Minister of Education, Hon. the Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has informed that the findings of the assessment team on the curriculum and method of testing for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), should be ready within another eight months.
Making the disclosure at a press briefing on the GSAT, at the Office of the Prime Minister, on March 19, the Minister argued that because the examination is such a “high stakes” examination for students, parents and teachers, more emphasis should be placed on critical thinking and reasoning capacity, rather than on students’ ability to recall information.
Secondly, he said, continuous assessment is critical for guiding the curriculum. “What we are trying to test is the students’ readiness for secondary education…we need to look also at the abilities of that student, so a fundamental question which is being asked by the Ministry is – ‘does the GSAT satisfy those criteria?’ We are convinced that it does to a significant measure, but as in any system, it needs to be kept under constant review,” the Minister said.
Therefore, the Ministry has engaged a team of local and international experts to help with assessing the efficacy of the GSAT, and ensure that the objectives of testing abilities and readiness are being met.
The assessment team comprises a consortium from the University of Wolverhampton, Pearson Educational Unit, and DPK Jamaica Limited.
Some 44,000 students will sit the GSAT on March 22 and 23, and will be tested in the critical areas of the primary school curriculum, such as mathematics, social studies, language arts, science, and communication tasks.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter