Education Minister, Ronald Jones. (FP)

An analysis of students’ performance in Mathematics in this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) showed that the National Mean was 55.4% as opposed to 58.72% in 2012.

This was revealed in a press conference today as Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, analysed the 2013 Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination.

Noting that this represented "a small almost insignificant decline", he said that with respect to gender, there was a marginal decline too. He added that the overall performance of females in 2013 was 59.1% as opposed to 62.1% in 2012 and for males 52% as opposed to 55.5% in 2012.

Acknowledging that the Ministry was on a continuous quest for improvement in the education system, Mr. Jones said: "We have to continue, as we have articulated over several years, our push at improving the overall performance of Maths in our country and that will continue." He further noted that this would happen under the guidance of the Chief Education Officer and other officials with necessary interventions to achieve an upward trajectory.

??"We would have to look as well at how it is delivered to our students and their acceptance of how it is taught. We are looking at output and outcomes in relation to Mathematics teaching. We know that part of the emphasis of the Ministry, is that since we have now under our remit science and technology and innovation.

??"We have to really place greater emphasis and particularly since the national development of gender is heavily focused in that area. We have to have our students more ready and able to handle Mathematics [and] Sciences generally but at the Primary School level Mathematics as a focus," he said.

Mr. Jones revealed that his Ministry was also paying attention to the teaching of Science and Social studies at the level of the primary schools and noted that it was for this reason emphasis was on the national assessment in Science and Social Studies in the Class 3’s.

As opposed to last year, where 30 students scored 100% in Mathematics, only one student attained full marks.?? Assessing this result, the Education Minister said: "Last year, 30 students scored 100%, 19 males and 11 females.?? We will have to look at the paper more intensely to see if there was a slightly higher difficulty in it this year as opposed to last year. So far our review showed not that there was a higher level of difficulty but that students have to really engage their minds to what the questions are asking and to answer."

The top ten students in Mathematics came from St. Winifred’s, West Terrace, St. Gabriel’s, Wilkie Cumberbatch, Wills, Trinity, St. Judes’ and the Rock Christian.?? The top performer in Mathematics was Jaren Worme of St. Winifred’s.

He further noted that there were significant improvements in the 70 -79?? band as well as the 80-89?? band but lamented that there were still too many students scoring between zero to 29 this year (i.e. under 30) like last year.

The students scoring 20 to 29 in Mathematics comprised 253 males as opposed to 169 females; in the 80-89 there were 250 males and 275 females; while in the 90 -99 band there were 167 males and 177 females.

Stating that there was much to be done at the lower level, Mr. Jones stressed: "In the lower end of the scale more boys [are] underperforming than females and we have to work through that particular statistic."

Three thousand, eight hundred and forty students took the May 7th examination, as opposed to 3,970 in 2012. This comprised 2,000 males and 1,840 females.


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