GLEANER: On November 1, Education Minister Ruel Reid used the post-Cabinet media briefing to provide an update on the system for the transition towards the new assessment of students at the primary level ­ the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).

Here are the lightly edited details:

 

What is PEP?

PEP will provide a profile of where the student is academically, the student’s strengths and weaknesses, and their readiness for grade seven.

 

PEP will assess students’ knowledge in addition to placing increased emphasis on assessing students’ skills of communication, critical thinking and creativity.

 

As the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information seeks to have students staying in school longer (up to grade 13), the provisions of PEP is a forward-thinking approach that will make students better prepared for the workforce. Students will be exposed from an early age to critical thinking.

 

The endgame is that everyone will graduate with the equivalent of an associate degree at the end of grade 13. PEP’s assessment process will measure students’ performance through demonstration of 21st-century skills aligned to the National Standard Curriculum and generate an academic profile of each student.

 

Advantages of PEP

- More accurate evidence-based information in terms of students’ performance will be available.

 

- Students’ completion of the curriculum and their progress will be monitored more regularly.

 

- More opportunities will be provided for teachers to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and therefore plan lessons to meet the specific needs of students.

 

- Students will become aware of their progress and teachers will work with students to improve their learning.

 

What are the components of PEP?

PEP consists of three key components: a Performance Task (PT), an Ability Test (AT) and a Curriculum-Based Test (CBT):

 

The Performance Task consists of real-world scenarios that will require students to apply their knowledge and skills from the following subject areas: mathematics, science, language arts, and social studies. The PT will be administered in grades four, five and six. It will be administered within the student’s classroom by their teacher.

 

The Ability Test requires students to read analytically and use quantitative reasoning skills in responding to items. Ability tests generally assess students’ aptitude in areas of numeracy, verbal and non-verbal ability, and abstract-thinking ability.

 

The Curriculum-Based Test will be curriculum based and will assess grade-six content only in the areas of mathematics, science, social studies and language arts. This test will consist of multiple-choice items along with other item types. The CBT will be administered in April.

 

Suggested weighting

Ability Test ­ 30%

 

CBT and Performance Tasks ­ 70%

 

Implementation Plan 

PEP will be implemented on a phased basis.

 

Students who are currently in grade five will be the first PEP cohort. They will do only the Grade six components in 2019

 

Students who are currently in grade three will be the first cohort that will have a complete profile generated ­ that is, they will do the grade four PT in 2019, grade five PT in 2020 and all grade-six components (PT, CBT and AT) in 2021

 

Students who are currently in grade-four will do their grade-five Performance Task in 2019 and in 2020 they will do the grade-six components.

 

Pre-administrative actions

In an effort to prepare the system for the roll-out of this new assessment, a number of activities will take place during this school year to prepare students, teachers and parents to allow for a smooth implementation.

 

We currently have assessment coordinators in the field.

 

 

Schedule FOR administrative activities and training

 

Training of assessment coordinators ­ October 24-November 1

 

Publication of sample item types­ 2nd week in November

 

Town hall meetings ­ November 13-January 31, 2018

 

Training of grade-five teachers on assessing the 21st-century learner­ November 6-24, 2017

 

Cognitive labs and small scale trials ­ December 4-20, 2017

 

Training for grades four and five teachers in administering the Performance Task ­ February 1-23, 2018

 

Training for grade-six teachers on assessing the 21st-century learner ­ May 1-11, 2018

 

National pilot of Performance Tasks for grade four ­ June 18 - 22, 2018

 

National pilot of Performance Tasks for grade five ­ June 4-7, 2018

 

Training of grades four and five teachers in interpreting and scoring rubric ­ July 2018

 

Training of grade-six teachers in administering the Performance Task ­ July/August 2018 

 

CAPTION: Ruel Reid (right), minister of education, greets students of Half-Way Tree Primary School while principal Carol O'Connor-Clarke looks on during his visit to the school recently.