Garcia to submit 2019 SEA report to Cabinet today

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

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