Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
Some primary school principals appeared confident their students were prepared for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) which starts today.
In addition to the usual extra classes, some principals have emphasised the mental preparation of their students.
Principal of Half-Way Tree Primary in St Andrew, Catherine Malcolm, said her main focus leading into the test was to ease the tension among students and parents.
"We try not to behave as if we are sending them to university to do some exams that they know nothing about.
"One of the things we want to take away from this everlasting tension is 'GSAT is coming'," said Malcolm.
"We tell our students every day, 'Just do your work (in class) and know that they are going to test you on all that you have learnt'," she added.
Still, she said the school had done everything it needed to ensure all 199 students sitting GSAT were well prepared.
All we could have done
At Windward Road Primary and Junior High, principal Norman Malcolm said, "We have done all we could have possibly done as teachers."
Some 240 students are down to sit GSAT there and, according to him, preparations were enhanced by a special programme sponsored by National Commercial Bank.
Under the programme, students did practice tests online and the results were forwarded to teachers, who used them to analyse the students' strengths and weaknesses.
Despite this, Malcolm said he was disappointed with the lack of cooperation from some parents.
"We have done everything humanly possible to reach out to our parents to get them to come in and embrace what we are doing, but they have not been forthcoming in this respect," he said.
Principal of Dunrobin Primary, Robert Gillies, and his counterpart at St Andrew Primary, Beverley Haase, indicated that preparations had gone well.
Both schools have been forced to suspend classes because of the worsening water crisis in the Corporate Area, although GSAT students were not affected.
More than 48,200 students from 797 public and 207 private schools are scheduled to sit the two-day GSAT.
The Ministry of Education indicated that its officers will be out today and Friday monitoring the administration of the examination in randomly selected schools.
Instructions for GSAT students
Candidates should be at the examina-tion centre at least 15 minutes before the exams begin at 8:30 a.m.
Mathematics and Social Studies will be done today, with Language Arts, Communication Task and Science tomorrow. Schools that will operate as centres for the examination will be closed to the general population on both days.