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Schools’ individual exam results may not be published

The Ministry of Education may not publish each school's exam results, according to the chairman of the Education Board.

Darren Johnston told

The Royal Gazette the Ministry and Board were currently debating how to publish education reports.

Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons said publicly available results would be in the best interest of the public, but Mr Johnston said they are discussing the best format to publish results, whether to publish each school's results individually or give results for every year group without breaking it down by school.

He said one argument against publishing results in a league type table, which outline how students are faring in each of the Island's public schools, was that it could lead to a slower pace of reform.

“If the system focuses on each school's results will that mean people will not work across the schools?” he said. “If people are competing to have better results than another school will that mean that best practices are not shared among schools?”

This June students in the grades primary six, middle school three and senior school two will take part in Cambridge curriculum benchmark exams. Students in senior four will also sit the internationally recognised GCSE exams in core subjects English, math and integrated sciences.

Mr Johnston said: “We should expect some development opportunities to come out of the first testing, which will benefit future years.”

Education reform, he said, can see incremental changes to begin with.

Mr Johnston said the new curriculum would increase students' capabilities right away, however he didn't know if it would immediately translate into increased scores.

He added that teachers and principals would be held accountable but that the Ministry would be looking at more than just students' output. He said teachers would be judged on a more “holistic” basis.

Dr Gibbons said Government should follow the Blueprint for Reform in Education.

Dr Gibbons has long called for an independent standards board to be created in Bermuda to publish up-to-date and unbiased data on school performance and results. He believes a standards board would act as an educational Auditor General and ensure the public's interests are being met.

He added: “We believe the public wants to know the truth whether it's good news or bad news that's how you keep feet to the fire and get things reformed. That's why we have consistently called for an independent standards board, because this PLP Government has been very selective about what they tell the public and what they don't.

“If your stated ‘strategic priority is to facilitate the improvement of standards via accountability and transparency' in the Blueprint and you promise that you're going to ‘publish annually school performance data to all stakeholders' then you should keep the promise.

‘As a Government, you can't promise to hold teachers and principals accountable for their performance and not be accountable yourself. And frankly, what kind of an example does that set for our children?”

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Published March 14, 2011 at 10:02 am (Updated March 14, 2011 at 10:01 am)

Schools’ individual exam results may not be published

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