The Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) says there was a 100 per cent progression rate to grade eight for candidates who sat for the grade seven exams because of an abundance of space at secondary school level.
In an interview, ECZ Director Dr Michael Chilala said it was inaccurate to say there was a 100 per cent pass rate.
“There’s a difference between passing and progressing. Passing in an examination has something to do with certification; progressing has something to do with selection. So, what we had at grade seven [2018 results] is not 100 per cent pass rate, but 100 per cent progression rate. What is there is that, this year, we achieved 100 per cent progression rate. When it comes to progressing to grade eight, it has had to do with how much space is at grade eight. We have always had more primary school pupils than junior secondary pupils. When we have larger number of grade sevens, then a smaller number of spaces at grade eight, you must now come up with a level at which you can say, these are the only ones we can accommodate and that’s how we come up with a cut point. The cut-off point is a number at which the total number at which the total number of spaces at grade eight has been filled, therefore, those who do not make it in that category, do not [go] to grade eight,” explained Dr Chilala.
“So, progression rate is about the number of pupils who are absolved at grade eight level as compared to those who sat for the grade seven exams; our grading system at grade seven level has division one, which is a distinction, division two, which is a merit, division three, which is a credit and division four, which is a pass. It is for that reason that those repeating grade nine would be given an external number even if they repeated the whole year, they will write with everybody else and they would still write as external candidates. The principle is that, the first time you write, you write as an internal candidate; the second time you write, you write as an external candidate.”