KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Performance-Based Test component of the grade six Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination, which was scheduled for March 22 and 24, has been cancelled, according to the Ministry of Education.
The decision was made during an emergency meeting with members of the National Standards Curriculum/PEP Monitoring Committee held last Friday, February 11.
The Ability Test component was also postponed from its originally scheduled date of February 22 to March 24. However, the Curriculum-Based Tests (CBT) will go on as scheduled for April 27 and 28.
Education Minister Fayval Williams announced the change in the administration dates against the background of concerns raised by stakeholders in the education sector about the students’ readiness to sit exams and recommendations made at last Friday’s meeting.
During last week’s meeting, the results of a recent survey conducted by the ministry’s School Improvement & Operation Branch among principals and grade six teachers across the island were also shared.
Of 314 respondents, it was found that 73 per cent of teachers and principals did not think students were ready to sit the PEP Ability Test and 59 per cent were not in support of the test being administered on the previously scheduled date.
According to the ministry, the tests were also cancelled and postponed against the background of the current cohort of students being in and out of the physical school environment since the second term of Grade 4 when the COVID-19 pandemic caused the physical closure of schools.
The ministry acknowledged that some students may not have had full access to the curriculum in the remote environment which may have negatively affected the grasp of fundamental skills that are necessary for the application of analytical thinking that is required to successfully do the Ability Test.
It added that most, if not all, of the students are still trying to cope with the psychological demands of the pandemic whilst readjusting to the routine of in-person learning.
Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Core Curriculum, Students Assessment and Special Education Units; the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA); the Opposition’s Representative on Education; a psychometrician, as well as the Chairman of the Ecumenical Group.
Last week, Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Training Dr Angela Brown-Burke had called for an extension of the grade six PEP Ability Assessments.