Reid stands by PEP mock exam results
The Ministry of Education says that the method of combining the scores of students who fell in the category of 'standard met' and 'standard nearly met' for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) results is nothing new, stressing that there was no intent to mislead the public.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, education minister Ruel Reid said that he was sticking by the results he initially announced at a press briefing in October.
At that time, Reid told the public that 83 per cent of the students had scored satisfactorily on the performance task assessment. He, however, expressed some concerns about science, noting that only 22 per cent of the students who sat the exam had achieved satisfactory results for the subject.
Reports since then have surfaced that the results were much worse.
"As minister, there was no basis for fear-mongering. I have a duty to ensure fairness, accuracy, and transparency. I stand by the scores and interpretation at the press conference," the minister told The Gleaner yesterday morning.
In a release that was sent out by the ministry later in the afternoon, Dr Grace McLean, chief education officer, said that, in accordance with the new framework for PEP, the ministry utilised the descriptors 'standard met', 'standard nearly met' and 'standard not met'.
AN ACCEPTABLE STANDARD
McLean explained further that given the breakdown of the scores, the ministry reported a combination of the 'standard met' and 'standard nearly met' as students obtaining satisfactory performance. McLean said that this approach was used for the higher-order thinking skills being assessed as well as other variables that would have affected student performance in the administration of the test.
"It must also be noted that the disaggregation of the three reporting categories (standard met, standard nearly met, standard not met) was done and reported based on the questions that were asked in the Houses of Parliament, which would have necessitated us providing the specific information," she said.
Floyd Green, state minister, in responding to questions that were tabled by Opposition Spokesman on Education Ronald Thwaites disclosed in Parliament on Tuesday that of the 37,539 students who sat the examination, 12,003 achieved mastery in language arts and 22,759 nearly met the standard. In mathematics, 1,379 students met the standard, while 17,568 nearly met the standard. For science, 585 students met the standard, while 14,126 nearly met the standard. Social studies revealed that 2,861 met the standard, while 19,464 nearly met the standard.
"Reference can be drawn from how the CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) scores are reported. Despite the fact that a Grade III is benchmarked at 40 per cent, once a student achieves a Grade III or higher, it is reported as an acceptable grade. Hence, the combination of 'standard met' and 'standard nearly met', as was reported for the grade five mock exam, is an acceptable indication level of students' achievement of the skills of the National Standards Curriculum."