The results of this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) are in, and while this island’s top performers, as well as parents and guardians, are currently jumping for joy, Minister of Education Ronald Jones is flagging a decline in the overall performance of students in the Mathematics paper.
Addressing a news conference at his Constitution Road, St Michael office this morning, Jones revealed that a total of 138 students scored less than 10 per cent in Maths.
“That obviously is saying to us in the Ministry, that there are some children, who still should not do the exam,” Jones said, while urging parents and guardians to take advantage of deferrals in cases where they felt their children were not ready to sit the exam.
“Normally if you want to be exempted from the exam, you have to score 10 to 20 in the two succeeding years leading up to Class four to be deferred . . . and it should be utilized, because the child going forward and scoring zero would suggest that there are issues beyond the simply academic issues related to that child,” Jones said, while stressing that “the troubling experience of that child knowing that they scored zero should be eliminated as much as possible”.
In light of this year’s results, Jones said his ministry was looking at the whole question of Mathematics teaching, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI).
“So we are going to redouble our efforts to ensure the various competencies and skills are embedded in our teachers, so that they can pass on what they know to the students,” he said.
The Minister of Education also said the matter would be tackled shortly by officials within his Ministry with a view to ensuring that teachers were re-equipped to offer instruction in Mathematics, which declined by 7.1 points from a national average of 57.6 last year to 50.47 this year.
Jones noted that for the males, the average performance in Maths was 47.02, which is below the established mean, while the performance of females declined by seven per cent.
Jones said his Ministry was trying to reverse the current negative trend.
He however noted that 11 students were able to achieve between 100 and 99 in Maths, compared to 17 students who scored between 99 and 97 in English.
Overall, the majority of this year’s top 10 performers – seven – came from private primary schools.
The list comprises seven girls and three boys, most of whom will be going to either Harrison College or Queen’s College come September.
They are Jasmine Simmons of St Angela’s, who scored 249.12 A to tie with Jemma Evelyn of St Winifred’s.
Both have been allocated places at Harrison College.
The others are Zoe Stormes, also of St Winifred’s with 248.69A, [Queen’s College]; Danielle Treasure of St Gabriel’s with 248.43 A [The St Michael School]; Daunte Small of Arthur Smith Primary with 247.43B [Harrison College]; Micah Williams of People’s Cathedral with 247.31A [Harrison College]; Kimani Archer of Blackman & Gollop with 247.18A [Queen’s College]; Aza Dunwoody of St Paul’s with 246.87A [Harrison College]; Rock Christian Primary School’s Naleena Gaskin with 246.62A [Queen’s College]; and Nelson Munroe of Trinity Christian Primary with 246.62 [Queen’s College]. firstname.lastname@example.org