Some regions operate under “peculiar circumstances.” This observation was taken note of when the Ministry of Education sought to implement an Emergency Action Plan geared at improving the performances in the Mathematics segment of the National Grade Six Assessment [NGSA].
Making this disclosure recently was Chief Education Officer, Mr. Marcel Hutson. However, Hutson did not share details on the “peculiar circumstances” detected by the Ministry. Instead, he told media operatives “what we did, we conducted a diagnostic assessment with specialised treatment for certain schools in the hinterland.”
This, moreover, translated to the “treatment being a little different in terms of what we did in the other regions because of the special conditions that existed there.”
No official of the Education Ministry has thus far shed light on the specifics of the “peculiar circumstances” in the hinterland region and the treatment meted out as a result.
What is however known is that some schools, including some in the hinterland, recorded markedly improved performances when the 2017 results of the NGSA were announced.
According to information produced by Hutson, the results coming from the hinterland regions were noteworthy. For instance, he revealed that while Region Eight was merely able to produce one child with a 50 percent or more pass rate last year, that number, for 2017, has climbed to 62. In Region Nine, too, there were 13 children with the 50 percent or more pass rate in 2016, and that number climbed to 156 in 2017.
He revealed that when the results for Region One for last year were examined, there were only six children who managed to secure a 50 percent or more pass rate in Mathematics. Although they have not made it into the top 10 this year, the results show that 172 secured a 50 percent or more pass rate in Mathematics.
In fact Hutson, in declaring that there was a noticeable improvement in some regions that customarily have not performed well, said, “This year, the numbers are speaking for themselves.”
Last year, Region Two had 217 children passing with 50 percent or more, but this year that number has climbed to 937. Region Four was no different, with its 489 who secured a 50 percent or more pass rate in 2016, since this year reflects an improvement by the 1,417 who are in that category.
In Region Five, there were 85 pupils who gained the outlined pass rate in 2016 but there too, an improvement has been noted by the 349 who secured the pass rate.
Essentially, in 2016, the Ministry of Education recorded a 14 percent pass rate in Mathematics, but this year the result is an astounding 46 percent.
But it hasn’t only been the area of Mathematics that has recorded improved performances, Hutson announced. “This has happened across all the subject areas,” he said.
The NGSA allows pupils to be assessed in the subject areas of Mathematics, English Language, Science and Social Studies.
English has also shown some notable improvement this year when compared to 2016. Last year the pass rate was 42 percent, but in 2017 it has climbed to 54 percent.
“This is the first time in many years that we were able to get over 50 percent passes in a subject area and that is absolutely phenomenal,” Minister of Education Nicolette Henry had publicly boasted.
In the area of Science, in 2016, there was a 28 percent pass rate and again the 2017 performance has reflected an improved pass rate of 46 percent.
And then in the area of Social Studies, this year the pass rate, though slightly improved, is 48 percent, up from 46 percent in 2016.
“This is a start and we have seen a shift and we will continue to work hard because at the end of the day we want to see these numbers continue to grow, and I believe that the plans that we have will see these numbers continuing to get better and better,” the Education CEO confidently predicted.
A drastic improvement in the performances produced by pupils at the 2017 NGSA was part of an elaborate plan that attracted several millions from the national coffers. But the CEO is convinced that the performances will be sustained because those within the system have not only been motivated by the process, but are themselves encouraged to continue to realise laudable outcomes.
The process all started towards the end of last year with a mandate issued by President David Granger for the Ministry of Education to prepare the Emergency Action Plan to identify the weaknesses in the performance in Mathematics. From all indications, the approach taken was applied to the other subject areas thus allowing for improvements to be realised across the board.
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