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Educator publishes workbooks for PEP and CSEC students

Published:Monday | June 22, 2020 | 12:12 AMDanae Hyman/ Staff Reporter
Covers of workbooks published by Mikhail Graham, a teacher at  Penwood High School.
Covers of workbooks published by Mikhail Graham, a teacher at Penwood High School.

Citing the need arising from the new format of exams for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), Mikhail Graham, teacher of Penwood High School, has published two workbooks, with one on the way, to assist students in the upcoming examinations.

Graham, who has been an educator for the past nine years, shared that although he teaches high-school students full-time, due to his private practice where he tutors children from grade four through to grade 11 in social studies, Caribbean history and geography, he realised that there were no workbooks in stores to comprehensively help them, given the changes in the examinations.

Last November, he self-published a social studies workbook for students at the primary level and two weeks ago, his multiple-choice Caribbean history workbook for students preparing to sit their CSEC exams was published. According to him, he currently has a workbook for primary school students in the editorial stage that will help with the critical-thinking component established in the new PEP examinations.

“Because I was assisting children prepare for the social studies exam, and because it has a new format, I went into the book stores and tried to find a suitable workbook, and I realised that there weren’t any. I then decided to use the objectives that were given by the ministry, and sample questions, to formulate my own. The CSEC one for high- school students, that one was fast-tracked due to the sudden change in the format for the exam. I realise that people would have to be purchasing individual papers, which is in excess of $800 for just one year, so I decided to compile a lot of CSEC questions, along with compiling some of them on my own,” Graham said.

In view of the impact of COVID-19 on the region, the Caribbean Examinations Council announced that students registered to sit their exams this year will be assessed using a modified process. The administration of the modified examination process for the award of valid grades involves the administration of Paper 1 (multiple-choice assessment), school-based assessment, and, where applicable, additional assessment components, along with appropriate modelling that accounts for historical data and teacher-predicted information.

Although Graham sells each of his workbooks for $1,800, he said that his reward for publishing is not the financial aspect but rather, being able to see his students excel in their studies.

Real reward

“While it is good, the real reward is when you see the students improve, when you see that you took the student from point A to point B. I heard a parent boasting that since she purchased the social studies book last year, her daughter has been at the top of her class because of the format and the questions.

“I received feedback from the first person who purchased the CSEC book and they were quite astonished as to how it was sectionalised. The format for the Caribbean history exam is that it comes under different themes, so what I did was to put a number of questions under the different themes in line with the objectives. They find it very useful, so the child will be forced to study on their own,” the educator said.

Grade-six students displaced by coronavirus restrictions will not sit the remaining components of the PEP exams but will be assessed using the Grade Four Numeracy and Literacy exams sat in 2018, the grade-five performance task exams of 2019, as well as the ability test done in February this year.