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Ministry calls CAC practice a success despite snags

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

THE first practice assessment for the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) Creative Writing took place yesterday.

And, according to the Ministry of Education, it was a success.

However, president of the  National Primary Schools Principals' Association (NAPSPA) Lynsley Doodhai said he was not pleased that the primary school pupils sat the test, since many teachers were unaware that it was going to take place yesterday.

A press release from the Education Ministry stated that 95 per cent of assessment packages were collected and distributed for the test.

Special consideration will be  given to schools unable to collect packages. Six schools in the St Patrick Education District were unable to collect their packages due to a protest by residents who blocked the road in the area, the release stated.

Doodhai said some principals said they were not going to the Ministry of Education district offices to pick up the packages, but were told that supervisors would deliver them to the school.

He said  the class teacher was the one to make the decision to give the children the test since principals have adopted a "hands off" approach to the CAC.

On Sunday, Doodhai stated that the association received numerous complaints from principals,  who were told late Saturday evening to collect the packages for the test that they knew nothing about.

He said the only reason why some principals collected their packages was because "they were threatened and intimidated by some school supervisors".

According to a statement from NAPSPA, the marks from practice assessments will not contribute to the pupil's Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) score.

Twenty per cent of the SEA mark will be taken from assignments completed in the classroom and from a final assessment mark. The final assessment will take place on March 14, 2013.

The other practice assessment will take place on January 31, 2013.

On Monday, several principals walked out of a meeting with Education Ministry officials at Rudranath Capildeo Learning Resource Centre because "they felt their intelligence was insulted", Doodhai said.

"The Minister has refused to meet with us and the only thing we gather from that is that he cannot answer to the concerns he has received. He intends to implement CAC by decree and not consensus."

Doodhai said there still needs to be a lot of clarification about the CAC.

This month, training is expected to continue for all those involved.

Sixty-five CAC monitors, who were trained by the Caribbean Examin-ations Council (CXC), have been assigned to each educational district on a proportional basis.

An additional 56 CAC monitors are expected to be trained next week, along with 1000 on-the-job-trainees (OJTs).

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