A total of 48,200 students from 1,004 schools have so far been registered to sit this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) on March 25 and March 26 for placement in high school.
Acting Chief Education Officer with responsibility for the Student Assessment Unit in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Sephlin Myers-Thomas, made the disclosure today during an interview with JIS News.
“All efforts are being made by every section, every member of staff and supporting agencies, and companies that have been contracted by the Ministry, to have the exam administered as scheduled. We have approximately 48,200 students registered to date, but as we speak the data are being verified so that the final numbers expected to actually sit on March 25 and 26 will be correct,” Dr. Myers-Thomas said, while noting that after the verification of the data, the total number of students should decrease rather than increase.
“There are instances when persons have written to the Ministry requesting withdrawal of their students and there might have been some students whose birth certificates would now reveal that they are over aged,” the Acting Chief Education Officer pointed out.
She noted that there are 1,004 public and private schools that have entered students for the examinations, made up of 797 public schools and 207 private schools. Included in the student number are 17 children who have been home schooled.
The GSAT questions are drawn from different aspects of the grades four, five and six curricula.
“There is a guideline that is sent to schools to indicate the scope and the areas that will be covered. There are five papers, inclusive of the communication task. Four papers are multiple choice, all of which would have 80 items, except science, that would have 60 items. The communication task has two activities – a stimulus material is presented and the students have to extract the information from that piece of stimulus material and answer the questions, and then there is the open ended composition type essay that has to be written,” Dr. Myers-Thomas said.
She added that even though the GSAT will be externally administered, education and student assessment officers will monitor the administration of the exam by doing spot checks on both days.
In the meantime Dr. Myers-Thomas is urging parents not to hover over the students at the examination centres.
“It has been observed that parents are usually more anxious than the children and I am saying to them please do not pass on any undue anxiety or stress to them. Let them be themselves, just give them the encouragement they need. I also ask that if they do not do as you expect, love them just the same, they are yours and they will achieve,” she urged, while noting that students sitting the GSAT should remain focused.
“Be confident in yourself. Get enough rest, especially on the night before the examination. Eat a good breakfast in the morning and take along enough pencils, so that you will have them at your disposal to use. Listen to the instructions of the examiners and concentrate on your own work,” she advised.
The examination begins at 8:30 a.m. with administrative matters to be handled and the actual sitting of the exam starts at about 9:05 a.m. Mathematics and Social Studies will be done on March 25, with Language Arts, Communication Task and Science on March 26. Schools that will operate as centres for the exam will remain closed on both days.