All secondary students in Liberia, who wish to go on to university, must pass the national exams administer by the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC). Sadly, nearly half the number of students sitting the national exam fails every year. With a weakened educational system coupled with low pass rates, this is leading to low self worth and esteem of students, reduction in college admission rates as well as increase in youth vulnerability for a country that endured nearly two decades of civil war.
LIPACE launched the Exam in Review project in 2013 as a data-driven approach to understanding the casual factors behind the persistent decline of students. We hope to deliver a full achievement package to enable students reverse this perennial failure. Using critical research and data-driven skills, we successfully produced post war Liberia's first study guide: WAEC in Review - as a tool to increase student’s achievement on the national exams. In its pilot year, 1,690 students and 108 teachers received the guide through the Exam in Review project. Data collected from partner schools revealed that 74% of students successfully passed the exam compared to the national passing average of 35% in 2014/2015.
In 2015, the program launched its first interactive exam and seminar series. These series continue to create the platform for our trained volunteers and students to interactively discuss the exam rubrics, its dos and don’ts, and content. At our routine seminars, we bring students face-to-face with the governance structure for the administration of the exam. These series are addressing the root causes of the dismal performances of students and delivering a comprehensive achievement package. A total of 5,000 senior secondary students have participated in these series across Montseraddo, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Bong, and Margibi counties. LIPACE is currently exploring an expansion strategy to all counties by the end of 2018/2019 school year.
Through Exams in Review, LIPACE is proving that increasing student achievement is not something we do for them but something we do with them.