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GSAT changes next year

Saturday, March 22, 2014    

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MINISTER of Education Ronald Thwaites says that beginning in 2015, the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will undergo structural changes, where students will do more critical thinking, rather than memorising texts.

"This is the last year GSAT is going to be like it is now. The change is not going to be dramatic, but next year the science and the social studies papers are going to have fewer questions, and the body of information that your children will have to cover is going to be less," the minister told members of the Mona Heights Parent Teachers Association earlier this week.

"Memory is the lowest form of intelligence; judgement and critical choices are higher order skills. What we are doing is trying to build up their competencies, and their skills of natural intelligence that teachers are so able to deal with. The exam is going to change bit by bit until about 2017, when it has a different format and different function," he said.

The education ministry, he said, wanted to ensure that children were prepared at the primary level to enter secondary institutions.

More than 40,000 children sat the school placement exam Thursday and yesterday.

Thwaites, at the same time, reminded parents that they have a critical role to play by maintaining close contacts with their teachers, as when the home reinforces discipline and parents monitor their children's books, the children will always have the right foundation for secondary education.

"What we want to do in primary school is to make sure that the basic competencies for high school learning is ready for everybody. Too many of our children are going into Grade 7, and are not ready for the curriculum in high schools, because the foundations are not there," the minister said.

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