Date set for Grade 6 National Assessment exams for Dominican students

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth

Despite the issues and challenges posed by COVID-19, the stage is set for students in Dominica to sit the Grade Six National Assessment examinations.

At a press conference held by the Ministry of Education today, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth, announced that the date for the exams in Dominica is July 7, 2020.

“Today, I wish to announce that the day for the 2020 Grade Six National examination is Tuesday, July 7, 2020,” Hyacinth stated.

According to her, the advent of COVID-19 has caused the Ministry of Education to do things differently than in other years.

“One of the things that COVID-19 has forced us to rethink in the ministry of Education is how we do assessments…what assessment practices we use. I am of the view that much more has to be done to track a child’s progress throughout the system. We must engage in more and increased monitoring especially to look at how some of our schools function,” she said.

“How teachers teach; what they teach; how they assess and so, sometimes, we have questioned why it is that so much remedial has to be done at secondary schools? What is going on at our primary schools…more use of technology even if it is challenging.”

Meantime, Head of the Curriculum and Measurement Unit in the Ministry of Education, Robert Guiste, disclosed that the G-SAT exams will be held on one day unlike other years and they have put in place “strict guidelines” to protect students, teachers, and all concerned.

“Strict protocols for social distancing will be adhered to with no more than 10 students with two supervisors in the exam room. The exams will be one day only from 8 am to 2 pm in 108 centres across the country,” Guiste said.

He explained that this year, given the COVID-19 issues, the Ministry has taken a decision to allow students who so desire, to write the exams at the school closest to them to ease the burden of travel.

“Parents have until June 19, 2020, to inform the principal about that matter so that we can make the necessary adjustments to facilitate the student. There will be no hugging, no touching of students. It will be strict protocols as per the ministry of health and temperature screening will also be done,” he said.

Head of the Curriculum and Measurement Unit in the Ministry of Education, Robert Guiste

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9 Comments

  1. Nkrumah Kwame
    June 11, 2020

    Brother Guiste,
    I would wish to think that the reporter of this article did not say everythingthing you said at the press conference and I “overstand” that.
    The examinations will be held for ONE day; are the students going to be tested in all four subjects? If so, in which format(s)?
    Just seeking ” clarification”, because I don’t expect someone of your knowledge and expertise in assessment principles to place students under unnecessary stress which would indeed be present seeing that they would now be asked to do four exams in one day as compared to the usual two a day as obtained prior to Covid-19.

  2. Nkrumah Kwame
    June 11, 2020

    “Recuse” yourself from the position you currently hold.
    Nobody sends an untrained doctor to carry out operations in a hospital, and if they did, only ONE patient would be affected by this lack of training. In the case of the teacher, the “error/ mistakes” is MULTIPLIED by a minimum, in our classroom conditions, of thirty (30) due to their lack of training.
    HOTEP!

  3. Nkrumah Kwame
    June 11, 2020

    Mrs. Hyacinth,
    What nonsense are you uttering!!?? Did you think before you made those statements? I doubt you did, and IF you did then that’s a most serious INDICTMENT of yourself as Permanent Secretary.
    “The advent of Coronavirus had us thinking about our assessment methods and why there is so much remedial required at the secondary schools”.
    The virus has been with us for just about 4 months now. You are telling the tax payers of this country that the MOE never thought about assessment methods before?? Are you serious? That is something that is supposed to be done on at LEAST a termly basis
    The reason for remedial sessions in the secondary schools is because the children are not taught to LEARN, they are taught to PASS EXAMS. Thus the phenomenon of what is referred to as the “wash back” effect of examinations. Secondly, the preponderance of UNTRAINED teachers in the system. It baffles me why in the most important sphere of life: “learning” we have untrained teachers. You…

    • de Observer
      June 12, 2020

      You apparently intended to assign emphasis to this sentence: ““The advent of Coronavirus had us thinking about our assessment methods and why there is so much remedial required at the secondary schools”.” Then you wrote: “The virus has been with us for just about 4 months now. You are telling the tax payers of this country that the MOE never thought about assessment methods before??”

      Please stop being childish. On so many occasions I have heard managers say we have been thinking about the methods we employ to perform certain jobs, a euphemism for saying the current situation allowed us to rethink our strategy.

      You have made some valid points about teaching to learn, which a global problem, including programs like No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top both assessment generated. But with your apparent knowledge, you made no recommendations. At least offer some suggestions, because it would be in the best interest of our children. Be patriotic and not political.

  4. Fed up
    June 10, 2020

    I cannot understand why the Ministry is so insensitive to the plight of children. This is most absurd. How can we forget the effects of COVID 19 and why do we punish and torture children under this education. This is ridiculous. The entire education system is lacking . There is no objective assessment. We have foolishly gone into online teaching without bothering about the health of our kids. This is ridiculous. I wish PM would micromanage this because only he understands the real struggle . If he had been in charge of that Ministry of Education it would be 100 % better.

    • de Observer
      June 11, 2020

      Are you seeking to suggest that only the PM has the ability to manage any governmental protocols? You seem to be saying that the students should have been exposed to Covid-19 by allowing them to attend classes, instead of online instructions. “We have foolishly gone into online teaching without bothering about the health of our kids.” seems to represent a contradiction foolishly going into online teaching, but not concerning with the students health. Can you see what I mean?

      Now, what are the objective assessments would you recommend? I mean, if you are a parent of a student attending school, now while I understand your frustration, however, the protective mechanism put in place will protect all children.

  5. Roger Burnett
    June 10, 2020

    In terms of education, one of the positives that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic is a total re-think of how we teach, what we teach and what we are teaching for.

    It beggars belief that to assess teachers we continue to subject children to an examination that elsewhere has been discarded as being unnecessary and ineffective.

    • Primary school teacher
      June 10, 2020

      “sometimes, we have questioned why it is that so much remedial has to be done at secondary schools? What is going on at our primary schools”

      I find this statement is an insult to primary school teachers.

      Does this imply that the problem is primary school teachers? FYI What is going on at primary school is trained experienced teachers working for ‘qwace’ money.

      I see primary school teachers working under some of the harshest conditions to wave a magic wand to change students from remedial to intelligent in a system which doesn’t cater for each child’s individual need to succeed in life.

      Sometimes, we really have questioned why it is that so much remedial has to be done at secondary schools? What is going on in the offices of people who have the opportunity to bring an upgrade to this corrupt system.

      • Roger Burnett
        June 11, 2020

        I agree and would add that a child’s home environment is a major factor. Is parenting likewise assessed by the National Assessment Examination?

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