2020 a watershed year for NGSA
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Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand (centre) with the top performing students at this year’s NGSA
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand (centre) with the top performing students at this year’s NGSA

— given significant improvements in English, Science and Social Studies

By Tamica Garnett

IMPROVED performances were recorded in English, Science and Social Studies, while a marginal decline was recorded in Mathematics, at the 2020 National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA), according to results released by the Ministry of Education (MoE) on Monday.
In terms of English Language, Georgetown, Regions Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), and Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice), were noted for their significant increases, while in the area of Social Studies, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) saw a massive 15.5 per cent increase, and Region Seven (Cuyuni- Mazaruni) experienced a 9.8 per cent increase in passes.

These statistics were revealed by Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson as he gave an analysis, by subject, of how pupils performed at this year’s NGSA during a MoE press conference, held at the National Centre for Education and Resource Development (NCERD) in Kingston on Monday.
Testing students in the four subject areas of Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science, the NGSA is a national examination administered to Grade Six pupils to determine their placement in a secondary school, based on scores earned.
The maximum possible attainable score at this year’s NGSA is 528 marks, with the cut off scores for the top secondary schools being: Queen’s College, 512; Bishops’ High School, 508; St. Stanislaus College, 505; St. Rose’s High, 502; St. Joseph High, 499; and President’s College, 490.
President’s College is one of the ‘A’ Schools in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), where non-residential places are awarded to Region Four candidates who attained minimum score, and residential places are offered to candidates from Regions One (Barima-Waini); Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); Five; Six; Seven; Eight (Potaro-Siparuni); Nine Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo); and ten who attained the minimum scores.
“A total of 217 candidates from schools in Regions One, Two, Five, Six, Seven, Nine and Ten are eligible for entry into the school,” Hutson related.

According to the statistics, of the 14, 032 pupils who sat the NGSA exams on July 1 & 2, 61.2 per cent secured 50 per cent and more in English, as against the 57.4 per cent who did in 2019; in Social Studies, 53 per cent of the candidates scored 50 per cent and more in 2020, as against the 39 per cent that attained the benchmark in 2019; while in Science, 44.1 per cent of the candidates gained 50 per cent and more in 2020, an increase from the 42.4 per cent in 2019.
In Mathematics, however, the rate of students gaining 50 per cent and more in 2019 moved from 42 to 39.4 per cent in 2020.
The Ministry did not provide a breakdown of passes per subject by Region, however, Dr. Hutson did single out a number of Regions that did well in particular subject areas, with all Regions experiencing increases in passes in Social Studies.
In English, Georgetown’s pass rate increased to 78.9 per cent from the 74.6 per cent that was recorded in 2019; Region Six increased to 57.5 per cent from 52.1 per cent in 2019; and Region 10 increased from 65.6 per cent in 2019 to 71.9 per cent in 2020.
In Region Three, however, the pass rate declined from 65.7 per cent in 2019 to 63.4 per cent in 2020.

This year, the MoE continued its collaboration with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to improve the quality of the national primary grade assessment.
Teachers, subject specialists and test development officers developed the test items, with the technical guidance of the CXC addressing key areas such as item construction, weighting of items, sampling and other psychometric elements.
The examination in each subject area consisted of two papers: Paper One, which consisted of forty multiple-choice items; and Paper Two, which consisted of essay- type or open-ended items.

This year, 168 students attaining between 525 to 511 marks, accounted for the top performing one per cent of pupils at the assessment. During his remarks, Hutson noted that the performances this year are testimony to the investments made by all stakeholders.
“It is a testimony to the work our parents have been doing; the officers of the MoE, and the collaborative union we have formed over the years,” he declared, adding: “A number of things have been put in place, which had do with the monitors we hired and placed in the school system; a methodology replicated in the programme for CSEC. As we put our heads together, I think we can do extraordinary things; we are in a good place now, and as we move forward, what is important is the collaborative effort of every stakeholder.”

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