Few blemishes on GSAT Day One; ministry satisfied
Barring heavy rains across sections of the island that slightly affected the scheduled 9 a.m. start time and a few instances of paper shortage, Day One of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) got off to a smooth start yesterday, with more than 39,000 students completing the mathematics and social studies papers.
"St Ann and Trelawny, especially, saw heavy rains, and, as a result, students arrived late, so the exam would have started at around 9:30 a.m. at a few centres. We had paper shortages at 12 centres as a result of more students turning up to sit the exam than were initially registered. This is not an unusual situation, example being that a few students may have been abroad during the registration period. It was addressed quickly as the ministry was able to obtain extra copies from the student assessment unit," Collin Steer, director of corporate communications at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, told The Gleaner.
CHICKEN POX AND MEASLES
Steer disclosed that two centres had reported incidents of chicken pox and measles, which officials handled by separating the affected students and placing them in private rooms with invigilators.
There were also two emergency cases on the first day, one resulting in a deferral to next year's exam.
"A St Aloysius Primary School student, Darling Salmon, was reportedly hit by a car, but we've gathered that it wasn't serious enough to cause major injuries, so she was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital, where she was examined and received pain medication. Her parents insisted that she sit the exam, so she was given additional time to complete it. Another student will sit the exam next year as he suffered an asthma attack. His parents were still at the school at the time of his illness, and he was taken to the hospital for treatment," Steer said.
Pleased with the reports and personal observation, education state minister Floyd Green said: "I was able to visit the Grove Primary and Mannings Hill Primary, where I had the opportunity of addressing the students, reminding them to believe in themselves and to give it their all. We have been having heavy rain in some sections of the island, especially northern and eastern parishes, but the exams went smoothly. We have made provisions for more than 300 special-needs students, and we have established a data centre for all reports."
Today, students will sit language arts, communication task, and science.