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Campion leads the way in English, mathematics

Weakest performances from non-traditional schools

BY PETULIA CLARKE Education editor clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 26, 2014    

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ST ANDREW'S Campion College has topped the island in performance in English Language and mathematics in the 2014 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

The school, which entered 235 students for the English exam had a 100 per cent pass, and also a 100 per cent pass for the 255 who sat mathematics.

Immaculate Conception High followed closely behind, with a 99.6 per cent pass for the 232 students who sat English and 100 per cent for the 225 who did mathematics.

The trend of traditional schools outperforming others continued this year, with the weakest school performances coming from non-traditional and rural schools, according to figures released yesterday by the Ministry of Education.

Other high performers in both subject areas were St Andrew's Ardenne High with 97.3 per cent in English and 96.2 per cent in mathematics; St Andrew High — 99.2 and 97.9; Wolmer's Boys' — 96 and 97.7; and Wolmer's Girls' — 99.6 and 94.9.

Clarendon's Glenmuir High scored 97.5 in English and 94 per cent in mathematics; Montego Bay High had 100 per cent in English and 97.1 per cent in mathematics; St Elizabeth's Munro College scored 95.7 in English and 91.4 per cent in mathematics; St Ann's St Hilda's scored 99.4 in English and 95.5 in mathematics; and Trelawny's Westwood High scored 98.5 in English and 94.2 in mathematics.

Other schools like St Andrew-based The Queen's School, St Hugh's, Merl Grove, Meadowbrook, Holy Childhood, Convent of Mercy 'Alpha'; Mount Alvernia (St James); Titchfield (Portland); Manning's (Westmoreland); Manchester High, Knox College, de Carteret College and Bishop Gibson; and St Elizabeth's Hampton School, scored in the 90s for English, but had below-90 scores for the cohort of students sitting mathematics.

Most of the schools had increased percentage passes over last year's results, but in some of the schools, the ministry noted a drastic reduction in percentage passes.

At Waterford High in St Catherine, for example, the percentage passes for mathematics went down to 20.8, compared to 41.1 per cent last year. Only 22 students passed the mathematics exam out of 106 this year. The results weren't much better for English, where only 27 per cent of students passed, compared to 37.4 last year.

At Trench Town High in Kingston, the percentage passes in mathematics dipped from 62.5 per cent last year to 37.3 per cent this year. In English, the percentage points dropped from 36.5 to 29.9 per cent.

St James High saw a decrease from 55.2 per cent to 18.3 in mathematics. The points for English went up, though, from 35.7 to 37 per cent.

At Spot Valley High in St James, English results went down from 52.9 to 27.4 per cent, but mathematics went up from 21.6 to 28.1 per cent.

At Rhodes Hall High in Hanover, English went down from 50 per cent to 23.8, while mathematics went from 37.3 to 21 per cent.

At Lennon High in Clarendon, mathematics went from 78.3 to 40.7, with English going from 54.8 to 54 per cent.

At Foga Road High, also in Clarendon, mathematics went from 41 to 23.9 per cent, but English jumped from 57.4 to 64 per cent.

Grange Hill High in Westmoreland went from 54 per cent passes last year to 16.1 in English, and 19.2 to 12.5 per cent in mathematics.

And at Donald Quarrie High in Kingston, mathematics passes dropped from 17.2 to 7.4 per cent, and English from 29.8 to 26.8.

Earlier this month, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said more students had excelled in mathematics in the June 2014 sitting of the examinations, while there were overall increases in the pass rates for 13 other subjects,.

A total of 23,351 students sat the mathematics examination this year compared to 22,870 last year. Mathematics passes enjoyed the largest increase of 13 percentage points, moving from 42 to 56 per cent.

The minister said that the improvement in the pass rate for mathematics can be attributed to a number of initiatives implemented by the ministry's National Mathematics Team, which has, among other things, targeted support since 2012 for 96 schools classified as on the cusp and/or weak performing institutions.

Among the targeted schools were Papine High, Mona High, and Pembroke Hall High in the Corporate Area.

The results released yesterday showed Papine High moving from 20.3 to 41.5 per cent in mathematics; Mona from 34.8 to 60.4 per cent; and Pembroke Hall from 13.6 to 26.4 per cent.

Thwaites also said at the recent launch of a national mathematics campaign, aimed at improving the performance of students in the subject at the primary and secondary levels, that at least 200 mathematics specialists are needed to address needs at the primary and secondary levels.

He said the specialists are expected to play a key role in assisting the ministry in attaining the national target for proficiency in mathematics.

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