Tue | Apr 25, 2017

GSAT postponement a mixed blessings for Free Town Primary

Published:Wednesday | March 18, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Shamir Martin and Chante Bennett, students of Free Town Primary School.

Announcement by Minister of Education the Reverend Ronald Thwaites on Monday that the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) has been rescheduled brings mixed blessings for teachers and students of the Free Town Primary School in Clarendon.

The examination, which was scheduled for tomorrow and Friday, has been pushed back a week to March 26-27.

Grade six teacher Jacqueline Hunter sees positives and negatives in the postponement. For her, it is a chance to "fine-tune" and continue to reassure those who are still nervous.

"A few of the students are quite nervous, and the postponement gives me an extra week to calm them and also gives me an opportunity to review some of the concepts I have done. For my sake, I am happy, but for the children, not as happy," she said.

According to Hunter, already, she has identified at least six students who are quite depressed at the postponement.

"They wanted to 'get rid of it', so to speak. They are very disappointed. Two, in particular, are acting up. They asked, 'Why did they put it off?' and said they were ready to do it," she said.

Hunter believes that there will be some kind of psychological effect on the students because of the postponement and she is encouraging the education ministry to dispatch counsellors to the schools to have talks with them.

Tretia Stewart, who also teaches GSAT students at the school, said the first question she was confronted with yesterday from her students was, "Why did the ministry put off the exam?"

The mock exams and subsequent exams she has given her class show that they are ready.

She noted that their excitement and anticipation level have dropped, but she would be going all out to once again boost them in the days ahead.

Eleven-year-old Chante Bennett, in addition to feeling disappointed, counts herself "unlucky".

She is wondering why the postponement had to occur in her batch.

"I was 99 per cent ready to sit the exam; I was really looking forward to it. I just don't feel supercharged anymore," she said.

But Shamir Martin is taking everything in stride. For this 11-year-old, every disappointment is an opportunity, and he will be using the extra week to "read up on things I don't understand to get that one per cent I may need for a scholarship".

He concluded his interview saying deliberately, "Next week Thursday and Friday, I plan to have a good bath, a healthy breakfast, carry my tools - pencils and my brain - here to do GSAT and on the result day I plan to hear, 'Shamir Martin, Glenmuir High, scholarship'!"