'Mock exam results show PEP students lack critical thinking skills'
Education Minister Ruel Reid.
The Ministry of Education is admitting that more work will have to be done on students who will be sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), specifically in the area of critical thinking skills.
The ministry, in a statement Tuesday, said the shortcoming in this area was uncovered by the results of the mock exam that was administered in June.
The admission comes one day after the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) called for the release of the results of the mock exam. Opposition Spokesman on Education, Ronald Thwaites, told a press conference on Monday that the early indications from the exam showed a lack of preparation of, and understanding by, the teachers, students and parents.
"These are serious issues, and calling teachers to one-off seminars and workshops, and issuing bulletins are not sufficient for the preparation of the students for the PEP," Thwaites charged.
He said the National Standards Curriculum on which the PEP is drawn has not yet been disclosed fully or adequately to the teachers, resulting in ongoing chaos.
In its statement on Tuesday, the Education Ministry said “areas for additional focus and support are determined by the individual student’s reports and will be used to further enhance the preparation of students for PEP.”
According to the ministry, the mock exam allowed it to test its overall readiness to administer the PEP. It said it also provided meaningful simulation to students ahead of the actual commencement of the PEP.
It further said it will be using reports on individual student’s performance in the pilot exam to further inform its preparations for the full rollout of the PEP.
“The individual student’s performance reports will now be utilised to determine how questions comprising the Performance Task, which will be administered in December, are developed and framed. Stakeholders should note that the upcoming Performance Task will be based on areas covered in Grade 6 up to the point of the assessment,” said the ministry.
It said teachers have indicated that having gone through the mock exam they now have a better understanding of what is expected and are in a position to provide greater support in respect of the administration and completion of the assessment.
The ministry remains confident that it will administer a successful exam next year.
PEP has replaced the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and will be administered for the first time in March, 2019. Questions have been raised about whether teachers are fully prepared to teach the curriculum.