Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Students sail through first day of PEP mock exam

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Teachers at Windward Road Primary School in Kingston, (from left) Dahlia Thompson, Curtis McKenzie and Denise Buchanan, speaking to The Gleaner about yesterday’s sitting of the national mock exam for the PEP performance task paper.

Grade five students at Calabar Infant, Primary and Junior High, as well as Winward Road Primary schools, emerged from day one of the national mock exam of the performance task component of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) with mixed reactions.

"It was very easy. At first I thought it would be hard, because everyone made it seem like it is hard to do, but I found it easy," said Yoland Robinson of Windward Road after completing the language arts exam.

Her classmate Malik Lewis also said that he found PEP easy, having being tutored by his mother. "At first I freaked out because my mom gave me a demo paper of PEP and it seemed hard, but it was a mixture of easy and hard."

But it was a different story at the central Kingston-based Calabar Infant, Primary and Junior High School.

"So far, it was kind of hard, but the test was kind of simple," said Tiven Gibson. He added that the challenges he experienced were with rereading paragraphs to figure out the answers.

"Looking back in the paragraph was hard, because I had to look good all the time," said Tiven.

'Really easy' exam

For Gizelle Harrison, the challenges were few.

"Well, it has some confusing parts to it, but it was really easy. If it is hard to some children, it's really because they cannot read very well, but it was really simple to me," she said. "The letter-writing part was the most confusing for me because you have to put it in your own words and the timing was not enough."

Her concerns were similar to some teachers who told The Gleaner that students who were slow readers would be challenged by PEP.

"I think if there were two articles instead of three for students to analyse, it would be better. But overall, I think it is a good idea. I am not certain that the students will be able to handle the work at this time," said Denise Buchanan, a teacher at Windward Road Primary School.

Her colleague Dahlia Thompson echoed those fears.

"The students in grade five are ranked according to their ability, and we find that some students are slower. So, maybe at the end of the exam, most of them will not be finished," said Thompson. "We have a few students who did not master the literacy exam in grade four; those students will have a problem with the exam," she added.

Another teacher, Curtis McKenzie, told our news team that the students he taught did not understand the format of the exam and said it was a lot of reading for them.

- Sasha-Kaye Kemble