The NESU, which denotes the above title, provides professional and technical advice to the Minister
through the Permanent Secretary on issues pertaining to the National Examinations, Standards, Selection
Procedures and the Progression of students from the three exit points in the education system in which
national examinations are administered. The NESU also advises on new developmental approaches or
policies in examination and assessment taken.
• Administer three National examinations namely SISE at grade 6, SIF3 at Form 3 and the
SISC at Form 5.
• Assist in the administration of Form 6 and 7 that are directly under SPBEA qualification
• Monitor educational standards through the conduct of national examinations and other
• Administer the promotion of students based on the selection procedures guided by the Legal
• Grant certification and approval for repeat and transfers.
Activities and Outcomes
• The three SISE Examiners executed the Examiners’ Instrument accordingly and also complied with
SISE Examinations- Std 6
the conditions and terms thereat.
• The drafts of SISE examination papers were received still rather very late this year by NESU.
• The Moderators were identified and the moderation on the three SISE examination papers was
• The dissemination of all exams to the 10 provinces and about more than 500 primary schools
was on schedule.
Table 1. Shows The General Enrolment Data By Gender And The Access Rate
1997 9,040 2,641
1998 9,201 2,665
Crash! - No data
2000 8,992 2,779
General Enrolment Data By Gender And Year
The variation in the enrolment from 1997 – 1999 was caused by the ethnic tension, which led to the
closure of more than 50% of the primary schools on Guadalcanal. The phenomenal shortages of
places in the secondary school were soon rectified and the placement escalated since the inception of
Community High School (CHS) in 2000. A drastic increase in the access rate since 2001 also reveals
that in the above table.
5,885 students were placed in 2003 compared to 5,792 in 2002, a 2% increase. This slight but
significant increase in the placement was due to the additional three Community High Schools with a
total enrolment of 106 in the secondary system. The above table also reveals a higher proportion of
male students’ enrolment than the females’ over the successive years.
Table 2. Shows SISE Candidacy On The Actual Number That Sat 2003.
PROVINCIAL BREAK-DOWN OF CANDIDACY
MAKIRA/ULAW 723 582 141 81
It is interesting to note that of the ten provinces, RenBel, Malaita, Central and Isabel have less than 10
percentage unplaced while Makira/Ulawa, Guadalcanal, and Honiara have less than 20 percentage
unplaced. The rest have 20 percentage and more unplaced. Hence, it is also important to note that since
the tension, approximately more than 50% or less was the number of students on Guadalcanal schools
that did not register due to the closure of primary schools, resulting in only 705 students that registered
in 1999 and 961 in 2003 compared to 1,560 in 1998. ((refer to Table 1)
SISE PROVINCIAL BREAKDOWN OF PLACEMENT BY GENDER.
Table 3. Shows Provincial Placement/Drop Out by Gender
CANDIDATURE PLACEMENT DROP
M F M
35 19 34
971 740 904
208 181 196
443 380 369
GUADALCANAL 544 417 445
MAKIRA/ULAW 404 319 335
239 221 182
241 166 165
NATIONAL RAW MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS BY SUBJECT
2.1 Table 4 Represents Subject Means and Standard Deviations
Table 3. Subject Mean and Standard Deviation
Of the three subjects, English, Maths and the General Paper; Maths appears to be an easier paper than
the two with a mean of 49.2 but discriminates the students better with a spread of 18.2. Maths proves to
be a better paper because it implies that students attempt the paper and simultaneously spread them
into their abilities. This year, English with a mean of 32.1 was found rather difficult with a reasonable
spread of 13.6 in comparison to the General Paper, which was often found in the past to be difficult with
a mean of 45.7 and standard deviation of 11.4. A very interesting switch that may have been probably
caused by examiner having deliberately set out to change the standard, readability of the examination.
RAW SUBJECT MEANS 2002-2003
Table 5. Shows Subject Raw Means Over The Years.
Table 5. Subject Raw Means
While it has been the policy of the National Examinations and Standards Unit to have examiners attempt
to maintain standards and quality of examinations from year to year, a number of factors may contribute
to its difficulty nature. It could be argued that the examination difficulties may be caused by the
pedagogical aspects in which teachers of the particular subject may have not taught or have the mastery
of the particular subject well, or that the SISE cohort may have revealed weaknesses in the subject in
which it could be in association with the curriculum related problems. The other probable cause may be
derived from an examiner who focuses more on complex and difficult concepts or sections of the paper.
Another factor may be from a highly descriptive nature of the examination with a harsh marking regime.
• Inter-subjects Correlation.
A very good correlation in all subjects, and in particular the General paper that correlates equally well
with English and Mathematics of 0.62.
• SIF3 registration forms were sent to about 110 form 3 secondary schools in the 10 provinces
and throughout the country.
• The revised Form 4 Application forms including the choices were sent with examination papers in
Which questions if any proved to be
order to reduce the postal cost.
too easy or too difficult for the
• Two subject examiners were identified and executed the examiners’ agreement.
Which questions if any proved to • Two subject moderators were identified and the moderation of the English and Math’s were
In which areas did the candidates
executed accordingly. Again as in SISE, the drafts were received by NESU very late in 2003.
show particular strengths and • The SIF3 subject markers contract was done and executed by the respective markers accordingly.
weaknesses in this examination?
Additional comments concerning
The rate per script was $5.00. Again as in SISE, the contractual marking was found cost
the candidates performance
In your opinion was the
effective, efficient and reliable. It took an average of 12 days to complete the marking that also
performance of the candidates
included the second marking and the checking. The cost for marking SIF3 was more than
affected by the quality of the
production of the examination?
(diagram., layout, photos or quality
• The same guideline for report writing was given to the SIF3 Chief markers. The reports were
professionally written and highlight the key issues. (The Chief Marker’s Report can be easily
Which questions if any was
invalidated as a result of any error
on the paper?
• Total enrolment was 4,665.
In your opinion, was the exams set
and administered according with •
Total male students placed at Form 4 were 2,944 of which 1,666 were boys and 1,278 girls.
the exams regulations?
• The access rate for 2002 was 63%.
Was the amount of time adequate?
Did the papers reflect a good •
There was an increase of 69 students in 2003 SIF3 enrollment from the previous year.
coverage of the syllabus?
10. Did the mark allocation (weighting)
reflect the relative importance of •
The Mean and Standard Deviation were as fol ows:
topics? Did the paper make use of
Subject Mean SD No.
the wide range of exams question
English 46.9 13.5 4383
11. The actual no. of cand. sat, the
Math 40.8 21.8 4384
highest–lowest mark & total mark.
12 General comments…..
Again English was an easier paper than Math’s and also less discriminating while maths was
relatively difficult and discriminates well.
Both male and female student performed equally well English in English while in mathematics boys
performed better than girls.
The Intersubject correlation between Maths and English is 0.44, while 1.0 is the highest correlation.
• The execution of the examiners and moderators’ agreements were done for the four core subjects,
SISC – FORM 5
English, Math, Science, Social Studies and the rest of the elective subjects such as Agriculture,
Business Studies, Home economics, Industrial Art and New Testament Studies.
• The SISC registration forms were revised and sent to 43 out of 47 Form 5 Secondary Schools in
the country. The four secondary schools that did not sit were; Avu Avu, Siota, Tangarare, and
• The contractual marking was again found to be very efficient cost, effective and manageable
compared to the hourly rate payment system. It is, therefore, highly recommended that the script
marking is again encouraged. The examination sitting for the SISC was on schedule.
• The Chief markers and the Markers’ contracts were made out and executed by the respective
• The report guideline was given to the SISC Chief markers. The reports were professionally written
and highlighted the key issues which of course can be accessed from the individual subject Chief
Table 6. Student Enrollment
• Total students registered were 2,521. Students placed at Form 6 were about 469 males and 248
females. Although, the placement numbers are subject to change over time, the actual Form 6
enrollment in 2004 has shown a steady increase by 30%. This was due to the additional Form 6
schools in 2004.
• The access rate for 2003 was 28%.
• Table 7 Subject Enrollment:
Eng Math Scie Soc Agric Bus.
H.Econ Ind/Art NTS
2521 2521 2521 1128 1281 431
*229 *229 *229 *128 *146 *30
• Did Not Sit
It is interesting to note that the subject enrollment for NTS and Business Studies were increasingly high
compared to other elective subjects. Agriculture also appears to be very popular subject offering.
• Table 8 Combined Raw mean and Standard Deviation
41.9 11.0 2296
30.1 14.8 2292
43.1 14.8 2291
Agriculture 38.8 13.2 1000
37.0 13.2 1135
Econ 43.2 13.8 401
Art 36.1 15.1 401
53.1 13.3 1434
The Science and Math have shown to be relatively difficult compared to the rest of the subjects.
Although the Social Studies have shown to be relatively easier compared to the three core subjects, its
spread of 14.8 revealed a good discrimination. The Math proved to be a difficult paper but also
discriminates well. All subjects mean floats around the 30’s and 40’s except for Math and NTS.
Table 9 Inter-Subject Correlation
Math Scie Soci Agric. Art. Busi. H/Eco Indus.
0.48 0.63 0.60 0.38 0 0.46 0.63 0.26 0.52
0.70 0.54 0.34 0 0.50 0.55 0.32 0.42
0.70 0.50 0 0.61 0.70 0.35 0.53
0.44 0 0.53 0.66 0.28 0.53
0 0 0
Combinations of the following subjects have appeared to correlate well: Math and Science, Science
and Social Science, and Science and Home Economics with all 0.70. The least correlation is
between Industrial Art and Business Studies of 0.10.
• The total number of secondary schools with Form 6 in 2003 was 14.
• However, the number of Form 6 places allocated this year (2004) have slightly increased due to the
additional new Form 6 schools, namely;
Jones Adventist College
The current number of Form 6 in the country is 17
Table 10 Form 6 Student Enrollment
The above table reveals approximately 30% access rate at Form 7.
Almost twice the number was Art students compared to Science.
• The total number of Form 7 places allocated to five secondary schools in 2004 was 207 to the
(Art 51, Science 59)
( “ 11, “ 20)
( Art 11, Science 14)
The selection and placement was very much influenced by the cut – off points from an aggregate of 10
(E-3B) for Science and 12 for Art. The 11’s and 12’s in the science could not get the places due to the
limited number of places.
• LEGAL FRAME WORK
The Legal Notice # 9 needs to be revised to create an additional clause to be stipulated for the selection criteria for the
Community High Schools. The recent development of SISTA has triggered off another concern regarding the revision of the
Legal Notice # to cater the changes in the selection features.
• National Examination and Assessment Board (NEAB)
The revival of the Examination Board will help to alleviate some of the burdens that this unit is currently faced in some
aspects of the decision-making, accountability and transparency. The revised function and membership of the NEAB has been
submitted but is still awaiting approval.
While clearly, there is a need for the future development of subject prescriptions and subsequently the Examination
Specifications for SISC, SIF3 and SISE, it is of paramount importance that due consideration is given in the revision of the
current subject syllabi.
• ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING (AFL)
There is now a paradigm shift in the assessment framework from the Assessment for Ranking to Assessment For Learning.
This shift will focus more in the primary and lower secondary. This AFL should be back to back with SISTA as a way to
improve the students’ learning and quality of teaching by teachers. This is going to be the new project administered by SPBEA.
• NESU STAFFING
NESU has recently recruited the Technical and Assessment personnel. We are yet to recruit another officer before we can be
comfortably implementing our work programs efficiently and effectively.
It is highly essential that there be transport made available for NESU during its operation. Becoming immobile will only result
in the ineffective implementation of the Work Program. We have to be mindful of the fact that NESU is strictly on the time
schedule – that examinations to be sat on this date must eventuate. Failing to comply with the examination regulations will only
result in the invalidation of examinations. This can be very costly and time consuming.
Hiring a vehicle can be very costly indeed. It is highly recommended that a vehicle be purchased for NESU to run its
operations. On hiring basis, each year NESU would be spending about $100,000.00. There are vehicles that can be
purchased for $35,000 to $40,000.00. This option would certainly save money.
• INDEPENDENT INVIGILATORS
Chief Markers’ reports received and summarized by NESU had revealed numerous evidences of cheating that have taken place
in schools. Several schools last year were alleged of cheating. It is imperative that security measures are taken and seek legal
action on those schools that were involved. Hence, the need for independent invigilators must be addressed quickly this
year before the next round of the examination sitting.
• OFFICE FACILITIES TO BE PAID UNDER NESU RECURRENT BUDGET.
Quality Services cannot be achieved without proper supporting facilities. There is a need of 1 only photocopying machine,
1only scanner needed for quality examination paper, 3 computers and 1 only matrix printer needed for printing out
examination results. One only power point projector. (See NZAID Budget)