Below average Grade seven academic performance …Strategies to support Form One learners 

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Below average Grade seven academic performance …Strategies to support Form One learners
Remedial lessons are important to meet the needs of affected learners

Sifelani Innocent Features Correspondent


• Schools to strengthen guidance and counseling support services for learners• Corrective measures to be considered to close the learning-achievement gap• No need to burden struggling learners with an increased load.

Completion of Grade Seven indicates the end of a nine-year primary level course of study and this means learners have to proceed to the next stage which is secondary education.

Given a realisation that the majority of 2020 Grade Seven learners failed the examination, there has been serious debate as to how affected learners could be supported.

For example, a suggestion for a re-write for learners who performed badly in their 2020 Grade Seven examination has been proffered.

Hitherto, there has been no pronouncement to consider the aforementioned proposition. As things stand and as is the norm, learners will proceed to Form One since they were subjected to a Grade Seven examination.

What this means is that those who attained satisfactory performance and those who didn’t are expected to enroll for Form One in 2021.

Schools must therefore come up with strategies or measures aimed at supporting learners to improve their learning outcomes. In this regard, I propose the following measures for consideration;

Remedial work

Corrective measures in the name of remediation must considered to close the learning-achievement gap.

Learners can be either supported through on-spot remediation and clinical remediation with the former being utilised during the course of teaching to promote meaningful learning.

Learners with learning-achievement gaps can also be exposed to clinical remediation where they will be, for specific periods, withdrawn from their classes to attend remedial sessions in Mathematics and Languages (Indigenous and English) learning areas.

Although all learning areas can have remediation sessions, emphasis is put on Mathematics and languages.

It has been observed that competency in Mathematics and languages promotes success in other learning areas.

Achievement screening tools must be used to identify a learner’s last point of success, strengths, and weaknesses.

The diagnostic information must subsequently inform areas/concepts for remediation.

Schools’ psychological services department under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education must give guidance with regards to screening tools for use by learning institutions.Reduced subjects load It must be noted that there is no need to further burden struggling learners with an increased load of leaning areas.

There is no need for a learner to undertake, for example, 10 subjects when a minimum of five subjects is a requirement to pursue different academic and or training routes after Ordinary level.

Learners must be guided to pursue learning areas of their interest, ability and choice.

For guidance in the choice of learning areas to consider, learners must be subjected to aptitude testing by Psychologists.

School- parents’ collaboration Parents are an important stakeholder in the education of their children and as such school-parents’ linkages must be strengthened.

The collaborative linkage must aim at encouraging parents to provide the necessary learning materials for their children and other related support aimed at helping them navigate their way with confidence in their educational pursuits.

Since learning extends to the home, parents must be urged to promote a supportive environment aimed at enhancing their children’s learning experiences.

Motivation The success of learners in their educational endeavors is partly dependent on their motivation.

Learners who don’t appreciate the need to be in school will never have the energy to sustain their focus and determination in school work.

Career guidance exhibitions can be useful in encouraging learners to appreciate the importance of being in school and the need for a career path to pursue.

Educational institutions in which learners are enrolled at sometimes impact negatively on learning outcomes as the institutions are perceived indifferently for various reasons.

Learners must therefore be exposed to successful individuals who would have been educated at the school of their current enrolment.

Role models play a significant role of squashing the, “what good can come out of Nazareth” narrative.

Ordinarily, past failures tend to have a pull down effect on affected learners’ quest for success.

Schools must consider programs to boost learners’ self esteem and confidence as this can help learners to performance at their optimal levels.

Guidance and counsellingGiven the low 2020 Grade Seven pass rate, it is likely that most schools will receive Form One learners with ruffled self-esteem resulting from their poor primary school results.

Furthermore, some learners might experience internal stigma.

Failure to give meaningful support to affected learners can lead to school dropouts, continued drop in school performance and mental health problems. Schools must therefore strengthen their guidance and counseling support services to meet the needs of the affected learners.

In instances where schools receive cases beyond their competency to handle, referrals to relevant professionals such as psychologists must be made.

Ultimately, an effective guidance and counseling program must promote learners’ safety, happiness, involvement and ability to perform to their potential.

Learners are bound to thrive in an emotionally healthy environment.

It must be borne in mind that factors which affect the learning processes vary from one community to the other.

Therefore, the ‘one size fits all approach’ does not apply as the effectiveness of intervention strategies is based on contextual realities.

A deliberate exercise to contextualise intervention strategies should be conducted and this exercise must involve; teachers, parents and learners.

The attainment of positive learning outcomes is so much dependent on the teachers who are chief facilitators of learning.

Thus, the importance of ensuring teachers’ motivation and wellbeing cannot be overemphasised.

• Sifelani Innocent is an Educational Psychologist. The author can be contacted on: