‘Mathematics crisis’: Education Ministry says serious challenge ahead amid poor exam results | Rare Techy


Maureen Dwyer, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, has warned that a serious challenge lies ahead as students continue to perform poorly in maths tests.

She disclosed that an analysis from the Ministry’s Examinations and Assessment Administration Services Branch showed that less than half of the more than 35,200 students who took the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exam in 2022 were assessed at 16, 149 or 45.9 percent. Proficient and 1,731 or 4.9 percent are rated highly proficient.

On the other side of the line, 1,995 or 5.7 percent of students were assessed as being in the beginning stage and another 15,312 or 43.5 percent were in the developing stage.

Dwyer’s warning was delivered in a keynote speech at the Sam Sharpe Teachers College inaugural mathematics conference on Wednesday, November 23, under the theme “Sharp Mathematics 2022: Angling our trajectory to the future of mathematics.”

Noting that these figures are not significantly different from what was seen in the two years immediately before the pandemic, “when we put this analysis in the context of these students preparing for more demanding secondary-level jobs, we see a huge challenge. It’s ahead.”

At the secondary level, in this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, 7,402 or 37.2 percent of the 19,886 who sat for mathematics obtained grades 1 to 111. This compares with 7,979 or 43.5 percent. 1, 11 or 111 grades received in 2021.

“These numbers have been consistently below 50 percent for several years. Obviously guys, we have to ‘sump’. “Something has to be a multifaceted approach,” Dwyer noted.

For its part, she said the Ministry of Education has strengthened support and collaboration with teacher training colleges to examine how pre-service teachers prepare to teach the subject.

We have started implementing the model of specialist subject teachers at the primary level with an aim to see better results. In the wake of the latest reports from the National Education Inspectorate (NEI), more than 200 of our primary schools have been identified as unsatisfactory and two require immediate support in teacher effectiveness,” Dwyer revealed.

Historically, in primary schools, the model of a teacher in the classroom teaches all subjects, provides psychological support, becomes a parent, provides class resources in addition to managing class time and disciplining students, and the end result is “our teachers. Often overworked, their effectiveness is greatly reduced. Ultimately, it is our students who suffer.

Acting Permanent Secretary said the new model of having specialist teachers in primary schools aims to improve student performance.

“By restructuring the instructional delivery of exploratory core subject areas (mathematics, language arts, science and social studies) and comprehensively considering the training and redeployment of primary school teachers as subject matter experts in these focus areas, the ministry hopes to see improved results. In the academic performance of our students. We are

Hopefully our teachers will have a more fulfilling teaching and learning experience,” she said.

Dwyer commended Sam Sharpe Teachers College for hosting the mathematics conference as a commitment to strengthening pedagogy and the mathematics teacher community. She also welcomed it as “a timely initiative to focus more attention on the challenges and opportunities in teaching and learning mathematics” and comes against the backdrop of concerns about the poor performance of Jamaican students in mathematics in both primary and mathematics. Secondary level.

For many years, students feel intimidated by this subject and therefore approach it with fear and dread; It was therefore imperative to help students develop the mathematical literacy needed for the current digital age.


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