Looking at this year's DEF results we see something we've seen in previous years -- an incredibly wide variation in pass rates among our schools. Two schools did incredibly well with 98% of their students passing; two schools did incredibly poorly with 0% of their students passing. Nine of our 19 middle schools beat the average national pass rate this year (70%), while 10 did not. Why this incredible variation in results?
The DEF exam in Mali tests 9th grade students as they graduate from middle school. If students pass the test, they are eligible to continue on to higher education. If they fail, they must repeat 9th grade until they succeed. This reality combined with the fact that the DEF test results are the only quantitative measure we have of how much our students are learning means that it’s incredibly important to us to have strong pass rates. Frustratingly, DEF pass rates fluctuate greatly from year to year. Why?
Every June ninth graders all around Mali face their biggest academic challenge yet -- the national graduation exam, known as the DEF. Our students survived the exam this year and exceeded the national pass rate!