PEP students to be first PISA cohort

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THE first cohort of students sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) this year will also be the first to take the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) examinations in 2021.

Acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Dr Grace McLean said that Jamaica is preparing to participate in the programme, which will facilitate the evaluation and ranking of the Jamaican education system against other countries.

“So, we will get to see how (our students perform) with the introduction of the new curriculum that is based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), critical thinking, communication and collaboration. We are definitely interested in seeing how our students are going to be performing against the 90 countries that are going to be participating, as well,” she said.

She was speaking during the opening ceremony of The Mico University College’s International Mathematics Teaching Summit on Tuesday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

A worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), PISA is intended to evaluate educational systems by measuring the scholastic performance of 15-year-old pupils in the subjects of mathematics, science and reading. Held every three years, it assesses how well students can apply what they learn in school to real-life situations.

Dr McLean said the introduction of the international assessment is part of the Government’s strategic focus on human capital development.

She noted that the STEM programme in schools remains a top priority and incorporation of the STEM methodology into the curriculum, from grades one to nine, is being implemented under the National Standards Curriculum.

She said that the ministry has established a STEM steering committee at Mico, which, she noted, “has been doing quite a bit of research in ensuring that we align the programmes within our curriculum to growth areas”.

Additionally, Dr McLean said the ministry continues to encourage and build capacity in the teaching and instructional delivery of liberal arts subjects.

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