The overall top performers in this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination hail from both public and private primary schools, and are both heading to Queen’s College.
Elena Bohne of St. Angela’s emerged as the top girl, scoring 98 in English and 100 in Mathematics. Her overall score was 246.41 with an ‘A’ in Composition.
The top boy was Jeremiah Browne of St. Stephens’s Primary, who scored 99 per cent in English and 98 per cent in Mathematics. His overall score was 246.13 with a ‘B’ in Composition.
As she presented her report on the exam, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, congratulated all of the students who wrote the exam, despite the challenges.
She said the 2021-2022 school year was impacted by numerous disruptions, resulting mainly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that there was an expected decline in the overall performance of students at the national level, Minister Bradshaw pointed out that the results reflected an improvement in their performance, when compared to those recorded during the National Class Four Assessment in May.
The readiness assessment provided the Ministry of Education with a greater understanding of the level that the children had reached. Minister Bradshaw credited this, along with the 11 weeks of face-to-face classes conducted during the summer break for the improved performances, and praised Class Four teachers and primary school principals for their commitment to this process.
Providing a breakdown of the exam subjects, the Education Minister reported that the national mean for Mathematics for this year stood at 55.64, a marginal decline of 2.6, when compared to that of 2020. However, she pointed out that “the truth is that our students’ performance actually improved slightly from the results of the readiness assessment”.
According to her, the 37 students gained full marks in that subject, up from 24 in 2020; while 1,292 received a grade between 70 and 100, in contrast to 1,463 last year. There was a small increase in those scoring between 30 and 69, with 1,256 students falling into that category this year, compared to 1,194 in 2020.
The number of children scoring less than 30 rose from 606 last year, to 702 this year. Minister Bradshaw, however, noted that although this increase was “small”, there was still cause for concern “especially given the loss of face-to-face time, which we will experience for the upcoming term”.
She further revealed that the analysis showed students demonstrated “average knowledge of basic mathematical concepts”, with females exhibiting a higher understanding in sections of the paper than their male counterparts.
Additionally, she reported that more than half of the students continued to be challenged in applying knowledge and skills to new situations.
Similar results were seen in the English paper, with a decline in the national mean to 66.28, when compared to 69.25 last year. However, the Education Minister pointed out that this figure represented an increase of 3.28 in performance in comparison to that of the readiness assessment.
The assessment of the 2021 BSSEE English results showed that 1,788 children received between 70 and 100 marks, in contrast to 2,090 last year. No child scored full marks in this subject this time around.
A total of 1,303 scored between 30 and 69, in comparison to 1,053 in 2020; while 245 received less than 30, an increase from the 238 recorded for last year. The females again outperformed the males in English.
According to Minister Bradshaw, these results revealed that students demonstrated “average knowledge of basic grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension concepts”. She added that more than half of the students continued to experience challenges in their use of English and their ability to comprehend the expository texts.
She stated that going forward, the Ministry, through the Education Reform Unit, would be working to enhance the education system over time, through many ways, including the modernisation of the curriculum, along with emphasis on remedial teaching and the creation of specialist schools.
The other outstanding students in the 2021 BSSEE were: Caelan Pearce of St. Stephen’s Primary – 245.66 ‘A’ ; Kiersten Weekes of the Rock Christian School – 245.15 ‘B’; Hope Hinkson of George Lamming Primary – 244.92 ‘A’; Alexander McGaw of St. Winifred’s – 244.92 ‘B’; Darya Samaroo, also of St. Winifred’s – 244.64 ‘A’; Abigail Moore of Trinity Academy – 244.64 ‘A’; Raine Olton of Good Shepherd Primary – 244.18 ‘B’; Alexa Clarke of the People’s Cathedral Primary School – 244.18 ‘B’, and Tristan Perryman of Providence Elementary School – 244.18 ‘B’.
Hope Hinkson and Alexander McGaw will be going to Harrison College, while the others will be heading to Queen’s College.