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Defining moment for GSAT students - Experts urge parents, teachers to support children regardless of performance

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Students at Jessie Ripoll Primary School react after receiving news of their Grade Six Achievement Test results last year. - FILE

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

Shock, glee, disappointment and denial are but a few of the many emotions parents, teachers and, particularly, students across the country will be feeling today, as all primary schools are expected to get the results for this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

However, parents and teachers are being encouraged to take today's GSAT results in stride and try their best to control their emotions for the children's sake.

The professionals say the adults are also to refrain from bashing the nearly 40 per cent of the 42,000 cohort who reportedly underperformed in this year's sitting of the exams.

Counsellors say parents and teachers are to support their children regardless of the results, as GSAT is not the be all and end all of the children's lives.

However, they do agree that the results can have a detrimental impact on students if not handled properly.

"It's a defining moment in a child's life and the results can either make or break them depending on how parents and teachers deal with it," noted Dr Wendel Abel, head of the University Hospital of the West Indies' psychiatric department.

Abel noted that adults are not to devalue students if they have not performed to their expectations.

Noted child psychologist Dr Orlean Brown-Earle is also encouraging parents and teachers to accept the results and avoid entering denial. She said parents are to work with their children and look towards the next stage of their development.

"Parents need to be realistic about their children's ability and the limitations of the system, and teachers need not place students who do well on a pedestal or laud anyone more than the other," Brown-Earle advised.

In what can be described as a traumatic time for students, Both doctors said the most significant thing parents and teachers need to do is to show their children love and care despite how disappointed they might feel.

Advice to parents and teachers:


1. Don't attack, blame or devalue.

2. Don't compare children to others.

3. Don't go into denial about the results.


1. Show support and love despite results.

2. Regardless of the outcome, accept the results with calm and quiet.

3. Communicate with children.