Day 1 of the P.S.E. – Kids Say They Were Ready
Though some attempt to downplay it, there is no denying the importance of the Primary School Examination in the lives of Belize’s primary school students, seventeen years after it took the place of the Belize National Selection Examination. Over two days between March and May, the results of tests in English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science will help determine who moves on to secondary school and whose dreams of a brighter future may collapse at the first hurdle. But that wasn’t on the minds of the seven thousand, two hundred and seventy-one students attending the various examination centers today – all they worried about was acing the English and Science portion of the papers assigned them. News Five’s Aaron Humes files the following report.
Amshar Williams, Standard 6 Student, All Saints School
“We are going to swim at Black Orchid [Resort] but my mom said, ‘You will not take all of the time with swimming; yu wah have to study for the upcoming exam.’”
“How about you, Andre?”
Andre Rudon, Standard 6 Student, All Saints School
“I’m going to Caye Caulker but I’m not going to take all of my time there; I still have to study for the exam.”
Aaron Humes, Reporting
These future students of Edward P. Yorke High School will not get to enjoy much of an Easter vacation, but they don’t want you to feel sorry for them. They are two of more than seven thousand students who today sat the English and Science sections of the Primary School Examination, hoping for the best grade to propel them to high school. They were joined by cousins Alexia Leal and Kisaudiah Young, who both attend Hummingbird Elementary School. We asked them what portions of the examination they found most challenging and got some interesting responses.
“What did you find challenging and what did you find easier?”
Alexia Leal, Standard 6 Student, Hummingbird Elementary
“Just the new environment and the fact that I had to attempt some new problems.”
Kisaudiah Young, Standard 6 Student, Hummingbird Elementary
“Well, the Science was challenging but the Language was easy.”
“I prefer the Science and the Language One, the letter writing was a little challenging for me.”
“I prefer the Science and the Language One because the Language Two was very challenging.”
“That’s the letter writing?”
But there is one thing that the exam-takers can agree with Minister of Education Patrick Faber on: today and the coming part two, featuring the always-daunting Mathematics and Social Studies, represent eight years of learning and achievement, but are not the end.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
“It’s always a very exciting day. I looked as people posted on Facebook all the happiness that their children are at this point; and it’s quite a milestone, if you gone through all the stages of primary school and you’re at this point now. A lot of preparation has gone in and we try to remind people that it’s not only preparation that comes in Standard Six; in fact this is the culmination of the primary school journey and so what they do in these exams should be a reflection of what they have learnt over the eight or nine years they have spent in primary school.”
That preparation – and motivation – takes many forms.
“My auntie da wah teacher dah St. Martin’s and my ma dah wah teacher da ITVET; my ma and my auntie always push me fi mek I start study fi di exam.”
“So they gave you help?”
“How about you, Andre?”
“My mother and my father and Mr. Logan was pushing me really hard to get a good grade on P.S.E.”
“And how did you prepare to get that grade?”
“…study very hard.”
All that studying could be start of something great for these four and many others. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.
Minister Faber told us that the dates for the P.S.E. are set in accordance with the Easter calendar with one part taken before and one taken after. While day one of the P.S.E. usually falls in mid-March, director of the Examinations Unit, Nelson Longsworth, confirmed with News Five this evening that the examination has fallen in April before. The two-part English paper contains multiple-choice questions and a writing assignment, while the Science portion has multiple-choice questions only. Part-two is usually held in May.