GSAT scores up

Results of Grade Six Achievement Test to be released today

BY KIMONE THOMPSON
Observer staff reporter
thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 09, 2017

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IF the national scores and the number of students placed in one of the five schools on their preferred list are any indication, school administrators and teachers should be pleased when they receive the results of the 2017 sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) today.The Ministry of Education reported yesterday that schools with online access should have been able to access the results as of 12:01 am today, while those without will be able to pick up the documents at the regional offices by midday. Parents should start learning their children's scores and placement schools today.

At a press conference at its Heroes Circle head office yesterday, the ministry reported that with the exception of one subject, this year's scores showed “notable improvement” over those recorded last year.

Mathematics, which has previously been on the decline, moved up 4.2 percentage points to 62.4 per cent; language arts moved up 4.4 percentage points to 72.8 per cent; communication task moved 4.2 percentage points to 76.2 per cent; and social studies went from 68.9 per cent in 2016 to 70.6 per cent this year.

Science, which enjoyed an incremental increase in performance from 2014 to 2016, declined 4.5 percentage points this year, from 69.2 per cent to 64.7 per cent.

The education minister, Senator Ruel Reid, explained that while students' knowledge of concepts was particularly high, it fell when asked to analyse or apply deductive reasoning.

In tandem with the improved results, the ministry said 99 per cent of the students who sat the exam have been placed in high schools, as opposed to all-age and junior high schools.

“The number placed in primary and junior high schools has been reduced from 1,051 in 2016 to 568 in 2017,” Reid said yesterday. “This represents a reduction of 46 per cent over the previous year's placement [and] is a result of the Ministry of Education's thrust to phase out all-age and junior high schools.”

The just-released statistics also showed that 79 per cent of the 2017 GSAT cohort have been placed in one of their preferred schools, while 16 per cent were placed according to proximity to the schools they are currently attending, and another four per cent placed according to proximity to their home address.

When registering for the exam, GSAT candidates select a total of five high schools they would like to attend – the preferred list — and another two from a cluster of schools within a 10-mile radius of the schools they currently attend.

The improved scores, Minister Reid said, were the result of various strategies implemented during the previous year. He singled out diverse literacy programmes, the deployment of literacy specialists and mathematics coaches, and the introduction of a GSAT mock exam which he said allowed targeted intervention to address weak areas ahead of the national test.

“The entire Ministry of Education, Youth and Information congratulates our students on their performance and wish them continued success in pursuing an education,” Reid said yesterday.

He added: “I wish to commend all the teachers and instructional leaders in our primary level institutions for their work in preparing the students for GSAT.”

GSAT 2017 was administered to more than 38,000 students on March 16 and 17.

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