Jul 10, 2018 News
A total of 2,404 of the 14,000 odd candidates who participated in the 2018 National Grade Six Assessment [NGSA] have failed to meet the benchmark to allow them placement at secondary level schools. This is according to Senior Education Officer within the Education Ministry, Ms. Carol Benn.
However, all is not lost. Benn is in fact the Coordinator of a special initiative designed to cater to the upliftment of these candidates. The initiative in question is the Six-year transitional programme aimed at preparing these candidates to be integrated into Grade Seven.
“Instead of leaving the children back at the primary school level, we put them over to a secondary school and we have this special programme for them because they are not yet ready for the Grade Seven class,” said Benn during a recent interview with this publication.
Explaining how the programme works, Benn said, “We put them over to a secondary school and instead of spending five years, they would spend six years because of this special one year programme.”
A number of selected schools across the country, including a few secondary schools and primary tops, have the programme in place. Each year, the number of students benefitting from this programme changes depending on the number of candidates participating in the NGSA. “The number of students at these schools will always fluctuate because it depends on the exam results,” said Benn.
Upon entry to the school designated, students are given a diagnostic test, which is designed to determine their level of learning. The programme, Benn explained, follows a special timetable and a special curriculum complete with outlined Schemes of Work.
“I actually did all those schemes so instead of the teachers writing the schemes, I produce the schemes and they just have to do their notes,” Benn related.
She added, “The programme is work they [students] would have done in primary school…They are going it over to bring them up to par so that they will be able to handle the Grade Seven work.”
It is expected that after one year of remediation, students will be adequately prepared to enter Grade Seven at the very school they are attending.
“Once they are placed at that school, they are a student of that school although the programme is separate,” said Benn “At the end of the one year, we do a post test and this is basically the same entry diagnostic test to see what improvement is made.”
He added, “So we analyse the results at the end to see where the students are. We know that we can’t make grades but at least the teachers are expected to move them from point A to point B.”
Based on the outcome of that analysis, an action plan is prepared which is handed over to the Grade Seven teachers who then prepare to engage the students at that level.
According to Benn, the programme has been yielding some noticeable success. “We would have had parents who have asked for their children to be removed from the regular Grade Seven class to be placed in the transitional class, to come up…,” said Benn.
She added, “Some people even believe that the transitional programme teachers teach better.”
She however noted, “if the child shows no improvement, we leave them back another year but we don’t keep them for more than two years; we have cases like that but not in any large number.”
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