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  • Jamaica’s grade four cohort has exceeded the target for mastery of literacy in this year’s sitting of the Grade Four Literacy Test, with 86.5 per cent of the 38,700 first-time candidates achieving mastery.
  • This is 1.5 per cent increase over the 2015 target of 85 per cent.
  • This was announced by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, at a press conference, held on Thursday, September 3, at the Office of the Prime Minister.

Jamaica’s grade four cohort has exceeded the target for mastery of literacy in this year’s sitting of the Grade Four Literacy Test, with 86.5 per cent of the 38,700 first-time candidates achieving mastery.

This is 1.5 per cent increase over the 2015 target of 85 per cent.

This was announced by Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, at a press conference, held on Thursday, September 3, at the Office of the Prime Minister.

“While there has been a steady increase in the percentage of the Grade Four students achieving mastery in literacy during the 14-year period prior to this year, the change in mastery jumped by 9.1 percentage points between 2014 and 2015,” he said.

Over eighty per cent of boys who sat the literacy test achieved mastery, which is up from a 68.6 per cent mastery level last year. Females achieved 92.5 per cent.

Rev. Thwaites said the achievement of the target translates into a mastery of 100 per cent, when students affected by learning disabilities are taken into account.

“I could not over emphasise the importance of this achievement. If you can read and have adequate numeracy skills at grade four, you are on a ladder to success,” the Minister said.

There was also significant improvement in the number of students who acquired mastery in numeracy, with the results showing a rate of 65.7 per cent mastery, which is an 8.1 per cent increase over last year. Almost 18 per cent achieved ‘almost mastery’ and 16.4 per cent received a numeracy level of ‘non-mastery.’

The Minister said he is confident that the numeracy target of 85 per cent will be achieved in time for the 2018 date set.

Students sat the Grade Four Literacy and Numeracy examinations on June 30 and July 1 this year.

Rev. Thwaites paid tribute to administrators, parents, teachers and Ministry officials for the improvements in student performance. He also highlighted support received through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

He said the implementation of the literacy and numeracy mock examinations for the first time also contributed to the success of students.

Other strategies by the Ministry, credited for the success, were the deployment of literacy and numeracy coaches and specialists at the primary level; the training of principals and Grade Three and Four teachers in the analysis of data, identification of areas of weakness and the development of remediation programmes; the support given to schools in the implementation of the remediation programmes; and the support given for lesson planning and delivery through the regional mathematics and literacy teams.

The Minister also said the ministry ensured that the schools maintained the minimum recommended contact hours for mathematics and language literacy instruction.

He further thanked Food for the Poor for distributing mathematics and reading resources in a number of schools.

“The real import of the Grade Four Literacy and Numeracy Tests result is that the near forty thousand students in the age cohort across public and private schools are now equipped to advance up the education ladder,” he said.