Students who sat the 2016 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) performed brilliantly in four of the five subject areas examined.
Language Arts recorded the highest average score, improving by four per cent over last year. Mathematics followed with a 1.9 per cent increase, while Social Studies and Science marginally improved by 0.4 and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
This was noted by Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, during a press conference at his National Heroes Circle offices in Downtown Kingston, today (June 14) to reveal the results of the examination.
In terms of Language Arts, which had an average score of 68.4 per cent, Mr. Reid attributed this improvement in performance to “the diverse literacy programmes in place at the primary level, due to the inclusion of Literacy Specialists since 2009”.
He pointed out that the Literacy Team has undertaken initiatives such as conducting regional workshops for Grade Six teachers and students; assisted teachers in planning Literacy/Language Arts lessons; and disseminated GSAT Mock Language Arts tests.
“This generated enough information to assess areas of weaknesses and accordingly implement appropriate measures of intervention,” the Minister said.
Turning to Mathematics, which had an average score of 58.2 per cent, the Minister said that while this increase may not appear to be “monumental”, it is a “direct reflection of the investment that has been made in improving students’ numeracy achievement at the primary level” through the establishment of the National Comprehensive Numeracy Programme.
“Through this initiative, the National Numeracy Team has embarked on initiatives such as the development of National Mathematics Policy Guidelines, and trained and deployed Mathematics coaches at the primary level to provide professional support to teachers,” he said.
For Social Studies and Science, which had average scores of 68.9 and 69.2 per cent respectively, Mr. Reid said despite this nominal increase, “these two subjects have shown the most improvement over the past four sittings of GSAT, with an overall increase of 6.9 percentage points for Social Studies and 6.2 percentage points for Science”.
In the meantime, the Education Minister informed that there was a 2.5 per cent decline in the performance of students in Communication Task when compared to 2015.
“However, this test shows the highest average student performance at 72 per cent, reflecting the emphasis on basic literacy at the primary level. In fact, only 16 per cent of the students had averages of below 50 per cent for Communication Task, which was the overall best performance of all subjects,” he said.
A total of 38,579 students, including 60 private candidates, sat GSAT on March 17 and 18 this year.
Some 40,354 students – 19,682 males and 20,672 females – were registered. Of the number registered, 1,778 were absent from the examinations.
Source: Jamaica Information Service