All in place for students who will sit final GSAT — Reid

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator Ruel Reid, says the State is ready to accommodate the 39,093 students registered to sit the final Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) on Thursday and Friday.

Speaking at a press briefing at the ministry today to provide an update on the ministry's GSAT readiness, Reid said all systems and mechanisms needed for the national primary-level examination are now in place, including those to accommodate students with special needs, those who speak foreign languages, those hospitalised and one juvenile who has been incarcerated.

“Examinations will be administered in 1,089 centres across the island. I am very confident that we are more than ready,” the minister said.

He noted that 18,996 males and 20,097 females have been registered to sit the GSAT, including those with special needs.

The minister said a total of 315 students with special needs will do the examination, including 166 in Region One, 13 in Region Two, four in Region Three, 20 in Region Four, 33 in Region Five and 79 in Region Six.

“GSAT will be administered to seven students who are currently patients in hospitals, over the two-day period. Six students across the island will receive interpreters in Mandarin, Spanish and Dutch. There is also one student who will sit GSAT in a juvenile facility… because no matter where they are, we have to empower them. We want to ensure that no child is left behind,” Reid said.

Test materials for GSAT have been dispatched through the six regions, while training of presiding examiners and invigilators across the regions commenced in February, 2018 and was completed on March 16.

“Monitors have been recruited and trained to give support to the Ministry's core personnel, who will also be engaged in monitoring. Timetables were distributed to the schools between March 7 and March 9,” Reid said.

The minister applauded grade-six teachers who attended classes during the disruptions last week. “We want to celebrate many of our educators who went beyond the call of duty, who stood with those students, who went to school and made sure those students remained confident and prepared,” he said.

“Over the weekend, the ministry did a lot of workshops with our students in preparation, and from all reports, we have seen no gap in terms of any impairment in… the preparation of our students,” Reid said.

The GSAT has reigned as the determiner of primary-school students' fates for almost two decades, and, now, Jamaica is on the verge of a transition with the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), which will be introduced in the next academic year, and will replace GSAT.

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