The Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination (BSSEE), popularly known as the Common Entrance exam, will be held as scheduled on Wednesday, July 28.
Senior Education Officer for Examinations, Glyne Price, gave the confirmation today during a press briefing held at the Ministry’s Constitution Road offices, in Bridgetown.
He, however, announced that alternative arrangements were in place for those students who would be, for whatever reason, unable to write the BSSEE.
Mr. Price was speaking against the background of the disclosure, by Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, that 27 Class Four students of the St. Judes Primary School were in quarantine.
“Clearly those students may very well have been affected in terms of their preparation for the 28th. What we have decided that not only the students from St. Judes, but any Class Four child who is scheduled to write the exam on the 28th and for whatever reason, whether they’re in quarantine, whether they’ve just been released from quarantine, and if the parents, in their opinion, feel the child has suffered trauma and is not mentally prepared to write this examination, we will make alternative arrangements for the child, or children to write an alternative exam in the future…somewhere between the 28th of July and the 1st of September,” he stated, noting that such a system had always been in place.
Students who fall under the aforementioned category also have the option to defer.
The Senior Education Officer also disclosed that several parents had opted to defer their child/children from sitting the exams, with the Ministry having received “a possible 100 requests”.
Furthermore, he indicated that the Ministry of Education was reviewing the criteria which would allow students who were under 11 years old to write the BSSEE.
“We also received requests for 12 students to write the examination early. Now, in previous years, we had a very rigid criteria for writing the exam early. That basic criteria was that the student had to score 85 percent, or above, in six terms preceding the exam- that’s three terms in Class Three and three terms in Class Two.
“Now, this year…there have been serious challenges for some students. We had device issues, connectivity issues, then we had loss of electricity…So, initially when we were doing our review we had stuck to that criteria, but on reflection, we are reviewing that process,” he explained, adding that it was expected that the schools would be notified of changes by the end of today.
Meanwhile, Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, explained that the alternative arrangements would not affect the allocation of students to secondary schools, stating: “Every year, we do have children taking exams at different times because somebody would’ve been sick… they might’ve had a death [in the family], so, this is something we facilitate every year and we will continue to do it.
“So, everything should be on track as it relates to the allocation [process]. Things are in place at CXC, so that should not be interrupted,” Mrs. Adamson added.