ADVANCED Level Divinity teachers are up in arms with the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec), accusing the examination body of having changed marking grades as well as the subject content, resulting in the majority of students performing dismally in the 2016 examinations.
By Elias Mambo
The teachers, who have formed a WhatsApp group for ease of communication, alleged the Zimsec subject manager Rachel Chabuka had made so many changes, resulting in Divinity students failing, yet it was one of the easiest A’Level subjects.
In a letter to Zimsec the teachers said A’Level Divinity passes had deteriorated since the ascendancy of the new subject manager.
“The ‘A’ grade is now a rare commodity in Divinity. Even top performing schools like St Faith failed to score a single A grade. “Divinity questions are not differentiating gifted learners from average learners in accordance to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Objectives,” reads the letter.
“Emerging trends are that the marking scheme and the marking are too strict and rigid for 16 to 18-year-old learners.
“The syllabus content was adopted from Cambridge but the Cambridge questions are clear and straightforward and not ambushing the students.”
The teachers have also written to the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) raising their concerns.
“A formal complaint is hereby made to the union as a body that represents teachers.
“The concern hinges on the setting, management, marking and grading of the Zimsec A’ Level Divinity Paper 9154 at national level.
“This is not a phenomenon, which requires a remark of a particular centre since the disaster affected many schools,” a letter to PTUZ reads.
“This may be confirmed through an analysis of the Divinity results at provincial level to confirm the trend.
“For the past three years, the quantity and quality of Divinity passes are deteriorating.
“This is a matter of concern for the teacher, the student and the parent.”
The letter further reads: “Through your office and other stakeholders concerned, may you launch an urgent formal appeal and advocacy with the higher offices in the ministry for an inquiry into the way the paper is being run vis-à-vis History and Literature in English, equally challenging papers but producing quality results.”
The teachers also said the examination questions were now more oriented towards Sociology as opposed to the Judeo-Christian religion.
“There is variance between the major topics in the syllabus and the examination. Peripheral issues are being emphasised on,” the letter reads.
“Although Divinity workshops and seminars were conducted even under the facilitation of item writers and the subject manager, the results are still frustrating. Divinity results of yesteryear bear testimony.
“The trends indicate AAB, AAD, AAE, AAO, and BBO among students doing Divinity. In such trends, Divinity is on the worst grade yet equally challenging subjects like Literature in English and History are performing exceptionally well.”
But Chabuka on Wednesday told The Standard that the teachers’ concerns could only be addressed by Zimsec.
“The teachers wrote to Zimsec so it is up to the organisation to respond to all the allegations,” she said.
Zimsec spokesperson, Nicky Dlamini was not reachable on her mobile phone on Friday.