EDUCATION MINISTRY, CXC FAILING CHILDREN - EntornoInteligente / The trinidad Guardian / The Secondary Entrance Assessment was introduced in 2001 to replace the Common Entrance Examination.

Any rational individual that compares the examination then and now, will come to the conclusion that it has significantly increased in its level of difficulty.

The amazing thing is, however, in 2001, 75 minutes were allotted to both Math and Language and to this day, that time has not changed. This in itself has precipitated great levels of frustration because children are being trained to take 30 seconds to solve a question in section one; four minutes per three-part question in section three; and one minute 30 seconds per question in section two.

A week before the exam, some children still experience difficulty completing a booklet.

Couple the aforementioned with the conditions of a national examination, as well as a faulty paper.

In this year’s paper, questions 3 and 4 in Language read:

Rewrite EACH of the following sentences using the POSSESSIVE form of the UNDERLINED WORDS in each sentence.

3) The ruler belonging to Meera was hidden under the desk.

4) The parents Aidan and Judy are on vacation in Tobago.

Error—Nothing was underlined.

In Math question 34, the worded dimensions given for the triangle did not match the diagram provided.

Yes , the children could have deduced the answers , but that is NOT the concern.

Children came out of the examination rooms crying, screaming , unable to pull themselves together because (1) the examination was heavily worded and (2) the faulty questions implanted doubt in the minds of those who are not above average.

Children are taught that educational testing results can open or close doors of opportunity.

State testing programmes in the primary school influences the type of secondary education one receives, and so many of our children felt like an utter failure and lost all interest in the Language paper which was forthcoming.

How can this examination be deemed fair to all? Why hasn’t the Government allotted at least 15 minutes more per examination?

Can children complete a plan, editing and final draft of a Creative Writing task in 50 minutes comfortably?

The Ministry of Education and CXC have failed our children once again.

The above average children will continue to attain placement in the higher ordered schools and yearly, our children will undergo levels of unhealthy frustration.

Assessment at a national level needs to be accumulative starting from Standard 1 to Standard 5. All must not depend on ONE major examination. Wake up, Mr Minister, we need a change now!

Concerned teacher

via email


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