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Central schools cry foul

Friday, July 4, 2014

A quarrel is brewing between primary schools in central Trinidad and the Education Ministry over what appears to be inequitable and questionable markdowns for their students in the creative-writing segment of the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination. It came a day after the SEA results were announced on Wednesday. The top performing Chaguanas Government Primary has taken the lead in questioning the marks for their students in the CAC, a system of marking students for course work which was experimentally introduced in selected subject areas. The Ministry of Education’s aim is to replace the SEA examination, deemed highly stressful on students, with the CAC.


Richard Hosein, president of Chaguanas Government Primary’s Parent/Teachers Association, yesterday dispatched a letter to chief education officer Harrilal Seecharan requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. Hosein said moderators from the ministry took samples of the students’ creative-writing coursework and marked them. He said parents now believed the marks given by the moderators were adjusted for the SEA results. He added: “Out of the 122 students from our school who wrote the SEA, 62 went in with 50 out of 50 marks submitted by the teachers. When the SEA results came out they got 43.36 out of 50. “We want to know why such a steep markdown. It could have affected the students’ placement and their chances of making it in the top 100 SEA students.”


Hosein said Montrose Government and Longdenville Government also suffered the same fate. On the other hand, Hosein said Grant Memorial Presbyterian, of San Fernando, which produced one of the top three SEA students, got a minimal markdown. “Their students got a 48.5 average out of 50.” San Fernando TML Primary also got an average of 49.5, he said. Chaguanas Government produced the top three SEA students in 2011 and in the following years had the most students in the top 200. The T&T Guardian understands there were also similar queries in the Victoria, St Patrick and South Eastern Education district offices yesterday. Some schools on the East-West Corridor, like St Joseph TML, also questioned the “moderation” of their students’ marks in the creative-writing aspect of the exam. But other primary schools along the corridor commended the introduction of the CAC, which they said helped students to improve their overall marks.


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