Ministry of Education strengthens public awareness for PEP
As preparations continue for the implementation of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information continues to heighten public awareness of the initiative.
With just-concluded town hall meetings across the island, the ministry is in the process of training school administrators to allow for the smooth implementation of the programme.
PEP will replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) and should provide a better and more complete profile of students' academic and critical-thinking capabilities at the end of primary-level education.
The implementation of the new curriculum in schools, from grades 1 to 9, requires new assessment instruments to measure student achievement. The PEP is one such instrument that has been designed to assess student learning from grades 4 to 6 in the National Standards Curriculum (NSC).
Based on the emphasis of this new curriculum, PEP will be designed not only to measure content, but it will also measure student acquisition and development of skills embedded in the NSC. These are 21st-century skills.
How has Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) prepared the system so far?
The Student Assessment Unit (SAU) has provided in-service training for several key stakeholders in the education system in how to assess the National Standards Curriculum. Workshops have been conducted with the island's grade 4 teachers (April 2017), grade 5 teachers (November 2017), and primary school assessment coordinators (October 2017). They were trained in the following areas:
- How to identify evidence of the 21st-century skills in students.
- How to analyse the extent to which assessment tasks identified can elicit evidence of the development of these skills
- How to develop assessment tasks that will elicit evidence of these skills
The SAU has also engaged in public sensitisation for PEP through town hall meetings facilitated in all parishes in December last year. The public was given information regarding the components of the test:
- how it will affect students at various levels in the system now
- How parents can help to develop the requisite skills in their children.
Hundreds of brochures with information regarding PEP were disseminated at each town hall meeting. Additionally, information is available on the Ministry of Education's website.
What's next for MOEYI?
The Student Assessment unit's training plan will see the Unit continuing to provide in-service training for other stakeholders such as primary school principals (January-February, 2018) in leading the assessment process in their schools. Grade 6 teachers will also be trained in May 2018 in similar areas as the Grades 4 and 5 teachers, and Grades 1 to 3 teachers will be trained between October 2018 and January 2019.
A training programme has also been designed for further and regular training of primary school assessment coordinators as their role in schools is critical to ensuring that the quality of assessment carried out is of a high standard and one that will prepare students adequately for the national assessment.
Assessment procedures and practices will also be standardised and encouraged. Pre-service training for students in teachers' colleges will also be provided.
The Student Assessment Unit will continue to provide schools and teachers with information and material regarding PEP as we prepare for its first full administration in June 2019. A sample item publication is set to be released to schools this month. This publication will give teachers and students a a look at the various types of items that may be used on the tests at the national level. Sample item types from each component of PEP will be provided. Additionally, a national mock trial of the Performance Tasks will be fully administered in all schools to all grade 4 and 5 students in June 2018 in an effort to familiarise students and teachers with items of this type.
How can parents and students prepare for PEP?
In addition to ensuring that children grasp the facts and procedures outlined in the curriculum, parents should assist in developing the four 21st-century skills in their children. It is not only about students knowing facts and procedures, but they should be able to apply this knowledge in a meaningful way. Students will now be required to demonstrate what they can do with what they know and go further than just recalling information. They will need to be able to apply knowledge of this information to solve real-world problems and use this information to make meaningful decisions.
Parents can help to develop these skills at home by.
- providing opportunities for play that encourage problem solving.
- asking children open-ended questions about relatable issues and allowing them to express their points of view.
- engaging children in meaningful discussions.
- helping children make connections in their everyday lives.
Parents should also work closely with their child's teacher to monitor the progress of the development of these skills in their child.
Article courtesy Ministry of Education, Youth & Information