PEP is easy to understand, says Reid
IN A radical departure from the position taken earlier this week by the leadership of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA), Minister of Education Ruel Reid says the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination is easy to understand and apply and that his ministry is committed to guiding educators in its implementation.
"The test items (on the PEP exam) are age appropriate because it requires reasoning, so the student is now going to have to think through and justify his answer," said Reid, who was speaking at yesterday's final day of the three-day JTA's 54th annual conference in Montego Bay, St James. "This is the new testing methodology that we need to adapt to. It is not that difficult for us to make that change."
On Tuesday's second day of the conference, Dr Garth Anderson, the newly installed president of the JTA, said that the nation's teachers and students are not ready for PEP, which is slated to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) in the new school year.
"The implementation of the PEP element of the National Standards Curriculum is on track to fail," Anderson said. "PEP remains a mystery, and teachers, students, and parents are still anxious even after several workshops have been hosted and the publication of newspaper articles, which attempted to allay our fears."
However, in his defence of PEP, the education minister said that it is all about working with the children and guiding them to get the desired results.
TALK TO OUR CHILDREN
"It means that from very early in the system, we have to get into a culture where we talk to our children and allow them to explain themselves, and we will work with you to get there," Reid said.
Several school principals and teachers have sided with the JTA's position, expressing concern about their readiness to administer the PEP exam, which the education minister is convinced is the way to go.
"The big issue is the change in the testing items, and we are making that information available to everybody in terms of sample questions," said Reid. "The teachers will be part of setting the questions, so we are not going to be setting questions that people will not be comfortable with."
In expressing his concern about PEP, the JTA president said that "the mock tests that went some weeks ago, the fish tank question and the kennel question, have only served to frustrate the system, and the test clearly did not cater to the different learning styles and abilities of the students."