Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 26, 2020 (SKNIS): Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, the Honourable Shawn Richards, has stated that “in order to keep students safe, and in alignment with public health guidance and physical school closures, the decision has been taken that national assessments, specifically the components of the Test of Standards and End of Year Secondary Schools’ Common Examinations, will not be administered for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richards stated this during this address to the nation on May 25. He noted that questions continue to be raised regarding the usual assessment of students for the transitioning to secondary schools. “Students and parents have been asking specifically about Tests of Standards but national assessments consist of more than Tests of Standards,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that in recent years, the Ministry of Education, through the Curriculum Development Unit, has “administered national assessments for grades 4 and 6 in primary schools, and common exams in selected subject areas for students in forms 1 through 3 in secondary schools.”
“Ordinarily, national examination brings with it a certain level of anxiety for all stakeholders and we are mindful that children, parents, and families at large are coping with the challenges inherent with protracted physical school closure and the transition to online and virtual education,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. “Given the current education environment, we take great care to mitigate as much as possible the disadvantages which our current national context brings to bear for students.”
As a result, the decision was made not to administer the examinations for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Deputy Prime Minister Richards stated that in order to ensure that all students receive the necessary support to succeed in secondary school, “measures are being put in place to address the transition of grade six students to secondary schools.”
“The proposed approach will utilize the review of students’ academic record for grade 5 and the existing grade 6 record for Term 1 and 2 of the current academic year,” he said. “Further, a process of consultation between grade six teachers and secondary schools will be facilitated to allow for the comprehensive review of students’ performance.”
The Minister of Education stated that the method, which was recommended for the transitioning of students to secondary schools, “is consistent with best practices in education and is in full alignment with not only the Ministry of Education’s Sector Strategy Plan 2017 to 2021, but more specifically it aligns with the Curriculum Review and Enhancement process which promotes the continuous and varied assessments of students’ learning and performance.”
The Deputy Prime Minister added that most importantly, “it is deemed to be in the best interest of the students. A similar process of assessment utilizing marks from Term 1 and 2 along with teacher consultation will guide the promotion of secondary students.”