MORE than 18,000 Standard Five pupils nationwide participated in the first major part of the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) on Thursday.
A release from the Education Ministry on Thursday evening stated, "All education districts have reported that the process was smooth and without incident."
The creative writing assessment was done on Thursday. The first practice assessment took place last December.
The creative writing component will contribute 20 per cent of the overall SEA mark.
Pupils will be given ten per cent for the 90-minute assessment, and ten per cent for work done during the school term, where the pupils' five best creative writing pieces will be marked for that ten per cent.
Lynsley Doodhai, president of the National Primary Schools Principals' Association, said there were no glitches in Thursday's proceedings.
"The exam, as far as I am aware, went smoothly. Teachers would have performed the tasks required to ensure there were no glitches in the continuous based assessment," he said.
Doodhai said the only concern was the deadline for the submission of marks from the course work being changed to March 22. He said the marks were originally to be submitted by May, but this week the ministry informed schools, via e-mail, the marks were to be submitted next Friday.
He said, "It has shortened the process by at least one and a half months and it will have an impact on the final marks of the children."
Peter Wilson, general-secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' Association (TTUTA), said even though TTUTA was in support of the CAC, the manner in which it was implemented was "rushed, reckless and ill-planned".
He said there were no major reports from Thursday, but "the ministry should suspend the programme until it gets all the criteria in place before they continue, so that we can have a proper system".
Pupils will write the language arts and mathematics paper of the SEA on May 9.