Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) will allow students to be better prepared for high school.
Speaking at the Ministry’s Region Six appreciation banquet for retired principals, and launch of the School Improvement Support Initiative at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on July 12, the Minister said the profile of students will reflect more their ability and the likelihood of the foundation as they transition into secondary school.
“Multiple choice [questions] actually skew the results. They get good grades through Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and after the first year in high school you really wonder, was this a student with 90 per cent, because 90 per cent was with multiple choice,” he argued.
The PEP, which students will sit for the first time next year, replaces the GSAT as the national secondary school placement examination. It is intended to provide an improved and more complete profile of students’ academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.
Senator Reid pointed out that high schools require a higher level of critical thinking, for which PEP will prepare the students.
“It will give you greater certainty and predictability in even your Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) or any other achievement later on. So, we are going through the change, and it’s a change for the better. We need to push the system along that pathway,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Minister congratulated the retirees, noting that they have been able to inspire others through exhibiting good leadership.
“You are adept at building relationships with people. You balanced tough love with earned praise, you exhibited fairness and consistency and you were prepared for everything and at all times,” he said.
For her part, Regional Director, Region Six, Elaine Roulston, said the School Improvement Support Initiative is part of plans to improve the institutions in the region, based on the results from the National Education Inspectorate Report.
“Our schools are really not where we want them to be in terms of the academics. [However], many schools have moved from unsatisfactory to satisfactory and some have moved from satisfactory to good. What is of importance to us in the region is that everybody moves to satisfactory and above,” Mrs. Roulston said.
The Initiative is designed to support schools that have been rated unsatisfactory and below by the National Education Inspectorate.
Schools will be exposed to results-based monitoring and evaluation training. This will seek to provide school administrators with the skills to develop results-based intervention programmes and projects.
Each school will be required to implement two intervention programmes. One of the programmes must focus on teaching and learning (Mathematics, English Language or Science). Other programme areas include leadership and management, co-curricular and student leadership, safety and security, social and welfare, and technical and vocational.
A school improvement partner will be assigned to each school for a period of two years. The Ministry and the school-improvement partners will provide the coaching and the required resources during the implementation period. The initiative will be evaluated quarterly and annually.