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Rabain promises action on maths scores

Almost three quarters of public primary schools ranked as poor or very poor in maths based on the average pupil score in a test sat last year, it has been revealed.

Two schools, Heron Bay, in Southampton, and Paget Primary, had an average pupil score last year of 0.7, and ranked as “very poor”, based on Cambridge Checkpoint assessments.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said earlier this month that the Department of Education was in its ninth year of the Checkpoint assessments.

He added: “As we continue to invest in Cambridge assessments, it is with the understanding that our results for these assessments must improve.

“In particular, we must improve our math results, and there are a number of actions being taken in this regard.”

He was speaking during the Budget debate on the budget for the Ministry of Education in the House of Assembly on March 13.

Mr Rabain also highlighted improved performance in maths by P6 pupils at Harrington Sound.

He credited the upgrade to the start of a mathematics intervention programme by consulting firm Primal Academic Innovations, which started a contract in January to work in all public primary schools.

Mr Rabain said: “The expected outcome of the mathematics intervention programme is to see our primary schoolteachers deliver high-quality mathematics instruction and for our schools to become international centres for excellence in the teaching of mathematics. I believe this is possible.”

A total of 11 primaries had an average pupil grade of between 1 and 2 in maths.

They were Dalton E Tucker (1.5), East End (1.9), Elliot (1.6), Francis Patton (1.1), Gilbert Institute (1.8), Northlands (1.9), Prospect (1.8), Purvis (1.8), Somerset (1.4) Victor Scott (1.2) and West End (1.7).

Five primary schools had an average pupil score in maths of 2 or better last year.

They were Harrington Sound (2.6), Port Royal (2.0), St David's (2.1), St George's Preparatory (2.8) and West Pembroke (2.9).

No school had an average pupil score of 3 or better.

The 13 schools with an average pupil score below 2 was an increase of four schools from the year before, when half of public primary schools had an average pupil score in maths of 2 or below.

The nine schools in 2018 were: Dalton (1.9), East End (1.5), Francis Patton (1.8), Harrington Sound (1.9), Northlands (1.7), Paget (1.6), Prospect (1.9), Victor Scott (0.9) and West End (1.4).

The average pupil results for the 2019 and 2018 tests were released last October.

The average score by public primary school pupils in maths in 2019 was 1.9 — rated as “poor”.

It was the worst average score recorded in the subject in eight years. The previous lowest score recorded by Cambridge Checkpoint experts was 2.2 in academic year 2015-16.

The results showed that the average P6 pupil grade fell in all three subject areas from 2017-18 to 2018-19.

The average pupil score in all three subjects also failed to hit the ministry target of 3 or better in the last school year.

Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said at the time that the results “clearly indicates the strengths and areas of improvement for the system”.

A school-by-school breakdown of Cambridge Checkpoint assessment results for 2019 and 2018 was released to The Royal Gazette by the education ministry in January.

The annual assessment scheme was designed to rate Primary 6 and Middle 3 pupils on English, maths and science.

The Cambridge system uses scores from 0, ranked “very poor”, to 6, graded “excellent”.

Scores from 3 to 4 are classified as “good”. Scores of between 2 and 3 are rated “OK”.

Scores from 1 to 2 are rated as being “poor”. Scores of between 0 and 1 are labelled “very poor”.

The request to education officials asked for the average pupil score, by school, in the three subject categories.

The statistics supplied showed that the average pupil score in maths at 13 of the island's 18 public primary schools last year was below 2 — labelled “poor”.

Diallo Rabain (File photograph)

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Published March 28, 2020 at 1:53 pm (Updated March 28, 2020 at 1:53 pm)

Rabain promises action on maths scores

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