Reflections on the 2010 National Form Four Examinations in Tanzania: Debunking the Myths

Kitila Mkumbo


This is a documentary review-based study that has analysed five major assumptions that characterised the discussions on the National Form Four Examination results. These assumptions were: (i) the 2010 National Form Four Examination results were peculiar and caught the nation by surprise; (ii) candidates performed more poorly in Science and Mathematics than in Arts and Social Science subjects; (iii) private schools performed better than public schools; (iv) adequately-resourced schools performed better than poorly resourced schools; and (v) schools with highly qualified teachers performed better than those with poorly qualified teachers. This analysis confirmed only one of these assumptions, and demystified the others—that adequately-resourced schools perform better than poorly-resourced ones. This study has also established that the 2010 National Form Four Examination results were not so peculiar with respect to the gravity of poor performance as initially thought as the failure rates have been increasing over the past five years, with only a handful of candidates scoring Divisions I-III, and the overwhelming majority scoring divisions IV and 0.

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