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Primary School students hope to do well in Common Entrance Exams

Primary School students hope to do well in Common Entrance Exams



by Jamila Soso-Vincent

Across the nation today, there is no doubt a wave of bitten fingernails, creased foreheads and heart palpitations, as 2,339 primary school students sit the Common Entrance Examination at 19 centres.{{more}} But this wave of worry doesn’t seem to be afflicting the students – it’s their parents!

The number of registered candidates this year is down from the 2008 figure of 2,522. However, officials in the Ministry of Education are expecting a similar success rate. Elizabeth Walker, Education Officer / Assessment and Evaluation, confided that they are “hoping that it increases!”

Of the 1,318 boys who sat the exam last year, 46.2 per cent met the acceptable standard; and of the 1,204 girls, 61.46 per cent achieved the same. This gave an overall success rate of 53.8 per cent.

Between April 20 and May 8th, 2009, all Grade 6 students completed their Reading and Composition examinations, and, today are taking Mathematics, English and General Paper (all multiple choice).

SEARCHLIGHT rounded up some Grade Six students from a few primary schools, and they were only too delighted to talk about this next big step in their lives, and how they have been preparing for it.

For the most part, the students were very optimistic about their outcomes, and seemed highly amused that some of their parents are more anxious than they.

Eleven-year-old Sherwin Peters of the Kingstown Preparatory School (KPS) was the epitome of cool as he listed some of the pastime activities that he had to curtail in preparation for his exams. Like many others, he had to cut back on playing videogames, watching television, playing after school and using his computer. However, he seemed not to mind the sacrifices. “I’m confident I will do well. I’ve been studying very hard,” the budding scientist remarked.

Another KPS student, ten-year-old Tami Williams, was not worried in the least about the exams. As the reigning Junior Calypso Monarch, she is well used to performing under pressure, and was actually looking forward to it. “I’m very excited,” she smiled. Displaying an effervescence that could rival even champagne, Tami was specific about her career interest – Business Management, specializing in Electronic Media Communications.

Madison Corea, also a student of the KPS, was another cool customer. It’s somewhat of a tradition for the women in her family to attend the Girls’ High School, so, naturally, that’s the school she’s aiming for. “It’s one of the top secondary schools here, so that’s where I want to go.” The 12-year-old also has ambitions of pursuing a career in Law.

On the other side of town, Jamali Jarvis, of Lodge Village Government School, was quietly optimistic about the results of his examinations. Jamali admitted that he found the Reading and Composition components to be relatively easy – not surprising seeing that he is a regular contributor to YUTE magazine, with his “Legend of Teradon” series. However, he was a bit nervous about the other subjects. “I’ve never done something like this before, but I think I’m prepared.” Once today is done and dusted, he will surely be focusing on his summer holidays in Canada.

A lively bunch of students from the St. Mary’s Roman Catholic School were also looking forward to their examinations, especially Mathematics – something they unanimously agreed on. No doubt inspired by their favourite teacher Mr. Phillip Farrell.

Eleven-year-old Jeremiah Sandy confessed that he was slightly nervous but he has high hopes that he will gain a grade that guarantees him a spot at the St. Vincent Grammar School (SVGS). Ten-year-old Shamarr Morgan also hopes for a place at the SVGS, and, of course, all the girls want to attend the Girls’ High School.

With the hullabaloo that surrounds the Common Entrance Examination, many feel that the procedure is outdated and has no real relevance in today’s society. However, Education Officer Elizabeth Walker completely disagrees. “We see it as another form of assessment… another benchmark that we’re gathering information from.”

Walker explained that the students’ results help to show how they are performing in relation to the curriculum being taught, and whether or not new strategies need to be implemented. And, of course, it assists with placement into Secondary Schools.

So, as pencils are being sharpened and eyes check the clock, SEARCHLIGHT wishes all students the very best of luck!