Hummingbird’s Rhiki Alegria and Bernice Yorke’s Jasmine Betancourt Top PSE Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 00:00

The first part of the PSE was sat on March 26. It includes the science and English papers.  The English exam is divided into two parts. The first part consists of fifty multiple-choice questions that test the student’s knowledge of grammar and comprehension skills. Part two of the English exam is the writing section that tests the students’ composition skills. The science exam consists solely of fifty multiple-choice questions that test the student’s knowledge of General and Health Science. In the PSE, an A (80- 100%) is considered to be Excellent. 70-79% is a B score which is considered to be Competent. C (60-69%) is considered as Satisfactory while D (50-59%) is Adequate and E (49% and below) is considered to be Inadequate. In the English exam, the mean score or average was Adequate at 58.59%. The mode grade, which is the grade most prevalent, was C which is Satisfactory. The median was 61%, which means that half the students scored below that grade and half scored above.  That is a significant improvement from last year when the mean was 54.9%, the mode grade was E and the median was 56%. Students performed best in the Science examination once again. The mean score for Science was 74.43% up from 64.38% last year. The mode grade was A, an improvement from C in 2011, and the median was 76%, which is ten points higher than last year.

The second part of the PSE was sat on May 9. It includes the mathematics and social studies papers. The mathematics exam is divided into two parts. Part one is a multiple choice section consisting of 50 computation questions. Section two of the mathematics exam is problem solving. There are ten problems to solve in section two of the mathematics exam. The social studies exam includes 50 multiple-choice questions. The questions test the students knowledge of Belize’s past and present economic, social, cultural and political structure. The worst scores were recorded in mathematics exam once again. However, grades were the best they have been since 2004. The mean score for mathematics was 54.38%, which is up from 47.16% last year. The mode grade was Adequate at D, which is again an improvement on the E (0-49%) from last year. The median was 53%. In 2011, the median was 45%. In Social Studies, the mean score was 68.92%. The mode grade was Excellent, an A, and the median was 72%. In 2011, the mean was 63.85%, the mode grade was C and the median was 66% in Social Studies. The grades may not be anything to celebrate but the improvement in performance certainly is.

7,176 students were registered to sit the PSE in 2012. That represents an increase of 3.9% from 2011. Of that 7,176 students registered, Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning’s Jasmine Betancourt and Hummingbird Elementary School’s Rhiki Alegria were the most outstanding students. They both got a score of 389 out of a possible 400 or 97.25%. Though they are from different schools, they shared the same formula for success: hard work. It means years of preparation, studying during free time, challenging teachers to get the best out of you and taking additional classes. Other students rounding out the top five are Ejike Udumii from Solid Rock Christian School of the Stann Creek District, Eric Hunter from Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning and Darren Alvarez also of Bernice Yorke Institute of Learning.     

The Ministry of Education said that the results of the examinations are to be used for two main purposes. One is the certification of students at the completion of primary school in the four content areas of the primary curriculum and the other is for educational decision-making to inform policy, planning and practice at national, district, school and classroom levels. The Ministry reiterates the point that “the PSE is not and was never intended to be used as the sole criteria for entrance into secondary schools.  Secondary schools are advised to use multiple sources of evidence of students’ achievement and holistic development at primary school to get a more complete picture of the students’ abilities, strengths and weaknesses.”