The Ministry of Education's report of an eight percentage point increase in the number of students in public schools achieving mastery in the Grade Four Numeracy Test this year, when compared with last year, appears to be encouraging news.
But although the last numeracy results are better than the previous year, scores of the island's public and private primary-level schools continue to struggle with mathematics. Of the 790 institutions which put up students for the test in 2010-2011, 327 of them received mastery level of between zero per cent and less than 40 per cent.
Of the 33 schools which the education ministry has placed in its top tier because of mastery rates of between 80 and 100 per cent, only four had more than 50 students sitting the test. But a look behind the data shows serious problems as the number of top-performing schools is inflated based on those which had fewer than 50 students sitting the test.
No school which entered more than 20 students for the test was able to report 100 per cent mastery.
In addition, two neighbouring parishes, St James and Hanover, with a total of approximately 80 public primary schools, failed to have any record of more than 80 per cent mastery.
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