The Grade Six National Assessment is scheduled for Tuesday July 7 2020.
The exam is an evaluation that the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training, and National Excellence uses annually as a guideline to place students in the secondary school system.
The assessment is normally held on the last Thursday and Friday in May, and over the two days, students are tested in four main subjects, namely Language-Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences.
However, due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry made many adjustments to the 2020 Grade Six National Assessment to ensure the safety of staff and students.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training, and National Excellence, Honourable Octavia Alfred says she believes that the Grade six students are ready to sit the exams.
“So we encourage the students the students who getting ready for the grade six national assessment. We assure you that it will be alright. You are not in this alone. Our grade six should be fine and ready to sit their exams because we have done what we were supposed to do before covid-19,” Honourable Alfred stated.
Senior Education Officer responsible for Curriculum, Measurement, and Evaluation, Mr. Robert Guiste explained that this year the exams have been reduced.
“Covid-19 has created a lot of changes in our education system and the Grade Six National Assessment (G6NA) was no exception to those changes. This year we will be observing a few major changes to the national assessment. The G6NA will be conducted on the 7th of July 2020 and the exams will run between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. but we are hoping that we will end by 1:00,” Mr. Guiste stated.
Mr. Guiste noted that no more than twelve people will be in a room during the exams to facilitate social distancing.
“In an effort to lessen the amount of travelling undertaken by the students, the exams will be conducted on one day only. We will be observing some very strict protocols for social distancing, health and wellbeing. The exams will be administered in such a manner that no more than students and two supervisors will be in a room at any given time. The number will be adjusted based on the size of the rooms being used. This is because some of the rooms will be smaller than others and will not be able to accommodate ten students with two supervisors while recognizing the six feet social distancing requirement, we will have less students in that room,” he explained.
Another major adjustment announced was that students will only be required to complete three exams instead of the normal four.
The length of the exam and the time allocated to each exam has also been revised.
“This year we will have a modified structure of the exams and instead of the four papers being administered we will have only three papers during that day. We will have the Language Arts, Mathematics and a General Paper consisting of Social Sciences and Science and Technology. The number of items on each paper will be reduced and the time for each paper will also be adjusted. The Language Arts has been reduced from 60 questions to 40 questions on the paper one followed by the composition; Mathematics from 60 to 40, and 25 Social Sciences questions and 25 Science and Technology questions to make up 50 on the General Paper,” Guiste explained.
Students will now be allowed to write exams at their own school, which has increased the number of centers that will be used to host the exams.
“The administration of the exams this year will take place at each school, so many students will not have to move to different schools. In the past, we used a maximum of about 65 centers. This year because we want to prevent the students from moving so much, every student will be allowed to write the exam at their school. This year we will be suing a total of about 108 centers and we will require 216 supervisors.
Mr. Guiste noted that if parents wish to have their children sit the exams at the primary school closest to them to reduce traveling, they must notify their principal before June 19 so that the necessary measures can be put in place to facilitate the students.
He then explained that precautionary health measures will be conducted to ensure the safety of the student teachers and the exam facilitators. Centers will be properly cleaned and sanitized before the exams.
“Temperature screening will occur the morning of the exam. We will have the electronic thermometers where students’ temperatures will be taken. We will be collaborating with the Ministry of Health on this one, and we have been communicating with them even before we decided to host the G6NA,” he noted.
Mr. Guiste further added that the students will be encouraged and allowed practice proper hygiene etiquette before during and after the exam.
“We expect students and everyone involved in the exams that coughing and sneezing must be done in a tissue or a flexed elbow and all tissue must be disposed of in a bin and those will be provided by the school. Hand washing will be encouraged and will be done before, between and after the each exam. Students are encouraged to bring along a personal bag containing hand tissue, hand sanitizers or alcohol. In addition to that, the Ministry of Education has already secured rubbing alcohol, masks, bins, and sanitizers, which will be distributed to the school prior to the exam,” Mr. Guiste further added.
A contact list will be available at every school in the case of an emergency.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence Chandler Hyacinth commended the teachers for their hard work during the pandemic to get students ready for the exams.
“While the Ministry of Education encouraged and supported the use of e-learning, for our students, student were also provided with home based learning activities. Teachers prepared worksheets, reviewed pass papers which were made available to parents and students. I want to use this opportunity to say hearts off to our teacher’s who took on this initiative even if they struggled to make it work. They delivered and we are grateful for their hard work. We made videos, prepared work packages, reached out to their students, and all of this was done as part of the preparedness for the Grade Six National Assessment,” Hyacinth noted.