An Analysis of the November 2015 Ordinary Level Examination Results

1.0     Introduction

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

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
% 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
YEAR 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015
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
Private Candidates 373 121 32,44
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
Private Candidates 776 255 32,86
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
2252 SOCIOLOGY School Candidates 191 109 57,07
Private Candidates 85 71 83,53
2283 ECONOMICS School Candidates 1 570 1 069 68,09
Private Candidates 260 198 76,15
2292 LAW School Candidates
 

Private Candidates

 

20

 

3

 

15

3011 FRENCH School Candidates 157 105 66,8
Private Candidates
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
Private Candidates 83 67 80,72
3159 SHONA School Candidates 118 583 48 081 40,55
Private Candidates 19 268 5 572 28,92
4008 MATHEMATICS

(Non-calculator)

School Candidates 12 331 1 313 10,65
Private Candidates 9 675 3 140 32,45
4028 MATHEMATICS

(Calculator version)

School Candidates 114 236 29 891 26,17
Private Candidates 80 554 31 256 38,8
4033 ADDITIONAL MATHEMATICS

(Non-calculator)

School Candidates 8 0 0
Private Candidates 5 0 0
4034 ADDITIONAL MATHEMATICS

(Calculator version)

School Candidates 149 111 74,5
Private Candidates 9 3 33,3
4041 STATISTICS School Candidates 396 362 91,41
Private Candidates 11 3 42,9
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
Private Candidates 538 294 54,65
5034 AGRICULTURE School Candidates 46 861 27 560 58,81
Private Candidates
5055 PHYSICS School Candidates 5191 4 450 85,73
Private Candidates 126 62 49,21
5071 CHEMISTRY School Candidates 5 175 3 500 57,63
Private Candidates 154 54 35,06
5097 HUMAN AND SOCIAL BIOLOGY School Candidates 532 184 34,59
Private Candidates 776 231 29,77
6015 ART School Candidates 1 670 918 54,97
Private Candidates
6020 MUSIC School Candidates 262 182 69,47
Private Candidates
6035 WOODWORK School Candidates 3 772 1 695 44,94
Private Candidates
6045 METALWORK School Candidates 2169 1 102 50,81
Private Candidates
6051 FASHION AND FABRICS School Candidates 21 676 11 440 52,78
Private Candidates
6064 FOOD AND NUTRITION School Candidates 4 710 3 578 75,97
Private Candidates
6078 HOME MANAGEMENT School Candidates 42 38 90,48
Private Candidates
7014 COMPUTER STUDIES School Candidates 3 978 3 194 80,29
Private Candidates
7035 BUILDING STUDIES School Candidates 9 038 4 899 54,2
Private Candidates
7049 TECHNICAL GRAPHICS School Candidates 2 226 1 273 57,19
Private Candidates
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
Private Candidates
7105 COMMERCIAL STUDIES PROCESSING School Candidates 178 117 66,86
Private Candidates 5 1 20
7106 COMMERCIAL STUDIES ARITHMETIC School Candidates 5 3 60
Private Candidates 2 1 50
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
Private Candidates 983 246 25,03

 

 

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.

Science Subjects

Table 8: Year on year comparison of Science Subjects

SUBJECT YEAR
2014 2015
Geography 2248 41,11 38,92
Mathematics 4028 21 26,17
Integrated Science 5006 21,90 31,52
Biology 5008 57,16 53,57
Physical Science 5009 61,23 71,57
Physics 5055 89,18 85,73
Chemistry 5071 55,95 57,63
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
Harare 28,78
Manicaland 29,19
Mashonaland East 22,98
Matabeleland North 23,95
Masvingo 31,9
Midlands 29,85
Mashonaland Central 24,19
Mashonaland West 23,51
Matabeleland South 25,33
Bulawayo 25,07

 

 

 

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

Region: Year

2015

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
Male 16 377 3033 18,51

Matebeleland North
Females 4 523 901 19,92
Male 3 398 951 27,98
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 Central Female 5868 1209 20,60
  Male 6262 1740 27,78
Mashonaland West Female 8 417 1 707 20,28
  Male 9 105 2 435 26,74
Matebeleland South Female 4 460 988 22,15
  Male 3 343 953 28,50
Bulawayo Female 4 899 1 236 25,22
  Male 3 759 937 24,92

 

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

SUBJECT PROVINCE
  Harare Manicaland Mash

East

Mat North Midlands Masvingo Mash

Central

Mash

West

Mat South BYO
English Language

1122

33,3 25,6 26,3 21,2 27,3 24,0 20,9 23,5 23,2 39,4
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
History

2167

45,1 50,8 49,0 42,3 51,5 53,0 46,4 45,1 41,2 39,9
Geography

2248

36,8 40,4 38,7 33,2 39,9 40,6 34,4 35,4 35,5 31,7
Sociology 2252 86,5 47,6 45 100 85,7 100 36,4 55,6 100 100
Law 2292 28,6 0 0 9,1
Economics 2283 76,6 81,4 17,7 65,9 72,7 76,3 53,6 76,9 77,1 87,5
French 3011 63,6 87,5 60 66,7
Ndebele 3155 66,7 100 57,6 52,9 46,2 0 55,8 55,7
 

Tonga

3156

 

 

 

 

59,9

 

58,8

 

 

 

62,0

 

 

Shona 3159 30,9 42,6 39,5 25 42,6 46,2 35,6 32,7 38,8 35,3
Mathematics (Non-calculator) 4008 29,0 21,2 19,1 14,6 22,1 24,7 16,7 20,7 14,0 28,5
Mathematics (Calculator)

4028

33,6 32,6 33,3 27,8 32,1 32,3 30,6 29,7 24,4 27,3
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
Statistics 4041 50 92,8 100 95,5 73,3 100 33,3 100 100
Integrated Science 5006 32,6 35,1 33,5 28,8 34,7 34,7 31,4 30,4 27,6 28,7
Biology 5008 44,3 64,1 64,0 33,8 55,1 54,8 45,7 47,7 37,9 42,6
Physical Science 5009 62,6 74,9 80,6 69,3 75,8 70,7 80,7 69,0 57,2 59,4
Agriculture 5034 42,1 61,7 60,6 60,7 59,3 69,1 50,7 52,3 59,8 52,0
Physics 5055 80,1 91,7 92,8 84,6 86,5 88,0 93,9 82,9 82,4 69,4
Chemistry 5071 57,4 79,9 67,5 65,8 75,7 62,1 73,8 68,1 70,1 48,5
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
Art 6015

 

72,9 53,2 50 50 65,8 40,8 44,1 72,6 65 40,8
Music

6020

68,8 82,5 30,8 69,2 63,2 87,5 58,8 55,6
Woodwork 6035 33,5 51,3 51,4 57,1 55,2 47,8 40,1 33,7 57,1 40,7
Metalwork 6045 42,2 56,2 51 62,9 54,3 70,3 60,3 40,8 78,2 50,8
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
Building studies

7035

36,0 62,2 52,9 47,9 43,9 66,1 57,7 47,7 50,1 11,8
Technical Graphics

7049

38,5 75,5 79,3 33,3 47,7 58,4 66,7 61,1 55,1 56,2
Commerce 7103 43,8 42,2 37,4 38,1 41,8 44,7 36,2 37,4 35,5 34,6
Commercial Studies Typing

7104

86,7
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.

5.0 Conclusions

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

(DIRECTOR)

ZIMBABWE SCHOOL EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL



Leave a Reply