Fri | Apr 3, 2020

Updated | PEP problem-free, Samuda declares - 40,000 sit ability test today

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:23 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Karl Samuda, minister with portfolio responsibility for the ministry of education, youth and information, has declared the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) free of the problems that bedevilled its first official sitting last year.

“All the kinks have been worked out and we are on time to deliver this exam. All we hope for now is that students will perform at their very best,” Samuda said.

Today, approximately 40,000 of students will sit the ability test – designed to gauge their ability to comprehend logically. The curriculum-based test will be done over two days on April 23 and 24.

“The ability test is the one that students really can’t prepare for; it is to simply test their ability to reason and to logically deduce from what is asked,” he said.

“And what I understand is that in that test, there is no right or wrong answers, it’s the best answers that we will be looking for. It is the one that I am looking out for because it gives us an understanding of the child’s capacity to absorb learning.”

Grade six students sat mathematics, language arts, and science in last year’s maiden exams.

Samuda, who was handed the responsibility for the education ministry after the resignation of government senator Ruel Reid last year, noted in an interview with The Gleaner that he was hopeful of improved outcomes over those in 2019.

He said work done at the ministry level indicated that all was in place.

However, Owen Speid, president of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), is not convinced.

“The big difference is the people who will be invigilating the exam. What I know is that they will be using the third- and fourth-year student teachers from the various teachers’ colleges, and I am not too sure that will work.

“I am not pouring cold water on that plan. I am prepared to wait and see what happens, but I really am not sure adequate training had taken place with these people regarding the management of children on exam day,” he said.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story had the wrong dates for the PEP curriculum-based test. The correct dates are April 23 and 24.