Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Riverton fire exposes GSAT as high-stakes test - educator

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

President of the Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA) Wesley Boynes is arguing that the situation at the Riverton disposal site, which has led to the postponement of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), exposes the exam as a high-stakes test.

Speaking with The Gleaner, Boynes said that while he did not have a problem with the postponement of the exam, due to the health concerns raised by the smoke coming from the dump, the situation highlights the inherent problem with the GSAT exams.

"If the GSAT exams were not so hyped up, where children are pressured to perform, then the other schools out of town would have been able to go ahead with the exam," he said.


He went on to argue that the GSAT exams should not be about high-stakes testing but rather an assessment of what students have learnt over the six years of primary school.

"I am looking forward to the changes that the ministry will make in the next two years because the exam should be about assessing students over the time they are in school and not about high-stakes testing," he added.

The Ministry of Education, in 2013, announced that it would be making changes to the GSAT exam and would rename it the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).

In the meantime, Byron Farquharson, general secretary of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, said he was in full support of the move by the ministry to postpone the exam.

"I am in full support of any move that will ensure equity for all students sitting the GSAT exam. We can understand that schools outside of Kingston will be a bit disappointed but this will benefit all students when you look at the bigger picture," he said.