Parents dissatisfied with PEP preparation

Students hard at work
Students hard at work (Photo credit: Santi Vedri)

Parents and guardians fear that the close of face-to-face learning will impact their child’s/ward’s performance in the upcoming Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams. A Ministry of Education bulletin noted that PEP for grades 4 and 5 2020/2021 examinations would be postponed until the first term in the 2021/2022 academic year.

The PEP Profile replaced the Grade Six Achievement Test as the national secondary school placement test in the 2018-2019 academic year. The Primary Exit Profile is divided into three components (the Performance task, the Ability test and the Curriculum-based test) and spans the course of grade 4 through to grade six.

According to the PEP 2019 National Report, this shift was necessitated by the 2004 Task Force Report, which recommended a review of several of the assessment tools and which the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has since acted on.

Taneika Miller, the mother of a PEP student, expressed concern that the casual approach on the part of teachers, might have a negative effect on her daughter’s PEP performance. “I think they just give to them something to occupy their time, to know that, yes, they can tick the box to say, yes, they did online classes,” she said.

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She added, “Even with homework, with assignments, sometimes those are not marked. It is really because by the time it takes for you to take and send in pictures and then for the teacher to find the time and do the electronic marking. In the face-to-face scenario, the students just bring their books to the teacher and at a convenient time, you know, those are graded.” Miller also said that she felt as though her daughter was getting less work since the start of the new academic year.

However, another mother recounted where she felt as though, her son was being overloaded with information, “It was like they were giving grade 7 information. It was very hard!” she said.

Sharing a different view, Marva Hinds told the Monitor that she was worried that her child was not adequately prepared for the upcoming exams. “Sometimes I would come home and ask her if she knows what the PEP papers looked like and she would say no,” she said. She also noted that the teachers did not adequately go over PEP-related material.

Also, the grandmother of a PEP student told the Monitor that she is concerned that internet challenges for both teacher and student would have hindered the teaching and learning process. She noted that her granddaughter oftentimes missed out on crucial information because of internet challenges.

She also noted that sometimes her granddaughter is distracted by the electronic games and is discouraged by the lack of social interaction with her peers.

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