back strongly.
This is best exemplified by Ms Immaculate Nansamba, who scored the maximum 20 points in A-Level at Buddo SS.
In 2012, Ms Nansamba sat for PLE at St Joseph Pilot School and scored the maximum aggregate four. But her performance nosedived in O-level, only managing aggregate 25 where eight is the best.
Our attempt to trace Ms Nansamba was futile. Understanding why a seemingly brilliant student who managed maximum points in both PLE and A-Level only got a marginal second grade in O-Level would be a useful addition to our understanding of how our education and assessment system works or does not work.
What determines performance?
Sr Anastazia Asiimwe, the head teacher of Maryhill High School, says whereas the school a student attends contributes immensely to their performance, there are other factors.
She cites the child’s discipline, the groups the children join and the effort they put in to study as key factors.
“You might say value addition, but you may want to look at the subjects they offered too. There are subjects that need critical thinking, analysis and reasoning, while others were straightforward. Think about Biology, even if you had a bright girl, nobody attained ‘A’ in the whole country,” Sr Asiimwe says.
She says at their school, they have learnt to create themes each year, which guide their energies in the course of the year.
At the heart of this, there is the involvement of the parents who are also invited to analyse the school’s performance and their suggestions incorporated within the solutions that will guide them towards improving their grades.
At Standard High School, Zana, Mr Jonath Gumisiriza, the director in charge of publications, says their students are motivated by the bursaries they give to their students drawn from across the country. He says their best students; Rufai Kisakye Jacqulyn and Solin Lutada Lakareber, were sourced from northern Uganda and put on bursary, which has not disappointed.
Ms Martha Chemutai, the communications officer at Twaweza East Africa, a non-governmental organisation interested in improving the quality of education, says if the resources were evenly distributed across the country, children from humble backgrounds would be able to compete favourably with their counterparts in urban centres.
She says exposure of some of the students who joined urban schools from rural setting also helped them excel.