PEARLINE Bryan was forced to take drastic action to pull her daughter, Satria McLean, from regular classes at a primary school in Kingston ahead of the 2021 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations and opted for her to be schooled at home after struggles with classes online.
Yesterday was the sitting of the PEP Grade Six Ability Test across the island, which will be crucial in deciding the placement of students matriculating to high school, and Bryan is hoping the best for her daughter.
Without naming the institution her daughter attended, Bryan told the Jamaica Observer yesterday at the New Providence Primary School in St Andrew, where Mclean was registered to sit the exam as an independent candidate, that the child was not absorbing the online lessons, which propelled a concerned Bryan to enlist the help of a private tutor.
“Based on what took place towards the end of grade five where the online [classes] didn't work out too much for her, I thought since she is preparing for PEP, it's best to pull her out of the school and homeschool her,” Bryan said.
She told the Observer that the decision was ideal, taking into consideration how much McLean had advanced in her studies and preparation for PEP and expressed confidence that she would ace the test.
“The process [went] very good. She had Ms Pryce, a very good teacher [who] did a wonderful job and I am happy with where she is,” she said, despite the tiring nature of homeschooling for the student, tutor and parent.
“It has been months of work and looking back at it, to prepare for so many months for just one hour and 15 minutes exam was a lot of work. We put in the work for her to do well,” said Bryan.
Her daughter told the Observer that she was confident of success in the PEP Ability Test, based on her dedication and level of preparedness.
Just before going into the examination room, she said: “I feel ready and prepared for the exam because the process has been going good. My school of choice is St Andrew High School for Girls. I want to go there because it is close to where my mom works and where I do gymnastics and it looks like a good school.”
This year, the scores from the ability test will be combined with the results of the Grade Four Performance Task exams in language arts and mathematics that the students would have taken in 2019 to place them in high schools.
There will be no Performance Task or Curriculum-Based Test for grade six students this year, as was the case last year, the first year of the pandemic.
The Grade Six Ability Test had been postponed twice. It was originally slated for February 23 and then postponed to March 25 due to the spike in cases of the coronavirus.
Yesterday, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams toured a few schools in the Corporate Area to get a feel of their level of readiness for the examination. Williams said that based on all indications the students seemed set to excel.
“In terms of on the ground preparation, the ministry [had] to ensure that we had invigilators and had enough persons to ensure the administration of the exams and that was in place from earlier on. The actual exam itself was not problem because the students were ready. I toured a couple of schools like New Providence and Hope Valley Experimental and even though the exam starts at 9:05 am, they knew they had to be there well ahead of time to go through registration. In terms of what we had to do at the ministry, versus what needed to happen on the ground, all was aligned for a successful PEP exam.
“The preparations for PEP would have started a while now because as we went through the pandemic, we would have had a look at the content on the exam and made decisions about how much of it is going to be tested. As we had indicated, only the ability component for grade six would be tested and so we just focused on the ability test.”
Oozing with promise of a bright future was 12-year-old Deandre Bailey of New Providence Primary School. He said the last two weeks of face-to-face school before the exams were very crucial because he had a small bit of catching up to do.
“I am nervous but I feel like I can do it. The last two weeks of face-to-face classes assisted me very much because online wasn't too good because of the Wi-Fi, but since coming back to class, me improve, much better than when me deh online. I studied enough for this. I want to go to Ardenne because after researching about it, I feel like that is the place I want to go. I want to do debate and they have a good debating team.”
Nickedia Henry, the parent of a New Providence Primary student, was very confident that her daughter's dedication to her school work will see her through to Campion College in St Andrew.
“To me she seems ready because she confident. When she put her head to something there is no stopping her. She pick for Campion and mi tell her fi pick something else, but she seh well, a deh suh me waa go. Even if a nuh Campion College, she still ago mek her parents proud. She hardly took break during her studies. Even before the exams, I told her to make sure she ate before she come out and she said she was going to be late so she left it for her sister.”