Education Minister Anthony Garcia is expected to submit an interim report to Cabinet containing a preliminary analysis of the 2019 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) results.
Although he will not be presented with a copy of the official results until early tomorrow morning, Garcia is not anticipating any surprises when it is announced.
The report was compiled by officers of the Education, Research and Evaluation Department, Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
A total of 18,849 students wrote the exam on April 4.
In an interview at his office yesterday, Garcia said, “CXC administers the exam and from the report we have received, everything went well.”
Commenting on the concerns that certain questions in the Maths and English Language components had proven to be “tricky,” Garcia said the exam was comprised of lower order questions, general knowledge questions and higher order questions which required analysis, critical thinking and interpretation.
In 2013, the Primary Curriculum Rewrite was introduced which involved changes to the syllabus as well as classroom teaching techniques.
Having provided training and development for all teachers involved in delivering the curriculum to Standards Four and Five students, Garcia said he was confident students had been adequately prepared to answer the questions contained in this year’s exam.
Having established a committee to ensure the exam adheres to certain standards, Garcia said, “Quality control is important and we usually send a representative to CXC to look at the quality control of the exams. CXC is responsible for ensuring the students are ranked in accordance with their performance on the exam.”
Once this is completed, he said the results are forwarded to the ministry for them to decide on placements in secondary schools.
Garcia stated, “There are certain factors we have to consider before this is done.”
“First of all, we have to go in accordance with the choice of the parents but of course, we do not guarantee any parent that his/her choice would be accommodated. A parent has four choices but it all comes down to the students’ performance to determine where they will be placed.”
Barring this, he warned: “In many cases, the choices will not be accommodated depending on the child’s performance.”
Referring to the issue which surfaced in 2018 where private schools had demanded increased funding to accept students assigned by the ministry, Garcia said that situation had been rectified and was not one they would have to deal with moving forward.
He confirmed that “children have been assigned to private secondary schools.”
Hoping for a continued decline in the numbers of students scoring under 30 per cent overall in the exam, Garcia claimed there had been incremental improvements since 2015, when 2,500 students were found to have scored below that.
Attributing this improvement to curriculum changes and how it was being implemented in the classroom, he said teachers were also provided with additional training in these areas to ensure continuity and progress of students.
Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul