WGSE Archived Publications

Using Examinations to Improve Education: A Study in Fourteen African Countries
by Thomas Kellaghan and Vincent Greaney
The World Bank. 1992, Africa Technical Department: Technical Paper No. 165.Using Examinations to Improve Education

Examinations can considerably influence the nature of learning and teaching. They tend to dictate what is taught and how it is taught. While most examinations serve a number of functions, their main function is to select students for the next highest level of the educational system. In developing countries, their impact is particularly pronounced due to the shortage of places, particularly at the secondary and tertiary levels of formal schooling.

This study presents for the first time a detailed description of the types, functions, performance levels, governance, administration and funding of public examinations in a range of African countries. The report outlines procedures for funding examinations, for constructing, administering and scoring papers, and for reporting results. Guidelines are offered for improving the quality of examinations, and using examinations to improve education. It helps pinpoint the way to raising the level and quality of education of pupils in sub-Saharan Africa.