Education Minister, Ronald Jones speaking at today’s press conference on the 11-plus results. Also pictured are Chief Education Officer, Karen Best and Permanent Secretary, June Chandler. (A.Gaskin/BGIS)
Though the Education Ministry is general satisfied with the hard work of both students and teachers, it is still worried about the base, especially in Mathematics.
This was pointed out today as Education Minister, Ronald Jones, discussed the students’ performance in the 2016 Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) during a press conference at his Ministry at the Elsie Payne Complex.
While noting the continued good performance of females over males, which he attributed to their level of “maturity and focus”, he said, however, the base of the exam continued to give the Ministry some challenges. However, he promised to continue reviewing and addressing this issue.
Mr. Jones said an examination of students scoring 30 or less, showed that in Mathematics 626, or 17.7 per cent, scored in this range on the examination paper, as compared to 963, or approximately 27.7 per cent, in 2015.
“It means that your base has shrunk but when you look at 30, which is a small mark, we have to improve that. We must reach zero [students] scoring 30 or less. We have to lift the threshold; we have to lift the base,” he stressed.
In what he called the mid-tier, 40 to 69 per cent, Minister Jones pointed out this would have shown some improvement, with 1,194 or 33.8 per cent having scored between those ranges, as compared to 31.3 per cent in 2015.
Analysing the performance of students In the range 70 to 100, he noted that a total of 909 students or 25.8 per cent were successful, as compared to 1,017 or 29.2 per cent in 2015.
“It means there has been a slight decline in the numbers scoring between 70 and 100,” said the Education Minister, as he acknowledged the need to look at the total picture and not just segments.
Referring to the Ministry’s focus on STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovation], he said it also meant that we had to pay a lot more attention to Mathematics teaching and the overall improvement of the pedagogy relative to our Mathematics.
He reiterated the fact that his Ministry was in continued discussions with The University of the West Indies and Erdiston Teachers’ Training College to bring about overall improvement in the ability of teachers to deliver Mathematics.
He also noted that attention was being paid to reinvigorating Mathematics teaching in primary schools to ensure there was “that upward impact at the secondary level”.
According to the Education Minister, consideration is also being given to developing specialist Maths and Science teachers as part of the Ministry’s STEM approach.