Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination results announcement with Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw – September 6, 2021. (PMO)

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw is strongly recommending that teachers conduct diagnostic testing of their students at the start of the school term later this month.

The assessments, she added, were not only about teaching content, but ensuring that all students understand the concepts as they are being taught in the classroom. 

The Education Chief also pointed out that assessments were not limited to tests alone, but may also take the form of authentic, continuous and other forms of assessments.

Therefore, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw said the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training would be utilising various assessment instruments such as portfolios and reflection journals among others, to allow education officials to get a “full understanding of where our students are”.

Speaking during a televised press conference to announce the results for this year’s common entrance (11-Plus) Examination at Ilaro Court today, Dr Archer-Bradshaw reasoned that in an environment where it was no longer business as usual, teachers could not teach in a “vacuum, or with the information that they have collected in the two weeks”.

“As such, the Ministry of Education will provide pertinent information on each child to the secondary schools. We will do this by means of student profiles. We will also send reports to the secondary schools so that teachers can have a better understanding of the deficits of our children.

“We advise them also, along with the principals, to place students into groups that they can adequately address all deficits. As I said before, it’s about ensuring that we teach our students. Yes, we will teach the content, but we want to ensure that whatever we do is meaningful and relevant,” the Chief Education Officer underlined.

Regarding curriculum content, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw emphasised that educators could not teach everything on the syllabus for each term as was done in the past, pointing out that officers in the Ministry were currently reviewing the syllabuses with the view to identifying topics and concepts that were germane to the students’ functioning.

She added that this information would be shared with principals and teachers by the end of the week.

Additionally, the Chief Education mentioned the importance of remediation in light of difficulties some students were having with grasping certain concepts.

“They’re struggling with application of the concepts. And, when we consider Bloom’s Taxonomical Levels, we understand that there are some who, when it comes to evaluation and creation, are struggling in that area as well.

“I encourage teachers and parents, because [as] I said earlier, we must do it together to work to see how we can assist these students,” Dr. Archer-Bradshaw emphasised.

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