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'GSAT data can improve teaching techniques'

Published:Monday | June 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Thwaites

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has emphasised that the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) is more than a placement tool, providing as well rich data about students' performance that educators can use to transform teaching and learning outcomes.

Speaking against the background of the recently released GSAT results, Thwaites told an Alpha Primary School gathering on the weekend that the Ministry of Education "spends significant sums of money each year to provide detailed information - a profile - on how each student performed in all the subject areas taken in GSAT."

According to Thwaites, the CD containing the GSAT results includes a teacher's report for each subject that disaggregates how the student performs on each question in a specific subject area. This treasure chest of information, he said, can "greatly assist in curriculum change, planning customised teaching and learning, focused assessment, as well as evaluation".

The education minister implored teachers in secondary schools to use the student-specific evaluation as a diagnostic tool to identify the strengths and weaknesses of students.

He pointed out that the use of the GSAT student sub-profiles could benefit primary schools as well. These schools could study the data and see where a teacher might need to improve on his or her knowledge level or teaching methodology so as to improve the learning outcome in succeeding batches of GSAT candidates, the education minister explained.

Thwaites, who was addressing the Alpha Primary School 120th anniversary celebrations closing ceremony at the Alhambra Inn on Saturday, commended the management and teaching staff for their efforts over the years in ensuring that the school continued to perform above average in National Standardised Examinations. These include the Grade Three Diagnostic Tests, Grade Four Literacy Test and GSAT examinations.

He, however, implored them to use the milestone of their 120th anniversary to begin a push to achieve higher academic performance from their students.