25 February 2016

Nigeria: JAMB Deploys Anti-Guess Software for CBT, Trains 100 Staff

Candidates of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, UTME who are experts in guessing answers to questions during examinations, should better study hard to have a mastery of their subjects, as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has acquired a software that reduces the tendency for students to guess accurately during examination.

Speaking exclusively with Vanguard on phone, JAMB's Public Relations Officer, Dr Fabian Benjamin said JAMB has invested heavily in training and acquisition of some softwares that are specifically designed for examinations.

Benjamin's words; "Technically, what we were using before to test students was what we called Classical Test Theory, but now we have adopted what we call Item Response Theory. The difference is that the Item Response Theory reduces the percentage of guessing.The tendency for students to guess and guess right is minimal with this software."

With the introduction of CBT and the software in place, Fabian maintained that it will be difficult for candidates to engage in examination malpractice.

Besides, for proper efficiency in service delivery by staff of JAMB, Fabian disclosed that over one hundred staff were sent abroad for local and international training on computer based test. "This year, we have sent over 100 staff for training abroad for international and local training to make them grounded in the art of computer based test," he said.

Computer based test

Dr. Fabian, who disclosed that over 500 centres across the country have been fully equipped with state-of -the -art facilities, pointed out that it is an improvement on the 400 centres of 2015 UTME.

According to him, each of the 400 centres used in 2015 UTME had a carrying capacity of 150 candidates, while those for this year have a carrying capacity of 300 candidates.

The protest: Dr. Benjamin, however lamented the situation where some students, who were supposed to have registered and adequately prepared for the examination slated for Monday, were busy protesting for an extension of registration.

"Where were they when the portal for registration opened seven months ago? Why are they calling for an extension of registration date when registration has been closed?"

He urged stakeholders not to allow students put pressure on JAMB to extend the time of registration, adding that if JAMB bends to their demands, it will never have a standard in this country.

Meanwhile, over 1.5million UTME candidates, according to Fabian have registered for the examination slated to commence on Monday.

Unlike last year when many candidates complained of difficulties in registration, transfer of candidates from one state to another, this year, candidates have little or no complain.

Some of the candidates interviewed by Vanguard could not point out any area of difficulty that emanated from JAMB. One of the candidates who claimed JAMB transferred her to Warri instead of Lagos for examination, when properly interrogated, confessed that she picked Warri during registration when it was apparent that Lagos centres were full.

Our findings from candidates further revealed that many of them who were posted to other states other than states of their choice, either caused it by mistakenly clicking on the state during registration or when they discovered that their state of choice was full due to late registration, they had no option than to chose any available state.

Tertiary institutions

The examination which will run for 10 days, will leave candidates to jostle for the 800,000 admission slots in Nigeria's tertiary institutions.

CBT: While encouraging students to come to the reality of computer-based testing as the most effective way of conducting examination in the 21st century, JAMB registrar, Professor Dibu Ojerinde said: "The idea of the CBT is that after 30 minutes of the examination and the candidate leaves the exam hall, a graphical result of the test will be sent to the candidate's mobile phone number, while the specific scores will be released within the period of four days."

Comparing the statistics of early years of UTME candidates' registration, we discovered a steady decline since 2013 when the CBT was introduced.

In 2013, about 1.7 million people registered for UTME, in 2014, the number fell to 1.6 million, while about 1.4 million registered in 2015 examination. However, this year the numbers of candidates who registered has increased to over 1.5 million.

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