The Education Ministry yesterday gave its reasons behind a decision to change the date of the Seconday Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam from May to March, effective 2019.
Education Minister Anthony Garcia last Friday announced that Cabinet decided to move the exam from the third term in May to the last week of the second term, which was usually in March.
He made the statement during a press conference at the Education Towers, Port-of-Spain.
In a press release yesterday, the Ministry said it felt the need to reiterate the reasons for the decision. It said, “In 2012, when the Continuous Assessment Component was introduced, the date for the examination was changed to the first week of May, in the third term, to facilitate the new subjects and mark scheme that would be undertaken,” the Ministry release stated.
The change of date to May annually resulted in many hindrances to the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the examination and, upon investigation, it was found that the performance of students was not measurably impacted by the change, the release stated. Other reasons include:
SEA papers would be marked during the two weeks Easter vacation period; there would be no need to temporarily close the secondary school selected as the marking centre; teachers selected as markers by Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) would not be required to be away from classes;
Earlier processing of SEA data by CXC and timely submission of results to the Ministry of Education, thus facilitating an earlier completion of the national placement exercise; possibility of an earlier date to release the SEA results to schools.
This can also facilitate an earlier start and completion of the query and transfer process; and schools can now use the third term to conduct programmes aimed at preparing standard five students for the transition to secondary school, and allow students to take part in activities they were previously excluded from such as Sports Day.