D-Day draws near for GSAT students
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
With just two days to go before some 42,000 students take on the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), schools across the island have indicated that they have kicked their preparations into high gear with last-minute lessons and relaxation techniques.
While many of the primary school principals The Gleaner spoke with said they were treating the days leading up to the exams as they always did, Shahaney Frome-Roberts of the Jacks River Primary in St Mary expressed that she seemed to be a bit more nervous than her wards.
However, her jitters are not because she believes her students are unprepared, but because of their own nonchalant attitude to the high-school entrance exam.
"I am a bit worried because the students don't seem to be bothered by the upcoming exams. It seems as if they are just going along," she said.
Frome-Roberts posited that the students' confidence may be as a result of the programme they have been going through since the beginning of the school year, which was ramped up in the last couple of months.
At Sts Peter and Paul Preparatory School in Kingston, where students began grooming for the GSAT from as early as grade one, things are progressing a little differently.
Karen Siyanbola, principal of the school, noted that the pupils have gone through four mock exams already and areas of weakness were being tackled.
"Weak areas will be addressed so that the students can feel confident going into the exams."
Readiness and uncertainty
The principal said the general feeling among the students was a mixture of readiness and uncertainty.
The educators added that their grade six cohort did not receive midterm break and were even at school on Ash Wednesday conducting revision lessons.
Over in Westmoreland at the New Hope Primary and Junior High, Monica Foster, principal, said these revision lessons would run until the day before the exams begin.
"We have two shifts, with extra lessons in the morning and afternoons where teachers stay on and tutor the students," Foster expressed.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites told The Gleaner last week that there are no foreseeable hiccups that would affect the exams. He said the only issue the ministry was dealing with at the time had to do with the delay in replies from schools with children who required special assistance, such as those in need of Braille paper.
The exams are slated for this Thursday and Friday. Students will sit math, English, social studies, science and communication task over the two days.
For information relating to the exam, contact:
Region 1 - Kingston and St Andrew 612-5938/948-9801
Region 2 - Portland, St Thomas and St Mary: 993-5586
Region 3 - Trelawny and St Ann: 917-7849
Region 4 - St James, Hanover and Westmoreland: 979-8590
Region 5 - St Elizabeth and Manchester: 625-7859
Region 6 - Clarendon and St Catherine: 745-1153/983-1654-5