Zimbabweans need to know that the Grade 7 examination is not the old standard 6 certification which was a terminal examination that could give candidates/students avenues to professions. The Grade 7 examination in its current form, simply directs candidates, parents and teachers to areas where candidates need assistance in competency development and enhancement in their secondary school academic lives.
Year on year comparability of candidates’ performance
It is important to note that Grade 7 candidate performance has been erratic over a number of years. The year-on-year performance changes because of a variety of reasons which any academic is able to put forward. Some of the reasons academics put forward are:
- Access to teachers by learners;
- favourable economic environment which make parents access resources to support their children in school;
- and access to electronic learning platforms as the learning environments change.
The table below shows that the 2020 Grade 7 exams pass rate is comparable to some past years.
Attention needs to be drawn to the performance of Grade Seven examination candidates in the COVID-19 pandemic environment and that of 2009 to 2014 during the time of economic meltdown which affected learning by students. During this period like in 2020, teachers were involved in industrial action (strikes) or were claiming incapacitation to carry out their work. There was no meaningful teaching in some schools. These are the factors that affect pass rates in any country in the world.
The table above shows provincial pass rates for the 2020 Grade Seven examinations. Bulawayo province had the highest pass rate (66.83%), followed by Harare with a pass rate of 66.5%. Matabeleland North recorded the least pass rate of 15.87%. Female candidates performed better than males in all the provinces.
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