Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 11th 2013 Contents The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has
assured it will deal with pupils' complaints about a
math issue in last Thursday's SEA examination
and this will be addressed prior to marking papers,
Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh said
In a statement to the Parliament Gopeesingh
said the ministry has received an assurance from
the CXC so no student will be disadvantaged in
the SEA math paper.
"In light of the concerns raised, the ministry
assures students the matter has been referred to
the CXC for consideration to ensure students
aren't placed at a disadvantage," he added.
He said the chief education officer was assured
by the CXC that concerns will be addressed prior
to the marking exercise.
Gopeesingh said 18,036 pupils from 476
government assisted primary schools and 76
primary schools took the exam.
He said SEA questions are pre-tested using
several versions of the tests. He said maths and
language papers also came under CXC review to
ensure questions met the SEA syllabus'
Gopeesingh said standard CXC practice prior to
marking of papers is a review of standard
responses to questions on the basis of which
marking schemes are finalised by CXC officers.
He said question 35 was based on objective 53
of the primary school curriculum section B
(money) which requires students to " solve
problems involving direct proportion." (GA)
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, May 11, 2013
CAMILLE CLARKE and MELISSA DOUGHTY
The Education Ministry has referred the
problematic mathematics question of
Thursday s Secondary Entrance Assess-
ment (SEA) to the Caribbean Examinations
The T&T Unified Teachers Association
(TTUTA) and the president of the National
Primary Schools Principals Association
(NAPSPA) are calling for an investigation
as to why the question was placed on the
The papers are graded by the CXC, which
is based in Barbados.
First vice-president of TTUTA Antonia
De Freitas, in a telephone interview yesterday,
urged Minister Tim Gopeesingh to find out
why question 35, on proportion/ratio, was
put in the SEA exam.
"We are calling for the minister to make
inquiries as to why the question was placed
on the paper and whether (pupils) will lose
the mark on the question to determine the
students performance and result.
"The minister is making statements that
teachers should be making preparation for
every topic for the exams.
"However, the Ministry of Education
would normally issue specifications or
guidelines, based on the syllabus, on the
structure of the exam to come. The spec-
ifications came out two years ago and there
were no changes and no documents were
issued," she said.
SEA pupils complained of the difficulty
of the maths paper, referring specifically to
De Freitas said the topics of ratio and
proportion were removed in 2003 and had
not been put back since.
"So teachers would not have looked at
that like an item. It is unfortunate for him
to imply that the teachers are at fault,
because they aren t," she said.
"They work within the guidelines they
have been provided with, so if there is no
information they won t make necessary
preparations. Normally, in Section One of
the math paper they put simple recall appli-
However, it appears the wording was
complex to the children and that proved a
challenge as well."
De Freitas said teachers worked very hard
to prepare the students for SEA and even
worked on evenings and weekends.
President of the NAPSPA Lynsley Doodhai
said the pupils were negatively affected by
"The whole issue is unfortunate and the
pupils were affected by the examination.
We made a call for the ministry to disregard
that question so the children won t be
However, he added, "It does not take
away from the students...being negatively
affected emotionally. It has led to panic
attacks, has disturbed their emotional well-
being and adversely impacted on a critical
part of the organisation.
"It is a minor part of the greater issue,
which is the impact it has on the emotional
well-being of the students to complete the
SEA 'ratio' issue for
Exams Council, Barbados
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