JAMB & the integrity question
By Peter Ejirika
A cursory glance of the news media’s account of the management and reporting of the scores of the recent Jamb Exam is very troubling to any beneficiary of Nigeria’s education system of pre-war era. Jamb Exam by its very nature is supposed to be a type of Standardized Test or Examination.
This is a test that is administered and scored in a consistent or "standard" manner and such tests are designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent and are administered and scored in a predetermined, standard manner. The last Jamb Exam was a far cry of the forgone in terms of the administration of the exams, for instance the names of some bona fide students were missing from the list of candidates, some centers had mediocre sitting and lighting arrangements and there was one logistical problem or the other which interfered with the Reliability and Validity of this test as a measure of either a student’s college readiness or knowledge, skills and abilities in specific subject areas. In addition the general atmosphere associated with the administration of this Test, to say the least, raises some Psychometrics issues.
According to Dr. Ojerinde’s news release, 80,419 results were withheld for further scrutiny. Invariably, the additional scrutiny compromises the integrity of the Testing Standards and invalidates the Scoring system. Also, the additional scrutiny raise some Testing as well as Scoring issues including the nature of the Rubrics that will be used for scoring the answer sheets of the latter. In conjunction with these anomalies, Dr. Ojerinde reported that about 40,612 candidates were not familiar with the shading instructions of the exams. Undoubtedly, this is a reflection of JAMB’s Field Testing Model not a fault of the students. In terms of reporting of students’ performance on the Test, Dr. Ojerinde’s Report as presented in the news media lacked the fundamental element of Relevance that is usually associated with the reporting of Statistical data of this nature. In fairness to the Nigerian people the last Jamb Exam was more of a measure of a Student’s Pre-Test degree of Exposure with the Data Collection instrument than a measure of Knowledge-base in specific subject areas.
In view of these deficiencies, Higher Education should be mindfully reflective of using 2013 JAMB Exam for College Admission, the Education Select Committee of the Legislature should conduct a hearing on the myriad of irregularities surrounding the 2013 exams and Dr. Ojerinde should honorably resign because he failed the Nigerian populace. He demonstrated his inability to administer and conduct a secured and strict examination. No doubt, the leadership of Jamb is a renowned scholar however there is a world of difference between scholarship and managerial skill set.
The universities should conduct research studies on the use of Jamb Examination for college admission and the students whose results are withheld for whatever reasons are entitled to refund. In conclusion, the Legislature should be aware that the JAMB exam candidates of today are the Nigerian workforce of the future.
Dr. Peter Ejirika, (CPA) is a Higher Education Management Consultant, and Ex-student of Baptist High School, Port Harcourt. He contributed this piece from Mary Hardin Baylor University, Texas