UK Secondary School Qualification System

Written by Akeem Alao

UK Secondary School Qualification System

By Abdulwaheed Badmus

In England, GCSE is an equivalent of 4th year secondary school curriculum in Europe and Nigeria. It covers maximum of 8 subjects.

It is an evaluation of those in year 10 of schooling in Wales and England. It is called NAT5 examination and the end of S4 in Scotland.

This is when a child is 16 years old. It is not comparable to S75 given to those who left secondary school in 4th year in Nigeria prior to system or modern school of those days.

But should almost be an equivalent of JSS3 junior secondary school certificate in Nigeria or slightly above Nigeria’s JS3 certificate because of bogus subjects taught in JSS3 and a year difference.

Then, followed by AS in England and Wales but Higher in Scotland. Usually students are evaluated in 5 of the subjects with at least C in GCSE or Nath 5 at the end of their 5th year in secondary schools or those in year 11 or S5 in England and Wales or S5 in Scotland.

A/Level or Advance Higher in Scotland, in 3 subjects, at the end of 6th year of secondary school. A/L or Advance Higher enable a student with good to skip the first year in the university just like in Nigeria.

It is also compulsory to have A/L to read some courses. But usually, most universities accept students on the bases of AS or Highers results if the students meet admission requirements. No further examination is required.

Students aspiring to study any forms of medicines and Dentistry are required to do aptitude tests and obtain good grades not less than ABB or AAB in Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology or Physics or any other other subject.

Mathematics or Physics or and Chemistry are the two compulsory subjects to study medicine in most universities in UK. Biology is optional but Chemistry is compulsory to study medicine.

Evaluation in these subjects are based on yearly taught curriculum for each subjects unlike in Nigeria where SSCE are based on 6 years taught curriculum if Mathematics and English language or 3 years secondary school taught curriculum in other subjects. Despite these facts our secondary school certificates are only equivalent to GCSE or AS and Highers.

English and Mathematics are optional in other levels if passed at GCSE equivalent levels. There is no room for repeat of examination at each levels except carry overs and other access to other qualifying examinations.

Students’ performance is graded from A to F. Where is best grade and F is fail.

A review of our evaluation system is a must to improve our students performance in their secondary school terminal examinations.

A piece meal evaluation and certification of behavioral objectives which are mandatory prerequisites to further studies are part of education reforms we need to combat students poor performance in secondary schools.


About the author

Akeem Alao

Akeem Alao trained as a language teacher. He graduated from Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education where he studied English/Yoruba Languages and Ekiti State University where he obtained a degree in English Education.

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