Lack of Reading May be Cause for Boys’ Poor Performance at National Assessment

The Ministry of Education is reporting that while results of the 2012 Grade Six National Assessment (G6NA) results were “satisfactory” there continues to be concern about the implications of the “ack of reading among some students. Education Minister Hon. Peter Saint Jean believes this may have contributed to the poor performance of some students especially boys at this year’s examinations.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development officially released the results of the G6NA at a press conference on Monday June 25th.

The Education Minister explained that of the 1,191 (601 boys and 590 girls) students who sat the examinations, there continue to be a low level of performance among a small segment of the male students.

“The biggest concern for me as Minister is the fact that we continue to see low level of performance among a small percentage of the boys. Just about 10% of our boys still obtain grades that are below average and that is a serious concern for us at the Ministry of Education, because when compared to the girls we see that the females are out performing their male counterparts.”

The minister is suggesting that more effort be placed on students’ ability to grasp reading skills.

“The results of the G6NA seem to indicate that it has to do a whole lot with the performance in reading and it says that’s reading is key to the success of any student. Students who read well after three years of primary school they do well at the Grade 6 National Assessment, they continue to do well at Secondary and at the College level. Students whose reading is below average after three years we notice that they are doing poorly”.

The Education Minister is encouraging parents to play a more critical role in ensuring that children are exposed to reading from a very early age.

“We want to say that parents inclusive of fathers must encourage students to read from the earliest levels. Read to your children; allow them to read to you, work with the children if they are to achieve success”.

Meantime the Ministry of Education’s curriculum unit is reporting that reading levels of primary school students as measured by the grade two national assessment have improved in recent years.

Senior Education Officer at the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Unit Nicholas Goldberg says this trend is encouraging and will ultimately see an improvement of student’s performance at the grade six national assessments.

“Reading levels as measured by the G2 NA have improved from around 70% reading at or above grade level in 2007 to 82% in 2012. The numbers who are reading poorly have reduced year after year after year”.

Goldberg says there is a strong correlation between the G2NA reading levels and G6NA performance. “With the reducing numbers of students reading poorly this will no doubt ultimately reduce the numbers of students getting low grades at the grade six”.

Three students of St Martin School students emerged among the top five performers in the 2012 Grade 6 National Assessment exams. The five identified by the Ministry of Education are Selena Pacquette , Kerene Williams and Kelma Rolle of St Martin’s Primary, Omondi  McIntyre of the Pioneer Preparatory school, and Ke-Sean Peter of the St John’s Primary school.

The government has decided to award 95 scholarships and 126 bursaries this year. The amount allocated to scholars and bursaries for textbooks and stationery is five hundred and three hundred respectively.