Sat | Jan 20, 2018

Paper shortage at six institutions not enough to stop smooth running of the grade four literacy and numeracy tests

Published:Friday | July 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Dr Grace McLean

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education Dr Grace McLean has reported a successful sitting of the grade four literacy and numeracy tests this past week despite paper shortages at six institutions.

"(Tuesday) went reasonably well. There were seven institutions in Regions 1 and 6 (Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, and Clarendon) where we had some issues with a shortage of papers," McLean said.

"This was actually due to these students not being registered, and hence, they were not counted in the number that we catered for. Despite that fact, we provided additional papers in the case of emergencies."

She added: "Unfortunately, quite a few of those students were just not registered. In those seven institutions, we had to delay the examinations, but they were not severely disadvantaged and we really could say that (Tuesday) went smoothly."

Wednesday went well, according to McLean, as there was no shortage of papers.

Sixty thousand students sat the literacy and numeracy tests over the two days. Out of the 60,000, approximately 40,000 were first-time sitters.

"There is a policy at the ministry that has been in effect since 2010, which is called the competence-based transition policy. When the policy was just implemented, it gave each student from grade four, four opportunities to sit the grade four literacy test. If they didn't pass it on the first try, they would have two more sittings. In 2013, we amended that policy to just two sittings because the sittings were too close," McLean said.

"So if a student had done it in grade four and did not master it, then the student has the opportunity to do it in grade five. For each year, you have the first-time sitters, who would be the first set of students in the grade-four cohort and we have those who are re-sitting. So it would mean that we would have to have a paper for each (set of) students, those who are re-sitting and those who are doing it for the first time," she said.




McLean, noting that there were some persons who showed up on the day of the exams who were not previously registered, explained the process of how students are registered.

"My preliminary report has indicated that we did not have widescale absenteeism. (Late comers), we have to accommodate them because they are children and they are not responsible for registering themselves, so once they have turned up for examinations, we have to ensure that they are accommodated," she said.

"First and foremost, there is a form that we send out to the schools for the school to submit the names of the students. Once that is submitted, there is a verification process that is done. We have students in the system from grade one and so we have to verify the information that we get from the schools. Around March, April, we send back out the information for each school on a spreadsheet for the schools to verify the information to ensure that all students are included."