On Thursday, May 14, 2015 parents and their third form students gathered at the Montserrat Secondary School to hear about the selection process for subjects going into the final two years of the programme.
Principal Mrs Cherlyn Hogan explained that whatever subjects are picked now the students must carry them through until the end of fifth form, so parents should be now having the discussion about future career plans in order to make the right selection.
There are currently 92 students in the third form at the island’s only secondary school. They will now have to decide what combination of subjects they will take and will eventually be tested on through the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
Subjects available include Mathematics, English, Integrated Science, Biology, Chemistry, Principles of Accounting, ICT, French, Spanish, History, and Agricultural Science.
Hogan said that for the Electronic Document Preparation and Management course (EDPM) which is usually full, students from Forms 4-1 and 5-1 could be removed from the course to give priority to other levels.
Ruel Duke, who teachers in the business department said students who wished to start a business should be encouraged to take the courses in his section but they needed to make the effort to score the best grades to allow them to qualify. He added that all text books are required as their is a lot of work to complete and not all can be covered by the teachers within the allotted class times. Proper preparation would allow the teachers to be able to provide more support with videos, role plays and other practical exercises to reinforce the text book content.
He and other teachers reiterated the importance of every student producing the Student Based Assessments (SBA) which are done throughout the two years in fourth and fifth forms and which if not turned in, will mean the child cannot get a grade for the exam even if they have completed the formal written portion.
“It is very crucial to get the grades and parents need to stay on top of the children, read their work before turning it in,” Duke said.
English teacher Mrs Cleo Cassell said CXC has now introduced an SBA for the subject. The SBAs will be done as part of group work and student participation is essential to receiving a grade.
SBAs are 40% of the total grade Ms Narine Durand added during the meeting. Parents and students should establish a timetable for the submission of work so that they are not rushing in the final term to get the reports in.
Ms Carlene Forshaw who teaches in the science division recommended that more students take agricultural science as it was crucial to the country that more people were a part of providing food to cut down on importation. For the sciences, CXC now requires that the books being used for SBAs be left at school. In-house moderators will be checking on the work of students taking chemistry and biology in June of the fourth form year and again in March of the fifth year. This is an effort by the examination board to cut down on the high incidents of irregularities in the sciences final results.
Parents with questions should visit the school to speak with the principal and teachers about the changes and preparing their children for fourth form and the CXC exams.