Assessment Secondary

Several Magics of SSC and Equivalent Examinations Remain Elusive

The Prime Minister actually inaugurated the event, and she declared the results of SSC and equivalent examinations.
The Prime Minister actually inaugurated the event, and she declared the results of SSC and equivalent examinations.
Masum Billah
Written by Masum Billah

SSC and equivalent examinations started on 15 February, the written tests were completed on 12 March, and the practical examinations continued till 20 March, beginning from 13 March 2024. Today, 12 May, the results have come out, which means that in less than two months’ time, the results have appeared.

Like in previous years, the Prime Minister actually inaugurated the event, and she declared the results of SSC and equivalent examinations, showing an exceptional tradition in our country. In all the countries of the world, public examinations take place, but the chief executive of the state does not open the results.

In Bangladesh, the PM does this and offers necessary advice to the students, teachers, and guardians. The girls have been doing continuously better for the last five years at a stretch that makes her happy, and she appreciates the performances of the girls.

However, she also wants to learn the case of boys. Why is the number of boys in the public examination decreasing, and why are they lagging behind girls? She suggested that the guardians, teachers, and others concerned should not show any kind of negative attitude towards those who could not come out successful. We really appreciate the Prime Minister’s concern for education.

This year, the average pass is 83.04 per cent for SSC and equivalent examinations; last year, it was 80.39 per cent, which means slightly better than last year, and the boys’ pass percentage is 81.57 while the girls’ is 84.47. Only in three boards the number of boys register a little bit bigger than girls, while all other boards show girls’ bigger numbers. In eleven education boards, boys passed 9 lac 99 thousand 364 and girls 10 lac 38 thousand 786.

Why does it happen? We have some assumed causes, but based on no real study or research, that is necessary to be done.

In Dhaka Board, the pass percentage for SSC and equivalent examinations is 89.32, Rajshahi 89.25, Cumilla 79. 23, Chattogram 82.80, Barishal 89.13, Dinajpur 78.40 and Mymensingh 84.97. The highest pass percentage is seen in Jashore Board, which is 92.32, and the lowest, 73.35, which means 18.97 per cent less in Sylhet Board.  

The mystery or magic of this difference remains unknown to us, and this case repeats every year; we urge the authorities concerned to find out the real cause or causes of this difference to identify through genuine research; otherwise, it does not carry any meaning or value for us.

Interestingly, the board that obtained the lowest position in one year in pass percentage achieved the highest position just the next year. The nation and all concerned should know the magic as a case of learning for other boards that never happens.

Another thing we observe every year is that not a single student passes from some institutions. This number was 48 last year and this year 51, even though all the infrastructures of these intuitions prevail equally. No convincing remedial steps are unknown to have been taken to change this situation by the authorities concerned.

We can learn some of the causes of the failure of these schools and madrasa because of the active roles of education journalists who deserve thanks.  The pass percentage of the Technical Education Board is 81.38 per cent, even though we expect more practical-oriented work in these institutions. So, these results don’t tell us the whole story.

Moreover, our emphasis should be more and more on technical education, which has also not been discerned. Madrasa Education Board has secured a 79.66 pass percentage with 14thousand 206 GPA-5 holders. In previous years, we used to see the highest pass percentage in madrasas without any reasonable cause.

These results of SSC and equivalent examinations only tell us how much students can write, either this way or that way, on the examination scripts. However, only writing tests cannot ascertain the holistic development of the learners. Their attitude, behaviour, active participation in class work, homework, group work, doing effective assignments and making presentations should be reflected in their overall performance, which never happens.

All these elements have been added to the new curriculum, but the implementation process and expectations frustrate us when implementing effectively.  

There should be a ranking process for educational institutions emphasising how these effective means of education are being implemented and how far students are accruing benefits from these.

English and Mathematics play a significant role in enhancing the individual, institutional and board-wise results. When the performance of these two subjects gets higher, the results also tilt accordingly. This year, we have not yet learned the overall situation of English. However, some newspapers have reported that students did not do well in mathematics.

Boards must develop a mechanism that automatically tells the status of English and Mathematics when results of SSC and equivalent examinations are published.

A question comes to our mind: what are the roles of education boards? Just to make students fill in forms, conduct exams, and publish exam results? What role do they play in increasing the quality of education? Do they conduct quality sessions for the teachers, headteachers, principals and education administrators to exchange views and ideas among them?

Do they conduct any surveys, studies, or research to gauge the cause or causes of enhancing the quality of education, enhancing the capacity of teachers or developing the quality of questions to make it creative and global standard?

Even controversy over examining scripts and awarding hybrid marks is frequently complained about by educationists, and real assessment remains elusive. Boards must come up with reasonable answers to this question as well.   

About the author

Masum Billah

Masum Billah

Masum Billah works as an Education Expert in the BRAC Education Program, BRAC, and President of the English Teachers' Association of Bangladesh (ETAB), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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