Sunday 27 September, 2020

Garcia assures: Special support for SEA 30 percent scorers

While there are no immediate plans to conduct any evaluations of the students who scored below the 30 percent threshold in the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination, parents and teachers have been given the assurance that special support will be afforded to ensure that these students’ specific needs are identified and met.

Responding to questions in the Senate from Senator Paul Richards, Education Minister Anthony Garcia stated that a number of students have been identified with various areas of need

Richards’ questions followed the revelation on Wednesday that 2170 students scored below 30 percent, and 803 of those students had been advised to resit the exam.

Garcia explained that students who are 13 years of age or older will move on to secondary school, while those who are younger than 13 years will be offered the facility to repeat the year and resit the examination.

“A number of these students have been identified and our student support services division are liaising with our curriculum department in an effort to ensure that the necessary support is put in place for those students,” he said.

Garcia also assured that there is constant assessment of protocols at the Ministry, which includes ongoing review of existing protocol regarding how the Ministry treats with cases of students scoring below 30 percent on the SEA exam.  

At the opening of the new school term, diagnostic testing will be conducted to determine the students’ functional levels in areas of numeracy and literacy.

Guidance will also be provided to the students in the area of alternative career paths that those children can follow, while the Ministry will conduct parent workshops with basic programmes of work in the foundation areas of Mathematics and Language Arts.  Existing curriculum programmes will also be adapted and adjusted to meet the needs of these students.

The Minister also restated the Ministry’s plans to have more frequent visits by School Supervisors to ensure that these students will be afforded adequate support.

The Ministry intends to meet with the administrative teams at these schools to discuss leadership and management arrangements to be put in place, as well as regular monitoring of those schools and the aforementioned initiatives.

Garcia stressed that particular emphasis would be placed on numeracy and literacy to ensure that these students are equipped with the necessary skills before they move on.

He also underscored that the focus is not only on those who underperformed, but those students who have done well.

A follow-up question from Richards on whether there would be any reassessment of the 30 percent benchmark as it is not “globally competitive’ was disallowed by Senate President Christine Kangaloo.

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