For too long our eleven – thirteen-year olds have been subjected to a one exam format to shape their future. Common Entrance, SEA same difference.
The one ray of hope was the Continuous Assessment Component where students were assessed over a period in other subject areas such as Visual Arts, Agricultural Science and Physical Education. CAC was removed for several reasons and our children are again left with a one-shot chance. Add the Concordat in the mix and we have a continued education divide.
It is time to remove the SEA or any one exam manifestation.
A suggestion, remove the exam, introduce Continuous Assessment for Language Arts, Mathematics, Creative Writing and Social Studies using the National Examination format for Standards 3, 4 and 5 with a percentage weight of 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. These assessments can be done on the first Thursday in May. Additionally, Music, Physical Education & Dance, Drama, Visual Arts and Agricultural Science should be assessed in Standards 4 & 5 during the 2nd week of June with a percentage weight of 15 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. Teachers can be enlisted to mark these subjects during that week, where they will be reimbursed for mileage.
The Spirit of the Concordat of 1960 can be maintained through the Preservation and Character of Denominational Schools by ensuring that Principals can allocate 20 per cent of students as they see fit once they pass the CA, with the remaining 80 per cent available to the Government for placing, again based on passing the CA.
This can start Sept 2021, with the first placings being done in 2024. By 2025 SEA should be no more. This provides the time for all Units of the MOE- CPDD, DERE, SSD etc, to liaise with parents and guardians for thorough understanding.
It can be done, it is achievable…Over to you Minister Gadsby-Dolly.