Tue | Oct 17, 2017

National Literacy Team Concerned About English Mastery at CSEC Level

Published:Wednesday | December 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The National Literacy Team has raised concerns about the performance of students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) English language examination.

In its latest report submitted to Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites, the National Literacy coordinator indicated that increased intervention is needed for students at the CSEC level.

"Students' performance in CSEC English language is cause for concern, not merely because over the last five years the national pass rate has not exceeded 71 per cent, but more so the data is misleading," the report said.

That 71 per cent pass rate in CSEC was obtained in 2010, but has been on a steady decline since then. In fact, the pass rate has plummeted to 65 per cent for the 2015 sitting of the exams.

In explaining the misleading aspects of the data on CSEC English language pass rates, the team said, "The statistics indicate that more than 50 per cent of the cohort every year is culled from the figures reported on, as high schools invariably only enter those students who they think have a chance of securing a pass in the exam. This means that more than 50 per cent of students leaving high school every year have not sufficiently developed their communication skills in standard English."

The report indicated that the National Literacy Team is currently engaged in designing English language modules targeted at both teachers and students, noting that a series of islandwide workshops will be held this month and into the new year.

 

ISSUES AFFECTING LITERACY

 

A national summer training programme, budgeted at $22.7 million, is also planned for next year.

The report listed several issues which continue to affect literacy in Jamaica.

According to the report, some of the issues which continue to confront literacy include "inability of some teachers to effectively impact aspects of the curricula, inadequate levels of responsiveness by some teachers, low levels of parental involvement in students' education, weak school governance structures, limited use of resource materials, low attendance levels among some students, and special educational needs among some students".

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com