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All is in place for the Grade Four Literacy Test, which, for the first time this year, will be administered as a national examination.
Just under 50,000 students across the island are expected to sit the test on Thursday, June 18, which according to Education Minister, Andrew Holness, will cost some $14 million.
The Minister, who was speaking at a press conference yesterday (June 11) at the Jessie Ripoll Primary School on South Camp Road in Kingston, said that the nationally standardised test, which includes a numeracy component, will give a clear indication of the performance of students at Grade Four. In former years it was administered, invigilated and graded locally at the schools.
“Now the test will be administered nationally, invigilated nationally, it will be marked centrally, it will be graded centrally and the results will be distributed from the Ministry of Education. So, for the first time, we will now have the true benchmark for primary performance in literacy in our education system,” he said.
The results of the test will be available in mid-August, and they will be published. The Minister said he is optimistic of good scores. “My own prediction is that it will be less than 81 per cent. But I am still optimistic because I know that the literacy specialists, who are very highly motivated people…are working. So I am optimistic that our results will look good, but it probably will not be as high as 81,” he stated.
Assistant Chief Education Officer for the Student Assessment Unit, Sharon Neil, said that the papers will be dispatched to the schools in the custody of the principals during the week starting June 15.
“All schools are reminded that they should collect the packages along with the test papers from the regional offices, and the regional offices will indicate the time and date when the schools should collect those papers,” she informed.
Mrs. Neil explained that the structure and format of the test remains the same as in previous years. The literacy component of the test comprises three segments – Word Recognition, in which students will be required to respond to 40 items; Reading Comprehension; and in the third section, students will respond to two writing tasks.
There is also the numeracy test, which comprises multiple choice and a section incorporating three-open ended tasks.
The Grade Four Literacy Test is one of the assessment instruments used by the Education Ministry to assist primary school teachers to improve instruction and learning.