80 per cent of GSAT students placed in schools of choice

80 per cent of GSAT students placed in schools of choice

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

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MINISTER of Education Senator Ruel Reid has announced that the results for this year's sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will be available to schools tomorrow, signalling the end of an era for the secondary school placement examination.

GSAT, which replaced the Common Entrance Examination in 1999, will be replaced by the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) — a three-tier examination which will see its final component administered close to the end of grade six.

Senator Reid, who was speaking at a press conference held at his Heroes' Circle office in Kingston yesterday, reported a 100 per cent placement of the 39,510 students who sat GSAT in March this year.

The results will be accessible to schools by 6:00 am tomorrow, but schools that do not have online access are required to collect results by 2:00 pm at their respective regional offices.

The minister described this year's results as “moving in the right direction”, with communication task achieving the biggest increase.

“This is most encouraging as it shows that the students have been developing the skills of critical thinking and being able to express themselves,” the minister said.

The average test scores showed that mathematics decreased by 1.12 percentage points, moving from 62.4 in 2017 to 61.2 this year. For science, the average score moved from 64.7 in 2017 to 72.6 in 2018, representing an increase of 7.9 percentage points. Social studies passes moved from 70.6 per cent in 2017 to 73.8 per cent this year, while Language Arts registered an increase of one percentage point, moving from 72.8 to 73.8 this year. The communication task score increased by 5.5 percentage points, moving from 76.2 per cent to 81.7 per cent.

Reid said that 80 per cent (30,789) of the cohort was placed in a school of their choice, while another 17 per cent of (6,524) students were placed in secondary schools close in proximity to the primary schools that they attended. Another three per cent or 2,197, he said, were manually placed at schools close to the address that they submitted. A total of 127 students were absent from school at the time of the examination and will also be manually placed.

“In regard to student placement, I think this was a very good achievement all over the country,” said Reid, adding that, years before, it was hard to get all students placed in high schools.

The minister said that notwithstanding the full placement in high schools, the ministry was still cognisant that there are still 21 high schools on shift.

“I have announced and reiterated that we have commenced the process to construct 17 new schools that will take our primary and secondary schools off shifts,” said Reid. He added that four parishes are currently being focused on. They are Manchester, Clarendon, St Ann and St James.

Speaking about PEP, the minister assured parents that all will be in place for the new examination.

“PEP is based on the fundamental principles of our students using critical thinking, collaboration, communication and their creativity during the teaching, learning and assessment process. When we look at the performance of our students who sat GSAT and completed CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) in 2017 the results show that less than half of the students obtained acceptable grades at CSEC compared to the GSAT results,” he said.

— Kimone Francis

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