All last year, our students in their fourth year of secondary school had been preparing for their Uganda Certificate of Education exams at their secondary schools. While juggling extra curricular activities, our students were putting in extra hours of studying including staying at school while their classmates went home for term holidays. All the preparation came to an end in early December when the highly anticipated exams were held in all subjects.
Ugandan National Exams are graded by aggregates awarded according to results in the different exams students take. The highest grade you can get in a secondary UCE exam is eight aggregate in the first division. Students take 10 subject exams and can earn scores of 1-10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst score. A “1” means the student scored a 90% or higher on an exam, with “2” meaning 80 – 89%. Then, their best 8 exam scores are added to get their total aggregate score and respective division. The highest aggregate score a student can get is 8 (top scores of 1 in best 8 subjects) and the worst score is 80 (low scores of 10 in each subject). Scores between 8 and 32 receive a Division I ranking. Students who score an aggregate of 8 are rare – there are only 69 in the whole country!
Across the nation only 7.5% of all students who sat for the UCE exams, scored in Division 1, while 14.1% scored in Division 2. This drastically differs from Arlington students, with 52% of our students scoring in Division 1, and 25% scoring in Division 2!
Among those students in Division 1 are Natseli Godfrey who scored nine aggregate and Kuloba Anthony and Wambukhu Simon Peter who scored ten aggregate! Twenty-three additional secondary students, including 6 outreach students, scored in Division 1. Another 9 former AJS students and 5 outreach scholars scored in Division 2!
Kuloba Anthony remembers feeling nervous while heading to the exams despite a history of educational success. “It was quite tricky. You always have fear of those kind of exams. After the first two papers though, you get used to them and you feel more confident about taking them.”
Throughout the year Anthony would study for two hours every day, which drastically increased to 5 hours, as he got closer to exams. Godfrey Natseli has been Anthony’s desk mate since the 5th grade. The duo would study together and compare notes every day after class to make sure one another didn’t miss a thing during the school day. Anthony and Godfrey even want to continue in the same school taking the same subjects as they head to their 5th year in secondary school. Despite all their hard work, Anthony says he owes a lot of his success to the Arlington staff and his sponsors for their help and support over the years.