THE MINISTRY of Education has announced that the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) will be held on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, 2015. Students will sit the examinations at their own schools unless otherwise instructed by the Regional Education Officer. Schools will remain open as normal except for cases where space is a challenge.
The Ministry has also advised that Friday, January 16, 2015 is the deadline for the completion of registration of candidates to sit the GSAT this year. Students must meet the following age criteria:
- Any student who is in Grade Four or Grade Five and was born in the period January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002.
- Students born in 2001 and were granted special accommodation to sit in 2015.
- Students who were born in 2002 and have never sat the Grade Four Literacy Test are eligible to the GSAT this year, but they must submit this information along with proof of age to the Student Assessment Unit no later than January 16, 2015. This may be sent by fax to 967-4509.
- Students born after December 31, 2004 will NOT be allowed to sit the GSAT in 2015.
Regarding requests for special accommodation for students sitting the GSAT, the Ministry advises parents to submit a valid Psycho-educational Assessment report along with the GSAT Registration Form and submit these to the Student Assessment Unit by January 16, 2015. The Psycho-educational Assessment report must not exceed two years.
The Ministry of Education emphasises that students are allowed to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test only once. If parents and teachers doubt the child’s readiness, they may defer registration provided that the child would still be within the eligible age range (that is, only students born in the period January 01, 2003 to December 31, 2004). A letter must be submitted for deferral and schools should affix their stamps where possible.
Changes to Content
The Ministry of Education further advises that important changes have been made to the content and test questions for GSAT Social Studies and Science. The content that children are required to learn for Social Studies have been reduced by 25 per cent. The test questions have also been reduced from 80 to 60.
Changes to the teaching and learning of Science emphasise students gaining mastery of general concepts and basic scientific principles. This requires teachers to provide more targeted instruction to students. Chief Education Officer, Dr Grace McLean explains that the Science test is made up of 60 multiple choice questions that assess content from grades four through to six. Fifty per cent or 30 of the questions assess content from grade six; 30 per cent or 18 of the questions are drawn from content at grade five; and 20 per cent or 12 questions assess objectives in the grade four curriculum.
Dr McLean says these changes to the GSAT are intended to reduce the course work load for students while maintaining the quality and standard of the knowledge imparted to them. She points out that students must have attained mastery on the Grade Four Literacy Test to become eligible to sit the GSAT.