Education — 11 June 2013 — by Miriam Longsworth
PSE 2013: English and Math results not so good

The results for the 2013 Primary School Examinations (PSE) are out, and the number of overall passes is sufficiently within the average range. However, the English and Math sections of the exams were considerably below expectation.

According to the Ministry of Education, 7,359 students sat the PSE this year – a 5.2 percent increase in the number of candidates registered for the 2012 exams.

For the Math section, 39 percent of the students made grade C or better and 45 percent made grade E. Only 15 percent made grade A.

In English, 47 percent made grade C or better and 28 percent made grade D. Only four percent made grade A, while 15 percent made grade B.

The overall performance in Social Studies and Science was quite encouraging, with 70 percent and 79 percent respectively making grade C or better.

We spoke to personnel from the Examinations Council today, Monday, and we were told that there will be a press conference on Thursday, June 13, at which the results of the PSE will be discussed.

The Ministry of Education issued a press release late Friday, June 7, with the results of the exams. Within the release, the Ministry stated that the results of the examinations will be used to improve learning and teaching in the classroom and that “the result of the PSE was never intended to be used to cast blame and point fingers, or attempt to shame teachers, schools and other individuals and groups intimately involved in the teaching learning process in our system. It is also the responsibility of the managements and individual schools to analyze their own school results to determine areas of strengths and weaknesses and to plan and implement interventions to address the areas of weakness. This must be done with a sense of collective responsibility,” the release added.

Of the 26 top performers in this year’s PSE exams, 13 were from the Belize District, nine from Cayo, one from Stann Creek, one from Orange Walk, one from Corozal and one from Toledo. Siyun Ye of Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning in Belize City made the highest score in the country.

The principal at Bernice Yorke, Sherry Ali, told us that she was pleasantly surprised when she found out how well her students performed and that the school’s top student is also the country’s top student.

“I knew they would have done well because they were a determined group of children,” she said. “It’s the children that deserve the praise and reward because they really worked hard. All the teachers that have contributed and the parents as well; it’s not only teacher and child who are factors in the process,” Ali also noted.

Ali said the students weren’t given any outside extra classes to prepare for the exams but they were encouraged to work together to improve in the different subject areas.

“We encourage peer helping; we don’t want them to challenge each other, we want them to help one another,” she explained. “They work together as a group and if anybody is weak, we try to build them up and give as much assistance needed. Our students to my knowledge, nobody does any extra classes outside. It’s what we do at school and we usually have Saturday classes, not consecutively, and we have classes in the afternoon, and our regular daily classes,” said Ali.

Ali said that they make sure that the curriculum is completed in order for the students to master all the necessary skills. She added that their students are prepared from early childhood and she believes that that start and the gradual learning they do throughout the years in each class, prepares them well for what they do in standard six.

“It begins at pre-school, the most important foundation for children to have,” she said. “We believe that early childhood education is the most important factor in a child’s life. And from there they can be well prepared to take on the primary level.”

All 10 Bernice Yorke students that sat the exam scored grade A. Two students from the school made it in the top 25 category.

Ye has been a student at Bernice Yorke since pre-school and has excelled in her coursework during all her years at the institution.

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