Extra time and extra lessons were key factors responsible for ensuring the successful outcome of this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE), sat by 3,086 students.
This was underscored by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney, as she revealed the results of the examination at a press briefing yesterday, at her Ministry’s headquarters, at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael.
She said: “We are all well aware that even though the 2021-2022 academic school year commenced officially on Monday, September 20, face-to-face instruction did not actually start until Monday, February 21, 2022. As a result, the Ministry, after consultation with our partners in education made the decision to delay the customary first-week-in-May administration of the examination until Tuesday, July 5, 2022.”
Emphasizing that it was a good decision, Minister McConney said: “That decision was grounded in the belief that the additional weeks of face-to-face instruction would make a marked difference in the preparation of the students who would have been severely impacted by non-traditional online delivery method of instruction. Based on the results, the decision did make a difference.”
Ms. McConney also alluded to the extra classes provided by the Ministry, two weeks prior to the administration of the exam. Explaining how this worked, she stated. “We thought to intensify and give additional time. This intensive clinic was generally well attended by students across the primary schools and they used the opportunity to gain more confidence and to obtain more extra assistance from teachers during the extra hours, and more that teachers gave after school.
“Tutorial sessions were also provided in the online setting from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., on evenings. And it wasn’t just for the academic subjects – Maths, English and Composition. We also spent some time helping the students work on their stress level because we know this time tends to be a stressful time for the students and their parents. And we actually had a session called: “Don’t Let The Stress Stress You Out” and we had some helpful strategies and we believe that that too helped to calm some of the nerves of some of the students and we hoped some of the parents as well.”
The Education Minister commended all involved in the examination, praising students for successfully writing the exam, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 environment. She also acknowledged that parents “stretched their budgets” and ensured extra lessons were afforded their children while teachers and principals put in the extra time and allowed space to be made available “to boost the students’ performances”.
Ministry officials also came in for praise for ensuring the successful administration of the exam, on July 5.