Egypt’s education ministry announces Thanaweya Amma exam structure

Aziz Abouelkhair, Tuesday 3 Jan 2023

Minister of Education Reda Hegazy announced on Monday evening the structure and marking guidelines for Thanaweya Amma exams – high school exams – for school year 2022/23, set to begin on 10 June.

Thanaweya Amma , Ahram
Thanaweya Amma , Ahram

According to a statement by the ministry, the exams will follow the open book format. They will be administered electronically using tablets, with paper tests being available in case of technical difficulties. Both versions, the electronic and paper versions of the exam, shall have the same duration to ensure fairness.

The tests, the ministry says, will be divided into two parts. The first part, which constitutes 85 percent of the total grade, is composed of multiple-choice questions (MCQs). The second part, which constitutes 15 percent of the total grade, is composed of short essay questions that comply with the minister’s decision in September to bring back short essay questions.

Thirty percent of the exam’s questions will test understanding and cognition. While 40 percent measures the ability to apply what has been previously studied. The final 30 percent will test the student’s problem-solving skills. Furthermore, a question’s efficacy will be based on its measurement of learning outcomes.

Hegazy emphasised the need for concision and accuracy in phrasing questions. This is to avoid redundant answers in multiple choice questions. He also stressed that the exams will be designed to test the students’ cognition and true learning outcomes and that they shall be free of any errors in spelling or vague wording.

Moreover, the minister asserted the commitment of test makers to the test making template’s general and specific features.

The exam grade will be based on the number of questions, and the marks will be distributed in a way that reflects the quality of the students’ performance on every question.

A mock exam will be available on the ministry’s website during the second half of the school year.

As per last year, students will be handed a concepts booklet alongside the question sheet. At the end of the exam, students will hand back the booklet.

For the last two academic years, the final exam has been composed of only multiple-choice questions (MCQs) as part of the state's effort to replace the decades-old system, based on memorisation, with a modern system based on the comprehension of academic material.  

The introduction of the new exam system in 2019 resulted in less students passing the Thanaweya Amma exams, with the passing rate dropping from 81.5 percent in the 2019-2020 academic year to 75 percent in 2021-2022.

Exam marking scheme:

The exams will be marked electronically in their entirety using a scan of the students answer sheet. Two instructors will be assigned to review the short essay questions to ensure accuracy.

In case the two reviewers disagree on as much as half a mark, a third instructor will be called in to give a final grade.

In compliance with ministerial decision 113/1992, exam reviewers must have no relatives taking the exams so as to ensure objectivity and eliminate bias.

The importance of Thanawiya Amma:

The Thanaweya Amma exams are critical for students and parents alike, since they determine university prospects based on the grades obtained.

Hegazy referred to the examinations as a matter of national security, demanding transparency with students in the creation of the exam to ensure equality of opportunity.

Finally, primary subject instructors who were recently trained in question phrasing are to be utilised in adding new test vocabulary to the questions bank. 

 

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