A unique way of preparing children for PEP

Staff Reporter

Monday, February 18, 2019

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The Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination is near and teacher Hoshane Blake has taken a different route in ensuring that his students are well prepared for it.

Blake created a song as a method to help prepare his grade six students for their upcoming examinations. He decided to go this route in an effort to simplify the content being taught, and also to assist the students in remembering the information easily.

Blake told the Jamaica Observer that his students are excited about the new teaching method and they oftentimes enter the classroom singing the songs.

“They love the unconventional approach,” he said. “Even sometimes while practising questions, and a topic to which I have done a song comes up, the students begin to sing in order to recall the information...and it works!” said Blake.

He noted that he has also observed that students from other institutions have seen his songs on social media, and have been using them to assist them in retaining information.

Blake further explained that he has received requests to create additional songs, and this, he said, is the ultimate aim, especially since it has proven to be effective so far. He added that he believes the move from the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) to the PEP exam is a good one, and the new exam will allow students to think critically, arguing that that is what is needed.

“We no longer want students to just merely remember what is taught. We need them to understand and be able to exercise their critical thinking skills,” he said.

“The previous examination was actually more detrimental to the students than it was good,” Blake told the Observer.

“When students were preparing for the GSAT, the questions and answers would just basically be recited. With PEP, students have to make use of their critical thinking skills. This, I believe, will prove to be more beneficial to the students in the long run. GSAT wasn't really benefitting the students and I am very appreciative that the shift from GSAT to PEP was made,” he stated.

He believes that the students sitting the new exam will be successful, as teachers have adequately equipped them.

Blake, who is the operator of Mr Blake's Educational Centre in Portmore, St Catherine, has been teaching for over six years and has 45 students who will be sitting an aspect of the examination later on this month.

PEP has replaced the GSAT as the national secondary school placement test and is aimed at enhancing the academic and critical thinking capabilities and creativity of students by the end of primary level education.

PEP involves a series of assessments which will start from grade four and end in grade six. The three categories include: Performance Task, Ability Test and Curriculum Based Test.

The Performance Task will test students' aptitude, knowledge and skills in mathematics, science, language arts and social studies. They will be required to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. This task will be given to students in Term three for grades four and five, and term one for grade six.

The Ability Test will allow students to demonstrate their critical reasoning skills in areas outside of the curriculum, and will be done in Term Two for Grade Six students.

The curriculum-based Test, which is the third and final assessment, will be administered in grade six and focus on mathematics, science, social studies and language arts. this test will be administered to grade six students in term three.

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