February 21, 2011
Ninety-eight of the 137 students who sat the 2010 Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) at Crescent Primary School in Spanish Town, St Catherine, were placed at traditional high schools, Tatianna Harrison, now donning the Immaculate High uniform, boasted 93 per cent to top the averages at the primary school. With this at the forefront of her mind, Crescent’s acting principal, Avolda Baghaloo, is upbeat about this year’s exam, scheduled for March 24 and 25.
“I am expecting great things. I think we could have some government scholarships this year, and we would have most of our students going off to traditional high schools,” Baghaloo told The Gleaner. “I think we can achieve that. We are working towards achieving that goal, and our teachers are dedicated and hard working.”
The acting principal is not the only one who is optimistic. Eleven-year-old Tia Osbourne has her eyes set on a place at St Jago High School. “I’m reading more, reviewing everything that has been taught, and doing all the activities in the Children’s Own,” said the aspiring medical scientist. Like Osbourne, Trevor Guyah also wants to be among the first-formers at the Spanish Town-based school in September. “I was nervous, but I am getting over it. I do have to follow my dream to pass the GSAT to become a bone doctor,” the 12-year-old said with a smile. With Immaculate etched in her mind, a confident 11-year-old Codedra Wedderburn said she gets excited when she hears the word GSAT. “I’m overwhelmed. I have a special timetable for studying. I also use GoGSAT. When I go online I get exercises to do and also see what the exam is like from past papers,” she said.
It’s revision time, and the acting principal said while all subjects are being revised, special emphasis is being placed on mathematics and language arts. For students who still do not have all their textbooks, she said measures had been implemented to facilitate them. What she bemoans, however, is the students who have been compelled to forego extra lessons. “Our teachers here, after dismissal, volunteer to stay back one extra hour to help these students for free. However, some of our parents do not allow them to stay back because of the ‘volatile’ areas that they have to go into,” she noted. Nevertheless, Icylyn Kelly and Rose Evans, entrusted with the task of working with the 93 students sitting the exam, continue their rigorous preparations. “They have to buy the Children’s Own. We use it in class, they do homework from it … . They are getting there, and by the time the exam comes around, I think they’ll be ready,” Evans explained. Kelly added that technological inputs such as the Encarta Dictionary and GoGSAT are integral to the students’ preparation. The GoGSAT is sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development.