Wed | Nov 14, 2018

GSAT no longer measures achievement, teachers claim

Published:Tuesday | June 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Jennifer Clemmings (centre) of Denham Town Primary speaks with students about their upcoming Grade Six Achievement Test expectations.
Nicola Francis (standing), senior teacher of student welfare at Bridgeport Primary, speaks with students at the school yesterday ahead of the publication of results of the Grade Six Achievement Test tomorrow.

The results of the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will be released tomorrow, and sixth-graders across Jamaica are anxious to be placed at the high schools of their dreams.

However, teachers at Denham Town and Bridgeport primary schools yesterday revealed their concerns with GSAT.

Jennifer Clemmings, a grade six teacher at Denham Town Primary, said this year, grades were expected to be "fair to good", She said that "[the students] got some good results" last year.

Even though she believes her students performed well on the test, Clemmings argued it was not an accurate measure of ability to perform academically. She pointed out that "you have some students who are gifted, and some might answer in class - might speak up in class - but, when they are handed written tests, they fall down".

At Bridgeport Primary, four teachers spoke to The Gleaner, but it was Nicola Francis who was most critical of GSAT.

"It used to be an achievement test," she began. She argued it is "unfair to sit a one-shot exam where anything can go wrong ... anything can happen in the morning and the child will fail the morning of the exam."

All four teachers, when questioned whether they believed that GSAT was an accurate measure of academic ability, answered with a resounding "no", but all are forced to accept the reality of the test.

- George Tomblin, Gleaner Intern