Education Minister, Ronald Jones, addressing new recruits at the official start of the academic year 2015—2016 at the Erdiston Teachers' Training College. (A.Miller/BGIS)
If Education Minister, Ronald Jones, gets his way, he would have some teachers write the Mathematics paper of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) , known also as the 11-Plus.
“...not to cause any shame or blame, but to use it as a diagnostic tool to refine the Mathematics capabilities of our teachers who teach Maths in our schools, particularly our primary schools,” the Minister told new recruits at the College.
He was addressing the official start of the Academic Year 2015—2016 at the College on Pine Road, St. Michael.
Mr. Jones continued: “This is about re-equipping, retooling, refocusing because if you don’t, you can’t teach. It is action research; it is [about] finding out. And once found out that you too have weaknesses in your methodology, in understanding it, that Erdiston is better equipped to do some re-teaching and some refocusing, therefore making it better for you now to take on the task of delivering good Mathematics teaching in the class.”
Emphasising that he had not done the research, he maintained that such an action would not be about being punitive or seeing how good mathematically teachers were but “just to find out what it is that those who teach you to be teachers have to do to make it better for you”.
The Education Minister had earlier this month registered his concern about the number of children scoring less than 10 per cent in the maths paper of BSSEE, during a press conference to review the results. There, he said 138 students had scored less than 10 per cent, and noted that this was saying to the Ministry there were some children who still should not do the exam.
Hinting at discussions soon to come within his Ministry, he added that the troubling experience of a child knowing that he/she had scored zero should be eliminated as much as possible. Also at that press conference, Mr. Jones had revealed that the mean for Mathematics in the 2015 BSSEE was 50.47, as compared to 57.6 in 2014. According to the Minister, both boys’ and girls’ scores declined in 2015, over 2014.