Grading Scale For Ghana Schools & Universities
The SSSCE grading system is more stringent than anything ever witnessed in the United States: 40% of students fail any given academic subject. The mass failures dishearten students and engender national finger-pointing, but both the Ministry of Education and WAEC defend uncompromising grading practices that establish the SSS on a firm, internationally-recognizable footing.
Although SSSCE performance is improving steadily, U.S. admission officers should note that grade inflation is uncommon in Ghana. A's and B's constitute only 10% of the grade distribution in any academic subject. The grading system is so tough that any student with A's and B's on the SSSCE ranks well within the top 1% nationwide. Fewer than one hundred, out of 90,000 graduates each year, score aggregate 6, or 6 A's.
The table below summarizes recent SSSCE grades which are typical of examinees over the years:
Students took O-levels in six to ten subjects. Certificates were classified as Division One with Distinction (grades of 1-6 in six academic subjects including English, Math, a science and an 'arts' subject, with the sum of grades not more than 12); Division One (sum of grades between 13-24); Division Two (sum of grades not more than 36); Division Three (all others). Subjects in which the student failed do not appear on the certificate. Admission to Sixth Form, the A-level program, required Division One (and in the more competitive schools, individual subject grades of 1-2), while admission to post-secondary training schools required Division Two.
Students took A-levels in three (occasionally four) subjects plus the required General Paper (general knowledge, current events, civics, Ghanaian history and culture). The minimum standard for university admission was a pass in the General Paper (always classified as a Subsidiary Pass regardless of the grade) plus passes in three academic subjects, one of which must be at least a D. Admissions competition, especially to the more popular fields of study, raised the minimum entrance grade. It was common to see students retaking their A-levels until they attained the requisite grades for university admission.
Transcripts from secondary schools, training colleges, polytechnics and universities in Ghana will always contain an interpretation of the grading system, which varies from one institution to another. Generally:
However, at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology (KNUST), the scale is:
Degrees and diplomas are awarded with "honors" somewhat analogous to the American "cum laud" classifications. The grade point averages designating such honors will appear on the transcript, as in the case of the University of Ghana:
Published by GWS Online GH : 2017-01-22
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