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High hopes for new primary exit exam

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

Children in Anguilla and Grenada yesterday participated in the final stage of the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA), a new assessment that is organised by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

The final stage that comprises written examinations took place one day after the children in Trinidad and Tobago wrote the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam.

At a Stakeholder Seminar for Journalists held in Barbados earlier this year, Dr Gordon Harewood, senior assistant registrar in the Examinations Development and Production Division, said it was the hope of CXC that all Caricom countries would accept CPEA.

Gordon said the CPEA "will support the movement of people and their families from one Caricom country to another for the purpose of employment," and pupils would become more educated and knowledgeable about a wider variety of subjects.

Internal assessments will consist of a project, book report, writing portfolio and practice in "can-do" skills in English, Mathematics, Science and Civics.

The external assessments will comprise three tests, containing multiple-choice items and constructed response questions in English, Mathematics and Science.

Cleveland Sam, CXC's assistant registrar of public information, said it was " rewarding when an organisation can birth a programme" and CXC was pleased with its implementation.

He said CXC has been working with both countries in past academic year, assisting them with the pilot programme.

Sam said: "We are going to be looking at how the pupils perform, how the different aspects of the assessment were completed, the areas that need improving and an analysis will done after the completion."

He said two professors from the School of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Jamaica were hired to do research on regional primary schools exit examinations. In 2010, they visited all territories speaking with parents, schools' officials and education ministries officials enquiring about what they would like to see in a regional exam.

They then submitted a report to CXC. Based on the report that included recommendations, CXC formed an internal team to formulate a project plan for CPEA's implementation, said Sam.

In March, Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh announced that, from September, pupils will be assessed during the school terms, and those marks will form a percentage of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination.

Pupils in the Fourth and Fifth Standards will be assessed.

For Fifth Standard pupils writing the exam next year, 20 per cent of the SEA mark will be taken from tests in the areas of Physical Education and Sports, Visual and Performing Arts, Morals, Values, Ethics, Etiquettes, Citizenry Development and Character Development and Agri-Science, Health and Family Life Education.

The SEA examination to be written in 2013 will be marked out of 80 per cent.

For the Standard Four pupils who will be writing the exam in 2014, an additional 20 per cent of the SEA marks will be added to the assessments so 40 per cent will be given to pupils before the SEA which will contribute to 60 per cent of the marks.

Training for teachers will be provided before September and the ministry was working alongside CXC "to provide quality assurance to this new SEA structure", Gopeesingh said.

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