OBSERVER: THE Ministry of Education says it is set to introduce the pilot phase of the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) — the test which is to replace the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) by 2019 — next school year.

 

“Based on our schedule, next year will be the last sitting of GSAT,” said Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid yesterday.

 

“We will ensure that the children are very prepared and there has to be proper communication with the teachers, the leadership of the schools, parents, the students themselves, so they understand exactly what the assessment requirements are, but we are far advanced with the preparations,” he said.

 

PEP will change the nature of exams for those seeking to enter high schools from relying on memory to more critical thinking skills. The test, the ministry says, has the aim of alleviating the existing challenges associated with the long distances traversed by secondary students to get to school by introducing zoning — to place students in schools closer to their homes.

 

Senator Ruel Reid said, “We still have some details to iron out as it relates to PEP, but we are scheduled to do the changeover in 2019 and we will be very deliberate to make sure that we get it right.”

 

The PEP assessment is said to be closely aligned to the National Standards Curriculum, as it is set to focus more on higher-order thinking, so the students will get an opportunity to review, to synthesise, to evaluate, and to apply the knowledge that they would have learnt during the period.

 

The areas of assessment for the PEP test will, for the most part, remain the same as GSAT — which will see students being tested in areas of mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, and mental ability.

 

GSAT is the national exam that sees children transitioning to high school. It features tests based on mathematics, social studies, science, language arts, and communication task. The exam is generally sat in March and the results released by June. GSAT replaced the Common Entrance Examination in 1999.

 

CAPTION: Senator the Honourable Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information