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May 4, 2018

Conquering Mathematical Jinx on Day 2 of P.S.E.

A common theme of our reporting over the years on the Primary School Examination is that English, Social Studies and Science have all been less challenging to exam-takers than Mathematics, and specifically the Paper Two, problem-solving section. This year, that narrative has changed, if only slightly. Students speaking to News Five at the examination centers in the Old Capital today say that they have had better preparation for the ten problems on the examination and as a result they think they have done better overall. While results will not be known until June, the Ministry of Education’s Examinations Unit tends to agree, as Aaron Humes reports.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

After eighteen years, there has been little change in the results of the Primary School Examination on average. But the questions, apart from context and tested areas of the curriculum, do not change that much either.


Nelson Longsworth

Nelson Longsworth, Head of Examinations Unit, Ministry of Education

“The table of specifications which has been set for quite some years now defines the types of questions that will be asked and from which areas of the curriculum will be tested; so that is set. And generally, you will find that most schools, in terms of teachers who have seen past papers of the Paper Two Math, can actually predict the areas of the curriculum that will be tested, because it’s so much set. I’ve been to a school the other day and asked the students, ‘do you know what will come in Question One?’ and they can tell you which type of questions will come because it’s set.”


Aaron Humes

“They just don’t know the exact situation that they will be asked about?”


Nelson Longsworth

“Of course, the context will change from year to year.”


And a check with students attending the examination center at Edward P. Yorke High School, just around the corner from Channel Five, shows that though opinions varied, for the most part, students didn’t find that part of the exam too difficult overall.


Deandre Betson

Deandre Betson, All Saints School

“Some of it is actually easy but some of it is actually difficult.”


Aaron Humes

“So what specifically did you find easy on the exam?”


Deandre Betson

“The math – the hire purchase, the calculation of the prices.”


Aaron Humes

“So this is something you saw before in class?”


Deandre Betson

“Yes, sir.”


Hope Trapp

Hope Trapp, All Saints School

“I found the Math Two more difficult than the Math One.”


Aaron Humes

“Have you seen those kinds of questions in class before?”


Hope Trapp

“Yes, most of them.”


Aaron Humes

“So what made it, you think, more difficult for you?”


Itzel Maradiaga

Hope Trapp

“The Math Two with the hire purchase.”


Itzel Maradiaga, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene

“In Math Two, there were parts that were difficult because you had to sum and divide and it was kind of getting confusing, but from there it was easy once you knew the formulas.”


Kenisha Palacio

Kenisha Palacio, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene

“The Math and Social Studies was very easy, because our teachers tried to find the best way to teach us to do this stuff, especially the Social Studies. To me it was very easy. And once you know the formulas for the mathematics and so, it wouldn’t be a problem for you to solve.”


Michelle Castellanos, Trinity Methodist School

“I see some of the problems and I did understand them very well; so it wasn’t that difficult to me, so I understand it very good.”


Michelle Castellanos

Aaron Humes

“So you are looking forward to a good performance?”


Michelle Castellanos



Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.


Later in the newscast, we’ll look at other areas of the P.S.E. and the expected performance.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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