APNU/ AFC credits NGSA performance to foundation set by them

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The APNU+AFC notes the impressive National Grade Six Assessment results which were recently announced. Commendations must be given to the teaching staff and parents who stood their grounds in the face of a global pandemic. These results are no doubt linked to the work which was done by the coalition government and the foundation which we left behind. We recall, prior to 2015, the unimpressive NGSA results which our country recorded under successive PPP governments. In 2013, 43.94 percent of the candidates secured 50 percent or more, in comparison with 31.52 percent in 2014, can you imagine a country where more than 50 percent of the students sitting a particular exam do not meet the 50% mark? But the problem started way before then, from 1994-2014 the pass rate by subject was way below 50%, that alone speaks of the management of the Education sector under different PPP governments – a government that is now taking credit for the work done by the APNU+AFC coalition. The Education Ministry in 2016 collaborated with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to improve the quality of primary school grade assessment examinations, including the NGSA. Education professionals came together at the Caribbean Examinations Council and addressed key areas, while candidates were also given several mock examinations. The coalition soon after taking office launched an aggressive innovative campaign to improve students’ performance countrywide, this initiative also proved successful. One year after this investment by the coalition Government, in 2017, the country recorded it’s ‘best ever’ results at the NGSA, improvements were recorded in all subject areas for the first time and pass rate improved significantly. We note that the Ministry of Education, for no good reason, did not use the usual data points used in previous years to assess performances this year. As has become customary, examination results are usually announced, analyzed, and compared to previous years using the following data points:
• Number of students matriculating
• Performance of public schools
• % of students getting more than 50 % per subject area
This year the Ministry decided for some undisclosed reason not to focus on these data points, which make it much easier for the public to assess the overall performance of our students. In addition to this, we note with great concern the amount of unnecessary public comments and attention surrounding the integrity of the results, owing to inappropriate and irresponsible, if not improper conduct, administration, and management of the assessment by senior functionaries. We point to the many reports of the Minister frequenting the marking site. The Minister should have known that this was inappropriate and should have been sensitive that this can be interpreted as possible abuse of the prestige of her office. We find the actions of the minister deeply disappointing as it could have brought the entire process into disrepute. It is well understood that it is not normal for professionals to be so involved in examinations when their children/relatives are sitting the same exams. We believe that established norms should have allowed those senior staff at the MOE (CEO and Superintendent of Exams/ Local Registrar) should have recused themselves from the examination environment.

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