Jamaica has a good chance of achieving the target of 85 per cent mastery of literacy among grade-four students by 2015, based on the just-released results of the Grade Four Literacy Test administered by the Ministry of Education in June.
More than three quarters of students who sat the test attained mastery in literacy. An analysis of the results showed that 81 per cent of girls in the group eligible to take the test displayed full mastery of literacy, which is just four percentage points short of the target of 85 per cent of the total cohort by 2015.
Making the disclosure during the official launch of the new school year last Friday at Bellefield Primary in Manchester, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites noted that, in the case of boys, much more needs to be done to close the 23-percentage point gap in mastering literacy by 2015.
Unlike literacy, the country has a lot more ground to cover in achieving 85 per cent mastery of numeracy by 2015. The results of the Grade Four Numeracy Test showed that 59 per cent of the total number of students who sat it in June achieved mastery. When the results are broken down, again, more girls (62 per cent) than boys (47 per cent) are mastering numeracy.
Based on this trend, officials at the Ministry of Education believe it is unlikely that the target of 85 per cent mastery of numeracy by 2015 will be achieved. However, the ministry has outlined a number of specific measures to ratchet up literacy and numeracy levels.
Measures to be implemented include: