Exams Design and Development

Major functions

The major functions of this department are to:-
  • Set and moderate all examination papers administered by the Council

  • Develop and regulate examinations formats in accordance with the syllabuses developed by the Tanzania Institute of Education and authorized by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training;

  • Supervise the marking of all examinations administered by the Council

  • Prepare and issue examiners' reports of candidates' performance on the various examinations

  • Advise the Executive Secretary on selection of examiners

Examination seasons

(a) November examinations season

  • Examinations held are:
  • Qualifying Test (QT)
  • Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (CSEE)

(b) May examinations season:

Examinations held are:

  • Advanced Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ACSEE).
  • Diploma in Education Examination (DEE)
  • Grade A Teachers Certificate Examination (GATCE)

(c) September examination season:

The only examination held in this season is the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and it is administered in the second week of September.

(d) Foreign Examinations:

NECTA acts as an agent for some Foreign Examining Boards from the United Kingdom.Most of these foreign examining boards have their examinations held in May/June and December/January every year.

Development of examinations

(a) Setting of question papers

In any subject area, setters chosen must have excellent academic qualifications in the subject being assessed. For all the above exams except the PSLE they will normally be university graduates who are conversant with the syllabus content and the mode of teaching that takes place in the schools. They must be teaching or must have taught at the level they are assessing for not less than 5 years

Every year the Council sends out to all schools and colleges what we call Inventory of Examiners forms through which the Head of School/Institution of a prospective setter is requested to provide a detailed confidential report on the teacher on matters pertaining to teaching ability, integrity, ability to handle confidential documents and dedication to work. Only after a favourable confidential report is received does the Council decide to appoint the teacher as a setter. Each appointed setter is given a guideline on how to set the questions. Such a guideline indicates a topic, type and number of questions and the skills to be tested in each question.

(b) Moderation of examination questions/items

Members of the moderation panel are usually curriculum Developers, School Inspectors, University Lecturers or experienced teachers who should not be teaching the candidates at the material time

The moderators ensure that the items and questions are representative of the syllabus content and objectives and are of the appropriate difficulty for the level being assessed.They also check to ensure the format and rubric of the paper is correct and that the vocabulary used and weighting of each item are also appropriate

Moderators are required to moderate as many questions as possible. Such questions are used by the subject coordinators to typeset examination papers.

Quality and Quality control

NECTA has established guidelines, formats and mechanisms which ensure the quality of National Examinations. At all stages of examination design and development, NECTA has set the guidelines which guarantee the quality of examinations as follows

At setting stage, although examination items are set by experienced teachers who are conversant with the subject content of a particular subject, equally competent educationists are selected to moderate the set items. This aims at ensuring the validity and reliability of the set items and their adherence to the prescribed level of candidates and syllabus.

At typesetting level, the typeset drafts of papers are also scrutinized by subject specialists. While typesetting is done by subject coordinators who are NECTA employees, the review of the typeset papers is done for each subject so as to make sure that the questions are coverage of the prescribed syllabus, their adherence to the established examination format and level of difficulty or their appropriateness to the level they are meant to assess.

During marking, the marking is done in such a way that, the scoring is fair to the greatest possible extent. The use of the conveyor belt system whereby only one marker marks one question in the candidate's script minimizes tremendously the chances for any candidate to be treated unfairly. In addition, dedicated checkers are appointed to ensure the marking process is fairly conducted. Checkers ensure that each question is marked according to the Standardized Marking Scheme and marks addition and transfers from inside the script to the outside the script is done accurately.

In general, these mechanisms ensure the maintenance of quality of NECTA's examinations at different levels