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Only 45 per cent of primary-level students pass grade 4 numeracy test

Luke Douglas

Thursday, April 29, 2010    

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ONLY 45 per cent of students achieved mastery in the grade four Numeracy test for the 2008/2009 academic year, highlighting the dismal performance of Jamaican children in mathematics at the primary level, results published yesterday showed.

The results also underscored the huge gulf in the performance of students in public primary-level schools compared with those in private or independent schools.

The grade four numeracy test was administered nationally for the first time in 2008. It was piloted in 16 schools in 2006, and done by 71 schools in 2007.

In only 19 out of 789 public primary and all-age schools, or two per cent of the total, did 80 per cent or more of the students master the exam. In 75 public schools, or 9.5 per cent of the schools, 60 to 79 per cent of the students mastered the exam.

However, in 87 out of 210 private schools, or 41 per cent, 80 per cent or more of the students mastered the exam. In 58 private schools, or 27.6 per cent of the total, 60 to 79 per cent of students mastered the exam.

Yesterday, Education Minister Andrew Holness said he would reserve comment as he had not yet perused the results.

The results showed that in several schools no child was able to master the numeracy test. For example, in tiny Somerset All-Age in St Andrew, only four out of 12 students registered in grade four sat the exam; none of them passed.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jessie Ripoll Primary in Kingston showed that it is one of the top schools in the Corporate Area; 85 per cent of the large grade four enrolment of 143 students mastered the numeracy test.

According to the Ministry of Education, the numeracy test checks skills in areas such as number representations and number operations with whole, decimals and fractions, including money, measurement, geometry, algebra, and statistics and probability.

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