Scrapping the Common Entrance exam What the people say about...
By Johann Earle
Stabroek News
April 14, 2003

Related Links: Articles on education
Letters Menu Archival Menu

This week we asked members of the public for their thoughts on the new grade assessment system being introduced into public schools by the Ministry of Education. The system will mean the phasing out of the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE) by 2007. Instead there will be exams at the level two (Preparatory B), level four (Primary Two) and level six (Primary Four) stages, the results of which will be tallied to determine placement in secondary schools.
Here were the reactions of the man/woman-in-the-street:

Diane Henry - teacher/student: `The only problem with the whole grading system is that some students donít prepare themselves during the early years. Itís during the later years when they are preparing for Common Entrance that they get motivated by the big examination. You can see it. And although it might make some children begin studying from an early age, after a while they keep studying, over and over, and they begin to feel pressured over time. But I think itís positive too, I believe it might motivate a lot of children to perform well over time.í

Dwayne Grant - tally clerk: `I donít think that it would be fair for the children of a very young age, whose minds are not fully developed. From my point of view, it should wait until these childrenís minds are developed, at a young age they may not be properly prepared. I donít think I would have been prepared at Prep B. And children donít understand the importance of education until they get older. They just think that they get sent to school because their parents donít want them in the house or because they just have to go to school. A lot of the time they donít understand the reason why they have to go to school.í

Maurice Prince - sculptor: `I think itís a good idea. A lot of children may sit the SSEE and some of them do not do well. But I think with the grade assessments they would stand a better chance of getting into secondary school. And I think it would allow you to recognise their potential early on.í

Patricia Phillips - craft teacher: `I personally donít agree with it. Some children work up to the Common Entrance where they make a big push. There are some who would be able to do a lot of work at the early stages, and there are some who canít. But I think it would encourage children to study more and do more in class from a young age, which is good because at many times you find that children go through to the secondary level but they canít cope with work. It will enhance their development but as I said before, some children develop late and it might be a bit unfair to them.í

Amanda Subryan - computer clerk: `I think that it might be a bit unfair to those children in Prep B because they have just started school and to be tested at that stage? But at the Primary 2 level I think thatís okay because itís just about that time that you begin preparing for the SSEE. And I donít think children appreciate it at an early age.í

Kamla Boodram - housewife: `I donít feel too comfortable with it, I prefer the Common Entrance, because that is all I know about since I was growing up. But I have a son who is going to be doing the level 2 in June and I see that they are trying harder at the school to get the children to improve their work. My son is doing well and I will be helping him in June.í

Sunil Singh - driver: `Itís a wise idea because it would motivate children to work from an early age. It would lead to their development so by the time they get to Primary 4, they understand everything. It is a wise idea and I believe it could elevate the standard of education in schools.í

Telitta Thomas - self-employed: `It seems like a whole lot of stress on the children. They will have regular examinations plus this grade assessment, it will put a lot of pressure on their minds. I mean the Common Entrance examination is not an everlasting examination. Some students get jittery or nervous at examination time, while they may do well on the course work all of the time. They may argue that they are focusing more on educating children from the early stages, but isnít that what they were doing all the time. I could understand if they added course work, assignments, but more examinations? I donít think that is wise. I think introducing assignments like the School Based Assessments (SBAs) CXC students have to do, would have helped to prepare them for higher learning and teach them research skills.

Marlon Fraser - mechanic: `I think itís good because a lot of children can sometimes do well during the years before they reach Primary 4. And this would ensure they get over to secondary school. When writing Common Entrance a lot of children only have one chance, if they fail that is it. But writing three separate examinations would be better. When I heard about it I thought it was a very good idea. It is better for the children, itís a new system and I think itís a good system that could lead to their development.í

Rabindra Singh - student: `I think they should keep the SSEE because some children donít perform as well as they can until they are older and the grade system would not properly cater for them. But on the positive side of it, I think it might encourage children to work harder, to study more and parents to get involved in their childrenís family habits. But other than that it would not cater for children who develop later like in the Primary 4 year.í

Site Meter