The Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination may not be the best approach for placing students into secondary schools in Tobago, suggested Minority member Farley Augustine.
Augustine, a teacher, and who is also the Representative for Parlatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/ Speyside, speaking at the Minority Council’s media briefing at James Park on Tuesday, said students’ performance in the exam in Tobago must be measured against national scores.
“As a matter of best practice in education, the SEA exam is probably not the best approach for placing students into secondary schools. It is the best approach that we use nationally at this time and so one of the questions that we have to ask ourselves at this time as an island is, are we performing as well on this national exam as we can, given the set standards being used by all schools nationally,” he said.
While information on students who have placed in the top twenty in the exam on the island has been made public but no details have as yet been made available on how many may have scored 30 per cent or less, Augustine said the Minority Council would be examining such data to compare Tobago’s performance against national scores.
“We have not seen all the data, this data (on Tobago SEA scores) will reflect not just raw scores, but it would reflect how we would have done as an island and as an education district when compared to the other education districts in Trinidad, that is the kind of analysis that we would be doing, and we ought to do,” he said.
Augustine also commended students who did well in the exam, as well as parents, teachers and the communities that supported them. He also noted positive results from schools in his area.
“This year, we have no repeaters and my schools span from Castara, Parlatuvier, L’Anse Fourmi Methodist, Charlotteville SDA, Charlotteville Methodist, Speyside Anglican and, of course, I control part of Delaford, and there are two schools in Delaford - Delaford RC and Delaford AC - and we have no repeaters this year,” he said.
Augustine also said the Minority Council would be looking at intervention strategies that might be needed in Tobago east to improve performance by students.
“It is no secret that the schools in the rural part of Tobago don’t do as well as the urban areas and so we are effectively commissioning a study into that, because we want to figure out why that is so and what the reasons are for that,” he said.