Fair, Equitable Examinations for Deaf Students Remains A Challenge for UNEB

2318 Views Kampala, Uganda
The setting, moderation and administration of a fair and equitable examination for Deaf students, remains a challenge for Uganda National Examinations Board, teaching specialists have noted. Several teachers say that apart from the teaching hurdles they have to face, the deaf candidates at all education levels are denied a fair assessment during the final examinations. The Just concluded Primary Leaving Examinations show some of the testing and final assement flaws that pose several disadvantage to the deaf students. John Kabuye, is one of the 30 deaf children that sat their PLE at Uganda School for the deaf in Ntinda Kampala. Speaking through his sign language teacher, Kabuye said he found the Mathematics paper very easy for him simply because he was dealing with numbers. He however says that his hopes for passing the exams were quashed by the science paper. He says that the sentence construction and sentence meaning were a challenge for him. Kabuye cited question 49 (d) in the science paper, which asked candidates to Name the substance found in urine. Kabuye says that he could not give the answer because the word "substance" does not exist in the sign language. Elizabeth Namulwana, Kabuye's Science teacher, says the testing body should have used the word 'thing' which exists in sign language. Samalie Nanvunanwa, Kabuye's English teacher explains that the sign language has "very limited vocabulary" unlike other languages and the deaf students are usually at loss when the UNEB exams expose them to words that are never found in the sign language in public examinations. But with a limited vocabulary, Kabuye found the services of the interpreters provided by UNEB handy. Juliet Tumuhairwe, the head teacher of Uganda Schools for the deaf, however says this was the first time UNEB was sending interpreters examination interpreters for the deaf. //Cue in: "They sent us... Cue out: ...children."// Nanvunanwa is opposed to the idea of setting separate exams for the deaf. She however says that UNEB Questions should, therefore, be phrased clearly to pave way for easy comprehension. Nanvunanwa says a word like root nodules a deaf child might write nodule roots which is a correct answer to someone who understands sign language but a wrong answer to any other examiner. //Cue in: "In sign language... Cue out: ...they have."// Language specialists have however given UNEB a nod for the step taken to add an extra 15 and 30 minutes of time for the deaf candidates. Nanvunanwa says equal effort should be made to ensure that the grading of the deaf and final mark award is done separately to ensure fairness.


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