Early sitters of the Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination (BSSEE) are doing well in the education system.

This was among several disclosures made by Senior Education Officer, Glyne Price, to the over 60 parents present last Thursday evening at St. Bartholomew Primary School in Parish Land, Christ Church, for one of the first town hall meetings, on the BSSEE, also known as the Common Entrance Examination.

???Results have shown that over the last 10 years, most of the 10-year olds have continued to excel. When you check the results, you would find that most of the 10-year olds who wrote the exam early, at least one or two of them every year, have been Barbados Scholars???

???And, one or two of them have not only completed secondary school, but have completed sometimes with eight or nine CXCs. They have completed the CAPE and done pretty well. Usually, they get Grade Ones. So, yes, in the case of the 10-year olds, most of them continue to excel. There are one or two who [may] fall by the wayside, but we can???t be perfect,??? said Mr. Price, who has responsibility for Examinations in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.

The senior official acknowledged that the BSSEE was not about failing or passing, but rather about ???moving over 3,000 students from 92 primary schools to 22 secondary schools??? across the island. He added that whether a child scored 100% or zero, he or she would still be ???moved along???.

Parents were told that three categories of students wrote the exam on a yearly basis. These comprised students who will be 11 years by August 31 of the given year; students who would have deferred the exam from the previous year, and early sitters, who may be 10 years old and in the opinion of the parent and teacher, their work show that they are capable.

A fourth category, Mr. Price pointed out, did not write the exam because they were ???exempted???. These children, he said were ???in the minority??? and depended on the assessment of a psychologist. According to him, they may be operating at the level of a five-year old and because they may either be mentally or physically challenged, may endure ???more stress??? on the exam day.

Parents were, therefore, cautioned that if, like the teacher, they were aware of the child???s challenges, they should not put him or her through the stress of the Common Entrance Examination.


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