Excitement as parents welcome PEP results

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, June 22, 2019

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WHEN Shellian Sullivan saw how stressed parents whose children were sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) were, she prayed for an alternative.

Sullivan believes her prayers were answered when the Ministry of Education announced that the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) would replace the 19-year GSAT exam in the 2017/2018 academic year. It was later rescheduled to the 2018/2019 academic year.

“When I heard that she was going to be doing the PEP I felt that God answered my prayers because, based on what I saw persons going through with GSAT, I didn't want her to go through that,” the Half-Way-Tree Primary School parent told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Her daughter, Niah Blake, secured a spot at The Queen's School in Kingston.

“I saw parents having palpitation over GSAT and I thought this thing was so pressuring. So I was saying to myself, Oh my God, I wonder if God heard my prayers and so from the initial stage I said I like the PEP,” she continued.

“My former co-worker is asthmatic and on the day of GSAT she had an attack and they said it was palpitation. From the get-go I was just always saying I was glad she was going to do the PEP, even though the preparation for her wasn't coming up from grade three and four,” she explained.

Noting that she had always secretly supported PEP, the mother said, “It is a better method.”

Yesterday afternoon, when the O bserver visited some schools in the Corporate Area, parents waited outside the gates with bated breath for their children's results.

Some of them were too anxious to speak with the Observer.

As the bell rang at Half-Way-Tree Primary some parents rushed to the upper floor that houses grade six students, while some checked for their children's name on the notice board.

Trimane Hemmings was among the parents who made their way upstairs.

Even though Hemmings's son, Jordan Easington, did not get his first choice but secured a spot at Excelsior High School in Kingston, she is now breathing a sigh of relief.

“… I panicked when I heard that there will no longer be GSAT. I honestly panicked because this was new; it is a human thing [as] we don't really like change. I was, like, how are we going to do this especially when I saw the papers? I honestly went crazy, the teachers can tell you...,” the single mother admitted.

“I was one of the parents who was constantly calling and texting. I went as far as calling the ministry (of Education) and complained about it,” she said, adding that she believes the introduction of the exam to the grade six cohort was too soon.

Half-Way-Tree Primary School Principal Carol O'Conner Clarke told the Observer that most of her students achieved the proficiency level.

“…That is quite good and we have 10 of our students who got highly proficient, so they score 100 if we were speaking about percentage,” O'Conner Clarke said as she attempted to work out the score to find out subjects that students did extremely well in.

The principal said 27 per cent of the 165 received highly proficient in language arts. Noting that four students gained full marks in mental ability, she said the students have done well.

Meanwhile, St Richards Primary School Principal Maureen Wong said that parents were elated when they received the results yesterday.

“The majority of students got their first choice. There were screams of joy. There was such exuberance. They camped out as early as 10 o'clock waiting and each time they anxiously said 'Mrs Wong you got it yet?' I said no we are waiting on press conference to finish and as soon as they heard I got the result their anxiety level went up by 100 per cent. When the teachers took the students in class and the results were out the parents were elated,” the principal said.

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