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Slight improvement in GSAT

Published:Wednesday | June 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Ministry of Education is reporting marginal improvement in the performance of students sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) this year, with the majority gaining a place in a secondary school of their choice.

Delivering the preliminary results of this year's examinations at the ministry's Heroes Circle office in Kingston yesterday, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites said students recorded a marginal increase in all the subject areas, except for mathematics, which declined by one percentage point.

"The one-percentage [point] slip in mathematics over last year reflects the weakness in math that has existed in our primary schools," the minister said.

Thwaites said as a result of this weakness, the ministry has revised its numeracy targets for 2015.

The education ministry has been working towards 85 per cent mastery of numeracy at the grade four level; however, Thwaites said based on the results coming out of the primary schools, this is no longer attainable.

"For literacy, we are on track. We are not so on track for mathematics, and we have been advised that the mathematics programme will require up to 2018," Thwaites said.

He said science has seen the greatest improvement at the grade six level over the last five years, with a 15 percentage-point increase.

Communication task followed, with an 11 percentage point increase since 2009; with social studies following, with an increase of 10 percentage points.

Even though mathematics had a slight decline this year when compared to last year, the problematic subject did record a seven-point increase, with language arts trailing, with only a six-percentage-point increase over the last five years.

Close to 29,000 of the 39,438 students who sat the examinations in March were placed in a school of their choice, with the others being placed in institutions within proximity of their homes or primary schools.

"We have gone further than ever before in placing students in proximity of their communities," Thwaites stated, adding that the ministry paid more attention to students' addresses, where available, in placing them.

The minister said the results would be made available to primary schools across the island tomorrow evening.

jermaine.francis@gleanerjm.com