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PSE Results Show Students Still Performing Well Below 70%

PSE Results Show Students Still Performing Well Below 70%
June 16
16:33 2019

While there are the top performers in the Primary School Exams (PSE) whose parents and schools are celebrating and are proud of the show of excellence, the overall achievement of students from across the country generally, as in previous years, leaves much to be desired.

The average score in Math was 53.9%, with 45% of students scoring an E, which is 49% or below, and defined in the grading system as inadequate. Fifteen percent of the students scored A (Excellent), for 80% and above; another 15% of them scored D (Adequate), for 50-59%; 13% score C (Satisfactory), for 60-69%; and the remaining 12% scored B (Competent) for 70-79%. The Ministry of Education noted that this year, there were fewer students who received E than in 2018. Last year, 49% of them scored E.

In English, the average score was 56.7%, with 30% of the students receiving an E for a score, while 24% earned C and another 24% earned D, 16% got a B and 5% earned A. The Ministry noted an increase in the Adequate range over last year, from 55.5% to 56.7% this year.
The average score in Science was 56.8%, with 34% of the candidates receiving an E; 20% receiving a D; 19% getting a C; 16% scoring B and 11% getting an A. The biggest margin between this year and last year was a significant decrease in the percentage of students who performed in the Satisfactory range this year. Last year, some 60% of the students got a C in Science.

And in Social Studies, the average score was 64.2%, with 23% of the students scoring a C; 22% getting a B; 20% getting an A; 18% scoring D and another 18% getting E. According to the Ministry, there was an overall increase of 2.2% in this year’s average over last year’s, and there was also a 4% increase in the number of students who scored A this year.

Director of the Ministry of Education’s Examination Unit, Nelson Longsworth explained that the Ministry considers anything over 50% as acceptable performance, even though that might be lower than what schools consider a passing grade. Scoring less than 50% does not mean that those students will not be able to access high school education, he added; it might just mean that they won’t have selective access.

Longsworth says he sees signs of gradual improvement in the overall performance of students on the exams and this has to do with the efforts at the Ministry and the school level to identify better teachers not only at the standard six level, but from the infants division.

Written English is one area where the Education official says he has seen far better performance now than 10 years ago. His observation for math is “small but continuous gains” which he describes as a work in progress.

One area where he sees as “troubling” is Science. This is a subject which Longsworth feels has to have a more practical, engaging approach in the teaching of it. He explained that the Ministry has spent millions of dollars to provide about half of the country’s schools with a quality improvement program, but quickly added that education is an all-encompassing approach. Hence, he said, the Ministry is now trying to help those schools that have shown poor performance.

Of the 7,280 students who registered to sit the PSE, 7,015 of them actually sat the exam, whether only a part or fully. This was 65 fewer than the number who sat the exams last year. There were more boys than girls by a fraction 3,515 to 3,500.

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