News

GSAT first day marked by usual nervousness

BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 21, 2014    

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It has become the norm on GSAT day; nervous students and even more nervous parents.

They will again experience the anxiety today — the second of the two-day examinations — after which they will relax, then relapse into fretfulness in another three months when the results are released.

More than 40,000 primary and prep school students yesterday completed the first papers in the dreaded GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) for placement in secondary schools this September.

"I was very nervous for my child, but I am confident that she will do well," said Angela Williams, who was at Dunrobin Primary School in Kingston to give her support to her child.

"There was one incident where a parent actually cried while dropping off her child," said Herman Grace, who waited at the gate at Alpha Primary in downtown Kingston to pick up his son after he completed his exam.

Merlene Williams was a picture of confidence as she, too, awaited her daughter at Alpha.

"We are very much encouraged by the level of support we have seen from parents, and based on observation it appears the support continues to grow," said Alpha Principal Millicent Graham.

Dunrobin Prep principal, Karen Goldbourne, gave a similar report.

"Exams went smoothly; there were no reports of any incidents and the parents were out in their numbers. In some cases it appeared some parents were even more nervous than the students," she said.

Noel Watt, principal at Dunrobin Primary, agreed.

"We are satisfied with how the exams progressed today," he said. "There were no reports of any incidents."

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said he was satisfied with how the first day of the GSAT progressed and has encouraged students to renew their efforts and stay focused going into today's final day.

"The reports I have received are that the operations went well at all centres and we are very pleased that it apparently has been smooth and hope and trust that tomorrow will be the same," said the minister.

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness said he, too, would be praying for students across the island.

"Like thousands of parents this morning, I, too, had a pep talk with my son and I will be praying for him and all children doing these exams today and tomorrow," said Holness in a release.

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