The much-anticipated results of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) for 2012 were published on June 20, with some 43,300 students placed in secondary schools across the island.
A release issued at the Jamaica House press briefing on Wednesday June 20, by Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, indicated that the examination was conducted in 1,012 schools, and administered to 21,750 male and 23,795 female students.
This was an increase of 1,654 students over 2011, resulting in a slight decrease in the number of students being preference-based – that is, obtaining one of their five selected choice schools.
Rev. Thwaites noted that students are going to be spread far more widely across a range of schools, than before. “To me, that’s good. What it means is that many of the schools which have endured a cohort scoring on an average of not more than 30-35 per cent in the past, will now get students at a higher level, and therefore being able to spend less time on remediation and more on the curriculum of the high schools,” he pointed out.
“It is going to mean also that many parents who thought that an 85 average would take their child to some pedigreed school of their designation, are going to find that this is not so, because there are so many more whose average is in the 90s,” the Minister added.
He emphasised that parents should examine the successes and the potential of the schools to which their children have been assigned, instead of immediately seeking spaces in preferred schools. “We have to really look at our presumptions about schooling, and we have to reduce the inherent and implicit sense of classism that exist in the society,” he insisted.
Meanwhile, approximately 3,700 students have been granted deferral, in keeping with the competence transition policy, while some 4,800 will be placed in the Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme (ASTEP).
The Ministry continues to examine the need for additional secondary school spaces, overcrowding in some schools, under-utilisation of others, the phasing out of the shift system, and rationalisation.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter