Manickchand implores NGSA markers to take great care, seek clarifications

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The National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) 2021 has successfully come to an end having been administered under the safest conditions in the middle of a pandemic. 

However, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is grateful for all the work done by the teachers, education officers, parents, and our students to rise above all the challenges that our education system has been facing for over a year. 

According to the MoE, a lot of work was done to prepare our pupils for this examination which include the distribution of study packages containing all the needed textbooks, the creation of a consolidated curriculum, and extending the reach of our distance learning mechanisms such as the Guyana Learning Channel. 

The marking of the examination began on Thursday. On Saturday last the MoE Priya Manickchand engaged the 35 table leaders as a group at the Tutorial High School one of two marking centres. 

The other centre is North Georgetown Secondary. Markers are assigned to tables which include one table leader and seven markers. 

While there, the Education Minister outlined and reinforced the roles of these teachers in the process and asked that their efforts produce results that cannot be questioned. 

Additionally, on Wednesday, Minister Manickchand visited the aforementioned locations to engage the 210 markers for the four subjects, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and English. 

These markers and table leaders are teachers mostly of primary schools and are employees of the CXC examining body.  She implored markers to pay attention and be careful with the duty they have agreed to perform. 

The Education Minister said that the outcome is to have accurate results which will depend on how much care they take in their marking. 

She told them that if they needed to ask for clarification a dozen times they must, as the children they are serving are depending on them to award marks earned and particularly because the questions may produce answers from “the lived experience” of children and no examining body in their typical answer key could cater for all that children could experience and therefore write. 

To make this point, Minister Manickchand referenced results over the last five years whereby reviews resulted in changed marks and school placements. Last year alone 30 per cent of the reviews resulted in changed grades. The Minister reminded that not every parent knows of the review process, can access it on time, and pay the requisite fee to get a review so even more resolve is necessary that not a single mistake will be made in this originating process. 

The Minister further stated that such an occurrence does not augur well for the integrity of the examination system which can lead to distrust by parents, students, and the general public in the system. 

The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has been managing the NGSA examination since 2016 but disclaims knowledge of the changed grades. The body has however been asked by the Minister to tighten and carefully manage all processes at this year’s marking centres to mitigate against inaccurate marking. 

During her engagement with teachers, Minister Manickchand said that many policies had been changed this year including the children over 12 years and seven months will not be penalized because of their age and that total scores will be rounded up to the closest whole number. Further, all reviews will be managed by CXC which sets, administers, and evaluates the examination. 

Nonetheless, the MoE is pleased this year that markers were taken from all over Guyana from regions where teachers have never come from. 

The Ministry feels more confident that the results which will be announced in October will reflect accurately what our students have earned. (Extracted and modified from the Education Ministry)

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