This report presents pass rate statistics for the November 2015 Ordinary Level examination results. The year under review had no subject reseats as a result of examination leakages. However, in Mathematics there were isolated cases of malpractice in Harare and Seke where 41 individuals were implicated and of these, 14 were registered Mathematics candidates with ZIMSEC. As a result, the 14 registered candidates had their results for the above mentioned subject cancelled and they will not be allowed to sit for any ZIMSEC examination for the coming two years.
The grade cut-off points for all the subjects were comparable to those of the previous years. Therefore, any rise or fall in candidate performance would be attributable to teaching and learning processes in schools.
The statistics were analyzed and presented by candidate type and gender. Provincial pass rates are presented by subject and gender. Year- on- year comparisons were made to show trends in pass rates.
2.0 National Pass Rates
This section reveals national pass rates by candidate type, gender and location. It also presents a comparative analysis of the November 2014 and 2015 examination results.
Table 1: National Pass Rate by Candidate Type: Grade C or Better
|Candidate Type||Entry||Number of candidates who wrote 5 Subjects and above||Number of candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with Grade C or better||% Pass Rate|
|School Candidates||176 657||156 418||43 581||27,86|
|Private Candidates||134 260||23 235||2 791||12,01|
The table reflects that the total number of school candidates who sat for the November 2015 O level examination was 310 910. School candidates who wrote five or more subjects were 156 418 and 43 581 obtained Grade C or better in 5 or more subjects, yielding 27, 86 % pass rate. Private candidates who wrote 5 or more subjects were 23 235, and 2791 obtained Grade C or better in 5 or more subjects, which also translates into a percentage pass rate of 12,01.
Table 2: National Pass Rate by Candidate Type: Grade E or Better
|Candidate Type||Entry||Number of candidates who wrote 5 Subjects and above||Number of candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with Grade E or better||% Pass Rate|
|School Candidates||176 657||156 418||79 457||50,79|
|Private Candidates||134 260||23 235||9 055||38,97|
The table reflects that of the 176 657 school candidates, 156 418 wrote 5 subjects and above resulting in 79 457 passing 5 or more subjects with a grade E or better. This translated to a pass rate of 50, 79%. For private candidates, a total of 9 055 passed at least 5 subjects, yielding a pass rate of 38, 97% at grade E or better.
Candidates who obtain a grade E in a subject are considered to have passed and are given a certificate grade. Candidates who obtain a grade C in a subject are considered to have passed the subject with a credit.
Table 3: National Pass Rate by Gender and Candidate Type
|Gender||Entry||Number of candidates who wrote 5 subjects and above||Number of candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with Grade C or better||% Pass Rate|
|Female School Candidates||87 967||79 372||20 098||25,33|
|Female Private Candidates||79 692||13 187||1 366||10,35|
|Total Female Candidates||167 659||92 559||21 464||23,18|
|Male School Candidates||88 685||77 046||23 483||30,47|
|Male Private Candidates||54 566||10 048||1 425||14,18|
|Total Male Candidates||143 251||87 094||24 918||28,61|
The table shows that the total number of female candidates was 167 659 and of these 92 559 wrote 5 or more subject with 21 464 passing 5 or more subjects, thus translating to a percentage pass rate of 23, 18%. The total number of female school candidates were 87 967 of these 79 372 wrote 5 or more subjects and 20 098 obtained 5 or more subjects giving us a percentage pass rate of 25.33%. There were 79 692 private female candidates of which 13 187 wrote 5 or more subjects resulting in 1 366 obtaining 5 or more subjects yielding a pass rate of 10.35%.
The total number of male candidates was 143 251 and of these 87 094 wrote 5 or more subjects and 24 918 passed 5 or more subjects translating to a percentage pass rate of 28, 61. The total number of male school candidates was 88 685 and 77 046 wrote 5 or more subjects and 23 483 passed 5 or more subjects translating to percentage pass rate of 30, 47. Male private candidates were 54 566 and 10 048 wrote 5 or more subjects and of these 1 425 obtained 5 or more subjects resulting in a percentage pass rate of 14, 18.
The results show that males performed better than females. The overall pass rate for males was 28, 61% and that of females was 23, 8%. A similar trend was observed in the November 2014 examinations where male candidates outperformed females by a wide margin.
3.0 Year on Year Comparisons of National Pass Rates for School Candidates
Table 4: Pass Rate Trends over 5 years
|% Pass Rate||19,5||18,4||20,72||22,38||27,86|
From the table and the graph, national pass rates for school candidates from 2012 to 2015. A notable increase is from 2014 to 2015 where the pass rate increased by 5, 48%.
Table 5: Year on Year Comparisons of national pass rates by candidate type for 2014 to 2015
|Number of Candidates who wrote 5 or more subject||Number of Candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with grade C or better||Percentage Pass Rates|
|School Candidates||2015||156 418||43 581||27,86|
|2014||158 124||35 389||22,38|
|Private Candidates||2015||23 235||2 791||12,01|
|2014||22 375||1 896||8,47|
The results shown on the table and the graph reflect that examination results for November 2015 were better than those for November 2014. In the November 2015 examinations, pass rate of 27, 86% was recorded for school candidates as compared to 22, 38% for the same type of candidates in 2014. Therefore there was a rise of 5, 48 percentage points from the November 2014 results. The same scenario is also noticeable on private candidates. The rise in the pass rates for the November 2015 examinations could be attributed to a number of factors, such as the Education Development Fund (EDF), then Education Transition Fund (ETF) where in 2011 and 2012 all secondary schools received textbook kits. There was a one to one textbook-pupil ratio and these resources were used from Form 1 up to Form 4. The cohort of learners who used these books from Form 1 to Form 4 were those who wrote examinations in 2015. These learners had all the basic textbooks from Form 1 to Form 4. In addition to the EDF programme, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education mounted workshops in provinces, districts and even at cluster level through the Better Schools Programme. All these efforts were meant to improve teaching and learning processes in schools. The issue of having qualified teachers in secondary schools cannot be ignored as a contributing factor to improved learner performance during the November 2015 examinations.
Table 6: Year on Year Comparison of School Candidates by Gender 2014-2015
|Number of Candidates who wrote 5 or more subjects||Number of Candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with grade C or better.||National Pass Rates|
|FEMALES||90751||79 372||17029||12 738||18,76||25,33|
|MALES||74377||77 046||20 256||15 772||27,23||30,47|
Results reflected on the table and the graph reveal that male candidates performed better than female candidates in both the November 2014 and 2015 examination sessions. The difference in performance was significant across the examination sessions under comparison. The reasons could be attributed to biological factors were issues to do with maturity come into play. Another notable factor is that female learners engage in domestic chores after school more than their male counterparts and thus retards them in studying. There is need for research to be conducted to establish why male candidates perform better than female candidates.
3.0 Subject Pass Rates:
Table 7: Subject Pass Rates by Candidate Type
|Subject code||Subject name||Candidates Status||Candidates who took the exam||Grade C or better per Subject||% percentage pass rate of candidates who got Grade C or better|
|1122||ENGLISH LANGUAGE||School Candidates||164 867||44829||27,19|
|Private Candidates||68 632||17 878||26,05|
|2013||LITERATURE IN ENGLISH||School Candidates||12 097||6 077||55,96|
|2042||RELIGIOUS STUDIES A||School Candidates||31 719||18 644||58,78|
|Private Candidates||5 114||2 403||46,99|
|2043||RELIGIOUS STUDIES B||School Candidates||7 074||3 940||58,7|
|2167||HISTORY||School Candidates||114 551||55 579||48,52|
|Private Candidates||23 004||9 665||42,01|
|2248||GEOGRAPHY||School Candidates||130 759||50 885||38,92|
|Private Candidates||36 315||11 772||32,42|
|2283||ECONOMICS||School Candidates||1 570||1 069||68,09|
|3155||NDEBELE||School Candidates||22 970||13 251||57,69|
|Private Candidates||3 095||1 344||43,42|
|3156||TONGA||School Candidates||1 146||670||58,46|
|3159||SHONA||School Candidates||118 583||48 081||40,55|
|Private Candidates||19 268||5 572||28,92|
|School Candidates||12 331||1 313||10,65|
|Private Candidates||9 675||3 140||32,45|
|School Candidates||114 236||29 891||26,17|
|Private Candidates||80 554||31 256||38,8|
|5006||INTEGRATED SCIENCE||School Candidates||77 265||49 145||31,52|
|Private Candidates||63 494||22 338||35,18|
|5008||BIOLOGY||School Candidates||20 634||11 054||53,57|
|Private Candidates||2 272||459||20,20|
|5009||PHYSICAL SCIENCE||School Candidates||7 261||5197||71,57|
|5034||AGRICULTURE||School Candidates||46 861||27 560||58,81|
|5055||PHYSICS||School Candidates||5191||4 450||85,73|
|5071||CHEMISTRY||School Candidates||5 175||3 500||57,63|
|5097||HUMAN AND SOCIAL BIOLOGY||School Candidates||532||184||34,59|
|6015||ART||School Candidates||1 670||918||54,97|
|6035||WOODWORK||School Candidates||3 772||1 695||44,94|
|6045||METALWORK||School Candidates||2169||1 102||50,81|
|6051||FASHION AND FABRICS||School Candidates||21 676||11 440||52,78|
|6064||FOOD AND NUTRITION||School Candidates||4 710||3 578||75,97|
|6078||HOME MANAGEMENT||School Candidates||42||38||90,48|
|7014||COMPUTER STUDIES||School Candidates||3 978||3 194||80,29|
|7035||BUILDING STUDIES||School Candidates||9 038||4 899||54,2|
|7049||TECHNICAL GRAPHICS||School Candidates||2 226||1 273||57,19|
|7103||COMMERCE||School Candidates||93 029||35 981||38,68|
|Private Candidates||34 320||15 325||44,65|
|7104||COMMERCIAL STUDIES TYPING||School Candidates||30||26||86,67|
|7105||COMMERCIAL STUDIES PROCESSING||School Candidates||178||117||66,86|
|7106||COMMERCIAL STUDIES ARITHMETIC||School Candidates||5||3||60|
|7112||PRINCIPLES OF ACCOUNTS||School Candidates||32 295||18 233||56,56|
|Private Candidates||9 020||4059||45|
|7166||BUSINESS STUDIES||School Candidates||3 664||1 233||33,65|
The table reflects percentage pass rates for different subjects offered at Ordinary level. If a meaningful comparison is to be made, subjects should be compared by candidature. High entry subjects should be compared on their own followed by medium entry and low to very low entry subjects on their own.
Table 8: Year on year comparison of Science Subjects
|Integrated Science 5006||21,90||31,52|
|Physical Science 5009||61,23||71,57|
|Human and Social Biology 5097||38,38||34,59|
The table shows a notable improvement in pass rates for Science subjects. There was a significant improvement in Mathematics (5, 17%), Integrated Science (10, 62%) and Physical Science (10, 34%).These improvements are in line with Government thrust in the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
4.0 Provincial Pass Rates
The national provincial pass rates are presented below. The pass rates were computed by gender and subject.
Table 9: National Pass Rate by Province
|Province||% Pass Rate|
The table and the graph show national pass rates by province. It can be noted that Masvingo had the highest pass rate of 31, 9% followed by Midlands and Manicaland. Mashonaland East recorded the least percentage pass rate of 22, 98.
Table 10: School Candidates Provincial Pass Rates by Gender
|Number of candidates who wrote 5 or more subjects||Number of candidates who passed 5 or more subjects with Grade C or better||% Provincial pass rates|
|Harare||Female||8 853||2 486||28,08|
|Male||8 475||2 498||29,47|
|Manicaland||Females||12 100||3 482||26,72|
|Male||12 839||4 066||31,66|
|Mashonaland East||Females||9 579||2 629||27,44|
|Midlands||Female||10 529||2 092||19,92|
|Male||7 117||3 123||43,88|
|Masvingo||Female||10 144||2 792||27,52|
|Male||11 329||3 645||32,17|
|Mashonaland West||Female||8 417||1 707||20,28|
|Male||9 105||2 435||26,74|
|Matebeleland South||Female||4 460||988||22,15|
|Bulawayo||Female||4 899||1 236||25,22|
The table reflects that in the majority of provinces, male candidates performed better than female candidates. Bulawayo province had female candidates performing better than their male counterparts.
Table 11: National Pass Rate by Subject and Province
|Literature in English 2013||53,3||58,9||63,6||44,7||59,9||62,3||62,9||62,0||34,9||49,1|
|Religious Studies A 2042||48,7||58,4||60,0||51,5||57,4||65,4||52,7||56,3||50,5||50,3|
|Religious Studies B 2043||37,4||58,2||66,5||51,6||55,7||39,1||37,4||47,1||53,5||27,9|
|Mathematics (Non-calculator) 4008||29,0||21,2||19,1||14,6||22,1||24,7||16,7||20,7||14,0||28,5|
|Additional Maths( Non-caculator) 4033||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Additional Maths (Calculator) 4034||68,4||72,7||85,7||100||71,4||80,8||100||50||46,2||50|
|Integrated Science 5006||32,6||35,1||33,5||28,8||34,7||34,7||31,4||30,4||27,6||28,7|
|Physical Science 5009||62,6||74,9||80,6||69,3||75,8||70,7||80,7||69,0||57,2||59,4|
|Human and Social Biology 5097||33,2||33,3||21,1||28,0||54,1||20,8||25,5||33,3||20,5||28,1|
|Fashion and Fabrics 6051||48,8||54,2||48,3||52,1||51,9||62,9||44,9||44,1||42,9||65,5|
|Food and Nutrition 6064||57,6||82,9||38,5||80,1||85,1||86,8||86,4||73,3||91,2||72,5|
|Home Management 6078||–||100||–||–||66,7||100||–||–||–||–|
|Computer Studies 7014||67,2||88,1||80||85||79||89||86,4||74,2||74,4||70,9|
|Commercial Studies Typing
|Commercial Studies Processing 7105||–||84,1||100||24,5||70||50||39,1||–||–||–|
|Commercial Studies Arithmetic 7106||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||67,7||–|
|Business Studies 7116||24,6||53,3||38,0||56,3||8,6||29,3||45,4||23,1||22,7||20,3|
The table shows subject pass rates by province. It can be noted that some subjects recorded 100% pass rates while others had very low pass rates. This however can be misleading if comparison is made by considering percentage pass rates. The subjects however should be grouped according to candidature, so that high entry subjects are compared on their own, followed by medium, low entry, and very low entry subjects. The reasons for difference in performance across subjects could be established through research.
Generally, candidates performed better in the November 2015 examinations as compared to the previous year. One of the factors associated with the increase in performance is the provision of educational textbooks and Science kits in 2011 and 2012 through the Education Development Fund (EDF). However, other factors that influenced better performance could be established through research.
E S NHANDARA
ZIMBABWE SCHOOL EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL