The Ministry of Education is expressing confidence in its readiness for administering the highly anticipated Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), on March 22 and 23.
Speaking at a press conference on the upcoming GSAT, at the Office of the Prime Minister, on March 19, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Grace McLean, reported that timetables have already been disseminated to students, and queries are being processed for less than two per cent of the 44,000 entrants in this year’s examination.
This sitting will see the sustained implementation of the competence-based transition policy, which requires all students to be certified literate in order to do the examination.
Mrs. McLean explained that there are 52,000 registrants, but 3,500 have been deferred to sit the test in 2013, and some 4,500 did not master the Grade Four Literacy Test, after four opportunities.
Students who have not attained mastery of the Grade Four Literacy Test and are still operating below the required grade level, will be transitioned into the Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme (ASTEP), which was established in September of last year in select primary, all age, and junior high schools.
Mrs. McLean pointed out that secured examination packages will be sent to the six regional offices, which will then be dispatched to Principals and presiding examiners of schools, prior to the examination. “Every precaution has been made and will continue to be made to preserve the integrity of the examination,” she assured.
Once again, students will be tested in the critical areas of the primary school curriculum, including: mathematics, language arts, science, social studies and communication tasks.
Mrs. McLean reminded that the placement of students is automated and done on the basis of performance and the choice of students.
“The system is an objective one in which students’ performance is ranked by their standard composite scores, starting with the student with the highest score, then moving to the next highest score right down until the last child is placed. If all spaces are taken after the (students’) choices, then the decision is taken to use the preference listing that would have been prepared, and following this, the other students, usually less than one per cent, would be placed on the advice of our education officers,” she explained.
The results of the GSAT are scheduled to be ready in June.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter