The Examinations Administration Department (EAD) is charged with the responsibilities of carrying out all examination administration activities for the Examinations Council of Zambia. It is headed by The Assistant Director who is assisted by two (2) Principal Officers. The Reporting structure is such the Assistant Director reports directly to the Deputy Director. The activities cover the registration of examination centres and candidates for examinations.The department sets examinations, moderates question papers, prints and distributes examination materials. It also conducts and monitors examinations. It is responsible for conducting and supervising the marking of examination answer scripts as well as processing, production of results and issuance of certificates.
The Examination Administration Department conducts School and Primary Teacher Education examinations. The School examinations are the Grade 7 Composite examination, Junior Secondary School Leaving Examination at Grade 9 and the Joint School Certificate and General Certificate of Education Examination at Grade 12. The Primary Teacher Education Examinations cover Pre-Service, Special Education and Pre-School.
High Level activities for the EAD Department
The annual activities for Examinations Administration Department include the following;
Applications for registration as a new Examination centre shall be channelled through the District Education Board Secretary who will submit them to the Provincial Education Officer for onward transmission to Examinations Council of Zambia. The Head of the school / principal of the college is responsible for ensuring that the school/college is registered as an Examination Centre.
For Private Schools/Colleges, the application for Examination Centre status shall be accompanied by a copy of certificate of registration by MOESVTEE. The Examination centre status for Private schools/colleges is valid for a period of one year. Application for registration as a new centre shall reach the Examinations Council of Zambia not later than 30th June before the year in which the school/college intends to present candidates for Examinations.
Applications are made on prescribed forms. On the application forms, the requirements are listed and standards officers from the Districts and Province are responsible for centre inspection before recommendations are made
The duly signed application forms by the inspection team, the District Education Boards, Secretary and the Provincial Education Officer are submitted to the Examinations Council of Zambia for consideration and approval by respective Council Committees.
In the case of Grade 7 and Grade 9 the Junior Secondary and Primary Education Committee approves, while Grade 12/ General Certificate of Education (GCE), the School Certificate Committee approves
Centres for Teacher Education Colleges are approved by the Teacher Education Committee. The response on whether a centre has been approved or not approved as an Examination centre is sent through the same channels i.e. ECZ to PEO and copies to the District Education Board Secretaries. The centres are communicated to by the Provincial Education Officer of the decision of the respective Committees.
The Head of the school/principal of the college ensures that the number of candidates registered for Examinations is in line with the guidelines issued by the MESVTEE. The following are taken care of during candidate registration;
- A pupil who is not enrolled in Grade 7 shall not be entered for Grade 7 Examination.
- A pupil who is not enrolled in Grade 9 Examination shall not be entered for Grade 9 Examination except for external.
- Candidates to be entered for Grade 12 Examination must have Grade 9 certificate.
- GCE candidates cannot be entered for more than Four subjects.
- Only schools/centres registered as Examination centres shall present candidates for the Grades 7, 9, 12 and Teacher Education.
- No late entries shall be allowed.
- Candidates entered for Teacher Education College Examination should meet the minimum entry qualification of five O-levels as stipulated by the Ministry of Education, Science Vocational Training and Early Education.
Electronic Candidate Registration System (ECRS)
The Electronic Candidate Registration System was used to register candidates starting with Grade 12 in 2009. The system was a success in 2009 and indeed it is now being used for registration at all levels(i.e. Grade 7,9,12 & T.T) . With the system teachers have been trained on how to use the system by registering candidates at the centre and produce provisional registers which are checked by the candidates before submitting to the Examinations Council of Zambia. The entries are submitted on CDS together with Provisional Registers which have been consolidated from Districts and Provinces.
Once the CDs have been received at ECZ, the data is loaded by the IT Department. Then the EAD is given access to verify that all candidates with their subjects have been captured. This is part of Quality Assurance. CDs containing the loaded data are then sent to all Provincial Education Officers for information. After entry statistics have been produced by the IT Department, they are used for ordering of Examination question papers and stationery.
Printing of Examination Question Papers
The EAD in conjunction with the Procurement unit floats the tender for the security printing, packaging and delivery of Examination question papers and the successful printer is awarded the contract to print the question Papers. Once the Examination question papers are received at ECZ the EAD requests for security personnel to guard the premises for 24 hours.
Distribution of Examination Materials
Pre- Examination materials like Attendance Registers, Objective Answer Sheets are printed, manually sorted and packaged by centre. Answer Booklets and all Writing paper,(i.e. graph paper, home economics pads, technical drawing paper, etc) for school certificate and GCE candidates are provided by the ECZ. It is the responsibility of the EAD to ensure that all stationery for the centres is packed and ready for dispatch.
Once the Examination question papers and other Examination materials are ready for dispatch as per schedules/time tables, the EAD delivers the materials directly to the District Education Board Secretary’s office under police escort using ECZ trucks. Distribution of the Examination materials to schools/colleges is the responsibility of the District Education Board Secretaries. In line with the guidelines on administration of examination in Zambia, this is done under police escort.
Monitoring of Examinations
The EAD and other departments conduct sport checks during the conduct of Examinations to ascertain the security of Examinations materials and also to ensure that the guidelines for the Administration of Examination in Zambia are adhered to.
Marking of Scripts
Once the Grade 7 Answer Sheets have been delivered the Department receives and starts scanning. Where a Province is unable to deliver, the EAD sends an officer to go and collect.The marking of the Grade 9 Examination is done at selected centres in the Provinces. The EAD ensures that Mark-Sheets, Marking schemes and the marking budget is done and money is sent to the Provincial Education officer. The marking of scripts at Grade 12 level is centralized. The EAD ensures that marking centres are procured, marking schemes and coordination scripts are printed and packed by marking centres. Marking is done by trained Teachers for specific subjects and the marking centres are supervised by the ECZ staff.
Electronic Marks Capturing System (EMCS)
Before 2009 all marks were recorded on OMR-Mark sheets, which needed to be scanned before data was loaded by ITD. The ECZ, encountered some challenges in the processing results, a decision was therefore made to introduce a new system of capturing marks . In 2009 Grade 12 marks were captured through the Electronic marks capturing system. In this system marks are entered and verified at the marking centre. The system worked well and was a success. The ECZ is to pilot the same system at Grade 9 in selected districts.
Production of Examination Materials
The Processing and release of results is always guided by the schedules prepared based on the service charter which stipulates which of the results are supposed to be released at each time. The Examinations Administration Department processes the results as follows:
Grade 7-the answer cards are scanned to capture the responses which are then scored and loaded and graded by ITD.
Grade 9 -the mark sheets are scanned to capture the marks which are loaded and graded by ITD.
Grade 12-the marks are loaded directly from the centres and graded by ITD.
Once results have been processed and the results are ready for release, respective Committees of the Council are invited for Extra-Ordinary meetings to approve the results before they are released.
Grade 7 and 9 Examination results are released to the MESVTE at the Grade 8 and 10 selection meetings.
Queries and Appeals on Examination
It is the responsibility of the Head of the school/Principal of the college to check the results for errors and omissions for candidates and then report these to the Examinations Council of Zambia. No queries shall be allowed after 31st May following the year of the Examinations as amendments for printing of certificates shall have been completed.
All malpractice cases detected at the Examination Centre are sent to the Examinations Council of Zambia with the material evidence and the following documents:
(i) A report from the Head-teacher;
(ii)A report from the supervisor;
(iii)A report from the invigilator;
(iv) An exculpatory statement from the candidate(s).
Malpractice cases may also be detected at a marking centre. In this case, the examiner/marker suspecting dishonest work is required to submit the marked script(s) in question to the team leaders with a report stating clearly reasons for being suspicious. The cases are then submitted to the Examinations Council of Zambia for further scrutiny. All the reported malpractice cases are scrutinised by the respective committees of the Council with a view to nullify or to release the results.