Posted on

Fitzpatrick – Give CPEA a chance

Fitzpatrick – Give CPEA  a chance


The local point person in the Ministry of Education for the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) is asking the public to give the primary school leaving assessment a fair chance.{{more}}

“I want to advise the public that it is something new and we must give it a chance to work,” Clyde Fitzpatrick told SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday.

He said the CPEA, which has replaced the Common Entrance Exam, is an opportunity for weaker students to show what they are made of, by the performance of their skills.

“They have a chance to use their skills for assessment purposes, rather than a one shot exam,” Fitzpatrick said.

The experienced educator said that the CPEA, being administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), is not just an exam, but it assesses the literacies required by all pupils leaving primary school, throughout their primary school life.

The educator pointed out that the CPEA is made up of an internal component, which carries 40 per cent of their final mark, and the external, which carries 60 per cent.

“What the internal assessment does, it takes into account the work students do from grade ‘K’ come right up. They are accustomed to doing projects, writing book reports and doing portfolios; so, at this time, we are asking the teachers to give those kids a grade out of 40,” he explained.

“And they also have to practise basic ‘can-do’ skills: the basic foundation, practical skills that they have to teach and make sure that the children understand these skills.

“Then the students are doing some self assessment, they will assess each other and they are given marks for those, along with the teacher prepared tests, like their monthly tests and their end of term tests, these tests are given credence now in their 40 per cent.

According to Fitzpatrick, the CPEA is not necessarily more work for the teachers, since they should be used to preparing and issuing the work for the youngsters.

The difference, he said, is that teachers are now required to grade these exercises, and they (teachers) have been equipped with the tools to do so.

“It would be a lot of work if the foundational things are not taught in grades K to five, so it’s new and like any new thing we will have some resistance, but the teachers have bought into it and I think they are going with it,” he stated.

As this new era begins, Fitzpatrick also offered some advice for students and parents, indicating that they both have a greater role to play in the children’s education for the assessment to work effectively.

“The students must attend school. It is not a situation where you can just turn up and do the external part; you have to be present to do all of these things. For example, the project is a group project, it cannot be done at home.

“They have to be more focused, and they need to participate in their own learning.

“For parents, I’m saying we have to monitor the children doing their homework, to ensure that their children have the necessary tools for doing their work, encourage the children to correct their work, encourage their children to keep copies of their work, turn in assignments early, and the parents have to help the children get these assignments done, along with their book reports, reading the books, and things like that. Encourage them to do their homework.”

The CPEA will be used in SVG as the method of assessing the literacies required by all primary school leavers, for the first time in 2014. Chief education officer Lou-anne Gilchrist said on radio on Sunday that with the CPEA, parents will be given a more detailed report of the student’s performance rather than just the score obtained in each subject area and the position of the child, as was the case with the CEE.

She also said the method of placement of the children in secondary schools will be the same as had been used previously, with the students placing in the first 500 being assigned to the school of their choice, and the others assigned to a school close to their place of residence. (JJ)