The Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Dr. Moinina David Sengeh educated Sierra Leoneans after criticism on the NPSE results. The Minister compared and contrasted the different marks scored by the pupils.

Between last year and up till now, some parents and teachers call and complain about “normalization”. They do not want exams to be normalized. What they are saying, is their kids are “smarter” than their scores tell them. While I have tried to explain that it is not possible to think in raw scores (all standardised tests are normalized globally and since NPSE started. Nothing is different beyond the fact that I am engaging the public on these details. They normalize to develop a common scale where there’s different scales, e.g every examiner mark English differently between pupils and between scores. Normalization makes marking and grading fairer for everyone. It does not take your score and give it to someone else.)

At the bottom of it all, as I have spoken to parents, they really just want to know generally how their kids perform relative to other kids.

In comes Percentiles -not percentages. A percentile tells you what fraction of other kids you did better than. So if your score range is the 90th percentile, it means you did better than 90% of all test takers.
Parents and kids are competitive and want to see how they generally compare to others.

Now I share this to show that it is possible for someone to score 400 in NPSE and be in the 70th percentile and someone to score 311 and be in the 99th percentile. Certainly, it depends on the quality, and volume of test takers.

We can’t, and it is not fair or correct to compare when kids scored 400 to now. Different cohort, different exams, different number of kids. As parents and society, let’s focus on congratulating our kids and helping them transition from NPSE to Secondary school.