In the wake of the news of the country’s top performers, there is another story to be told.
The top one percent as released by the Ministry of Education tells the story of the best 188 candidates. But over 17,000 children sat the National Grade Six Assessment in 2011 – 17,392 to be exact; an increase over the 16,351 that wrote last year.
And according to the figures released by Minister of Education Shaik Baksh on Thursday last, overall performance seems to have increased across the board with a few exceptions.
The scores released for the National Grade Six Assessment are a composite of the scores attained on the National Grades Two and Four Assessments.
Five percent of the Grade Two scores in Maths and English were combined with ten percent of the score for the Grade Four Assessment in these same subjects along with 85 percent of the score attained in the Grade Six Assessment.
The cumulative Maths and English scores are again combined but this time with the Science and Social Studies scores to give the overall final score. The maximum standardized scores that can be achieved are 136 in Mathematics, 136 in English, 134 in Social Studies and 143 in Science with a total of 551 being the maximum total score attainable.
Baksh presented statistics for candidates attaining better than 50 percent at the Assessment. In English 38 percent of candidates scored better than 50 percent, an increase over the 24 percent pass rate of 2010. Passes in Mathematics rose from 35 percent last year to 41 percent in this year’s sitting while Science scores showed a similar trend rising from 33 percent to 44 percent in 2011.
The only exception was Social Studies which actually declined albeit by just one percentage point from 34 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2011.
The mean that scores attained in each subject area were also presented by the Minister. In English the average score was 43 percent as compared to 36 percent in 2010; in Mathematics, 45 percent as compared to 42 percent in 2010.
In Science the average score dropped from 41 percent to 40 percent while the average score in Social Studies has increased from 41 percent in 2010 to 45 percent this year.
Baksh called this a “significant improvement” in the performance of the students at the National Grade Six Assessment. He said that it was a clear indication that the education system was improving in terms of both quality and outcome, an improvement that he attributed to the many interventions and policies of the Government in the Education sector.
The geographical spread of top performers was also revealed with 42 percent of this year’s top one percent coming from Georgetown, a stark decline from last year’s figure of 63 percent.
In each Region the best performing school was also evaluated. In Region Two that honour went to the CV Nunes Primary School; in Region Three, not surprisingly, the spot went to Leonora Primary School, a consistent producer of some of the best performers in the country year after year.
A newcomer on the scene took the top spot for Region
Four, but while Success Elementary may be a new school, Wilfred Success, head of the school has long been a legend in the league of ‘Common Entrance’ teachers.
In Region Five, the best performing school was Novar Academy, while Cumberland Primary took that spot in Region Six.
And in Region Ten, there can be no contention – Regma Primary has without a doubt merited this spot having dominated the top spots of this year’s best performers list.
In Georgetown, Mae’s Under 12 and Green Acres Primary were both exceptionally good performers.
Baksh also cited a number of the factors that he felt were responsible for the improvement in performance. Among these were the remediation programmes, literacy and numeracy initiatives, the Interactive Radio Instruction Programme, greater teacher commitment and projects to create “child friendly” schools.
Baksh said that the Ministry has taken a proactive approach in the diagnostic assessment of Grades Two, Four and Six. He also noted that here have been workshops and sessions with schools all across the country, and the Ministry is working overtime to see that the need for learning resources are met.
And then there were the numerous remediation programmes which he said were working very well as is clearly evident from the recent results. He also spoke of the summer remediation programmes that will be run off this year for six weeks to help children get over weak spots during the summer holidays.
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