The 2017 Grade Six Achievement Tests have recorded an average four per cent improvement in performance in Mathematics, Language Arts and Communication Task when compared to last year.
Social Studies saw a 1.7 per cent increase while there was a decrease of 4.5 per cent in Science.
Education Minister, Senator Ruel Reid attributed the overall improved results to a variety of strategies implemented last year along with some earlier initiatives which included deploying Literacy Specialists and Maths coaches to the schools and increasing the number of workshops and Mock Exams which were used to assess the weaknesses of students ahead of the final exams.
“The National Literacy Team has undertaken initiatives such as conducting regional workshops for grade 6 teachers and students, assisted teachers in planning literacy/Language Arts lessons, and disseminated GSAT Mock Language Arts Test. This would have generated enough information to assess areas of weaknesses and accordingly implement appropriate measures of intervention,” he told a press conference at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices, June 8.
The results have been made available one week earlier this year than its usual publication in the third week in June.
With regard to Mathematics, the improvement, Senator Reid said was a direct reflection of the investment made in improving students’ numeracy achievement at the primary level through the establishment of the National Comprehensive Numeracy Programme.
“Through this initiative, the National Numeracy Team has increased the number of mathematics coaches deployed at the primary level. With this approach primary level teachers are provided with professional support specific to the teaching and learning of mathematics,” the Education Minister said.
In total, 39,729 students ( i.e. 19,130 males and 20,599 females) were registered to sit the examination. Of the total registered, 1,521 students (721 males and 800 females) were absent from varying components of the examination.
Senator Reid also noted that while there has been a trend over the past four years (2013 - 2016) of female students outperforming the male students in all tests in the examination, for the first time in five years, the male students had a higher mean percentage score (76.7%) in Language Arts for 2017 than that of the female students (68.5%).
“This represents a difference of 8.2 percentage points, which is significant. The female students had higher percentage means than the male students for the other four tests, which ranged from 4.1% in Science to 7.1% in Communication Task,” he said.
The Minister said ninety nine (99%) of the students were placed in high schools and 1% was placed in Primary and Junior High schools. The number of students placed in Primary and Junior High Schools has been reduced from 1,051 in 2016 to 568 students in 2017. This represents a reduction of 46% over the previous year’s placement. This reduction is a result of the Ministry of Education’s thrust to phase out All-Age and Junior High Schools.
In addition, 30,358 (79%) of the students were placed in one of their preferred schools. Since 2015 parents have been given the opportunity to indicate two additional school choices to the standard five that they had in the past.
These two additional choices were selected from a cluster of schools that were within a 10-mile radius of their attending schools. In this case 6,222 or sixteen per cent (16%) of students were placed in secondary level schools that are in proximity to the schools they are currently attending.
A further 1,623 students (4%) were placed manually in secondary level schools in proximity to the address they submitted.
The average test scores are as follows:
Tests Mean (%)
Social Studies 70.6
Language Arts 72.8
Communication Task 76.2
These results show increases in four of the five areas that were tested.
The overall students’ mean per cent scores for Mathematics, Language Arts and Communication Task have notable improvements over the previous year’s performance (4.2%, 4.4% and 4.2% respectively). There was also an increase of 1.7 percentage points in students’ performance in Social Studies when compared to 2016. There was a decline in the performance of students in Science between 2017 and 2016, a difference of 4.5 percentage points.
All schools once they have registered on-line will be able to access the results at 12:01 a.m. Friday, June 9, 2017. Those who have no on-line access can pick up their results by 12 noon at their respective Regional Offices.