GSAT joy, grief - Mixed emotions at GSAT results

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter

Thursday, June 21, 2012

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SIGHS of relief, disappointment, and wild celebration greeted yesterday's results of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), as more than 44,000 students who sat the exam in March learned where they will pursue their secondary education.

As more and more students heard of their placement, disappointment flowed into tears when dreams of being placed at their schools of choice were not realised.

But for the most part, students, their teachers and parents were happy with this year's results.

Several Corporate Area schools visited by the Jamaica Observer yesterday proclaimed an overall better performance than the previous year.

At Half-Way-Tree Primary School, many students cried as it was announced that they had been placed at top traditional high schools, and others because they were not placed at any of the five schools they indicated they wanted to attend.

Among the jubilant students was Tahj Williams who was placed at Calabar High.

"Right now, I am feeling very excited, I wasn't nervous at all. I knew I would get into my first choice," he told the Observer.

When asked why he was so confident, Williams said, "I went to school seven days of the week, I went to extra lessons and I cut my television and computer time."

His mother, Andrea Williams, said the result was worth the long, nervous wait.

School Principal Carol O'Connor Clark said she was satisfied with the results at
her school.

"Two hundred and forty-one students sat the exam and we had some good passes. The results are very satisfactory and when you look at the results and you look at the subjects, the students have done well. We have a number of 100s. At a glance the result is much better than last year's," she remarked.

The scene at St Richard's Primary on Red Hills Road was largely celebratory.

"Many of them got their first choice; some of them outdid themselves as they got more than they expected and they were very excited," said Grade Six Co-ordinator Eulie Mantock. A total of 160 students from St Richard's sat the exam.

In St Catherine at the Spanish Town Primary School, many students were happy with few expressing their disappointment in tears.

However, for Jhonnel Skelton, her tears expressed her joy.

"I was anxious and really nervous before I got the results, and when it came and I heard some of the students stating their grades, I said 'Jesus, please' and when I got my results and heard that I passed for Wolmer's [Girls'] I just ran to my teacher and hold onto to her and cry. I was so happy," she said. Wolmer's Girls is among the top-performing schools in the island.

Jhonnel's classmate Maria Simpson won a place at St Jago High, also in the parish. For her, it was an unforgettable moment.

A few miles away at Naggo Head Primary, Vice-Principal Errol Duncan also reported that the results were good.

"It has been very well, the students have done well and in the areas of math and science the grades were very good. Overall, the students did very well," he said beaming.

According to the Ministry of Education, of the 43,300 students who took the GSAT, 28,315 were placed in schools they selected, while 13,343 were placed based on the proximity of their homes to schools. The remaining 1,642 were manually placed.




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