Latest update March 26th, 2023 12:59 AM
Nov 09, 2009 News
Geared at improving the process of learning and by extension students’ performances at the Primary Level, the Ministry of Education last week convened a workshop for educators of Primary Schools.
The workshop which was held at the National Centre for Educational Research and Development (NCERD) saw the attendance of Grades Two, Four and Six teachers and Head Teachers from across Region Four. It was held under the theme ‘Utilising assessment for improved learners’ performance. According to Assistant Chief Education Officer (Primary) and Co-ordinator of the workshop, Ms. Bibi Shariman Ali, many people are of the opinion that assessments are only used for examinations just to give students a score and to make them cognisant of their performance rate. However, she asserted that assessments should not be only viewed in that context but rather as learning tools so that when assessment is done it not only zeroes in on areas of strengths but also on weaknesses as well.
“When you find these areas of weaknesses, activities and strategies can be planned to improve them. Where there are areas of strengths we need to enhance those by having enrichment activities for those students.”
Grades Two, Four and Six teachers, she said, were particularly targeted as those represent the National Assessment. She related that often persons are engulfed with the idea that students just need a certain percentage at the National Assessment to be in a safe zone. However, she noted that teachers must come to the realisation, especially those responsible for Grades Two and Four that the assessments have another purpose, that is, to be used as a diagnostic tool. It is the vision of the Education Ministry, Ali said, that teachers could be able to diagnose strengths and weaknesses as early as Grade Two.
“At Grade One, many of the students may not be able to read and so the teachers may not be able to do a comprehensive assessment at that stage. So at Grade Two when students are more mature teachers can then assess them.” And since they will need some time to improve at the Grade Three level, the next suited level of diagnosis is at the Grade Four, Ali noted.
But no less attention should be directed to the Grade Six level she noted, as it marks the exit point for students from the primary phase.
The effort to improve students’ performance will not only be centred on Region Four as, according to Ali, the venture has already been to a number of regions, including the District of Georgetown, Regions Three, Six, Five, and Nine. Next week, facilitators will be dispatched to Region Seven to continue the process and plans will also be made to conduct similar workshops in the other administrative regions. “We even plan on repeating these workshops because the feedback that we are getting from the teachers is that it is so timely and that it was a workshop that was much needed, and for that matter they are saying that they have learnt a lot.”
The whole venture, Ali said, comes as part of an initiative of Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh. She disclosed that it was after scrutinising the National Assessment results he was convinced that the results could be improved.
One of problems detected is that some teachers may not have understood how to read the reports, which explains the schools performance and follows the assessment results.
“Maybe they don’t know how to interpret the report we thought, maybe they have problems administering the assessments at the school level. So we saw the need for the workshop. We realise we can’t use the same strategy every time. Maybe they need actual physical help.”
The assessment workshop culminated with emphasis on the role of the Head Teachers and their staff in the quest to improve the performance rate within their respective schools.
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