The new ministerial instructions governing national examinations have changed some features regarding the grading system. For instance, Grade value “1” is no longer the highest. The highest is now grade value “6”, the lowest being grade value “0” which wasn’t there before. According to Article 30 of the ministerial instructions, the grading of core subjects now consists of a seven (7) point scale expressed in both numerical and alphabetical grades reflecting the candidate’s level of achievement in each subject. The Ministry of Education through the National Examinations and Schools Inspection Authority (NESA) set the instructions in the framework for administering and managing national examinations in schools of general and professional education and technical and vocational training. The instructions were signed on July 26 and have started being implemented, according to Camille Kanamugire, Acting Head of Basic Education and TVET Examination Department at NESA. The standards-based grading boundaries of national examinations core subjects are now the following: from 70 to 100 per cent is described as “Excellent” with a letter grade “A” and Grade Value “6”. From 65 to 69 per cent is described as “Very Good” with a letter grade “B” and Grade Value “5”. From 60 to 64 per cent is described as “Good” with a letter grade “C” and Grade Value “4”. From 50 to 59 per cent is described as “Satisfactory” with a letter grade “D” and Grade Value “3”, From 40 to 49 per cent is described as “Adequate” with a letter grade “E” and Grade Value “2”. From 20 to 39 per cent is described as “fair” with a letter grade “S” and Grade Value “1” and from 0 to 19 per cent is described as “Fail” with a letter grade “F” and Grade Value “0”. For subsidiary subjects: from 40 to 100 per cent is described as “Fair” with a letter grade “S” and Grade value “1” and from 0 to 39 per cent is described as “Fail” with a letter grade “F” and Grade Value “0”. For TVET and Professional education, Integrated Assessments, Teaching Practicum, Accounting practice and clinical attachment and practice are graded by “A” ranging from 70 marks to 100 marks and “F” ranging from 0 to 69 marks. The letter grade “A” has a grade value of “6” and the letter grade “F” has a grade value of “0”. According to Kanamugire, the new grading system was set to easily be understood by any person. “It was hard for some people to understand that a student with aggregate “5” is the first and the one with “20” has failed in the primary leaving examination,” he said. “With the new grading system, the highest score in a subject is 6 instead of 1 and the best aggregate is 30 instead of 5.” Tackling Advanced Level, he said the highest aggregate is now 60 whether for general education, TVET or TTC while it used to be 73, 60 and 100, respectively. For Ordinary Level, he said, “we only counted eight subjects that a candidate scored well and eliminate one with the lowest grade value, but with the new instructions, we will count all nine subjects because we found out that they are all compulsory. The best candidate will score an aggregate of 54 instead of 8.” Marking is underway According to Kanamugire, the marking activity for primary leaving examinations started on July 26 and will run until August 27. For Ordinary Level, TVET, General Education and TTC, the marking will happen between August 10 and September 11. Kanamugire said that a system named School Data Management System (SDMS) is expected to ease the marking process as well as analysis and publication of the results.