The administration of the Grade Six Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Ability Test, which took place on March 24, went smoothly, according to the Ministry of Education and Youth.

A total of 35,923 students from public and private schools sat the test at 1,052 designated centres islandwide.

“These are all students who will be making their way to our high schools come September of this year [and] they would have had the greatest fallout in terms of learning loss [due to COVID-19]. So, I want to congratulate [them] for successfully completing the Ability component of the exam,” said the Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams.

“The exam went well,” she added.

Williams made the comments on Friday during the ministry’s semi-virtual press conference. She said schools made provisions to accommodate the 369 special-needs students who sat the exam.

These, she outlined, included giving extra time for the test; assigning readers or writers, prompters or shadows; giving candidates preferential seating in the exam centre; making allowance for breaks during the exam; and, providing interpreters for students whose first language is not English.

“We also had to make provisions for four of our students to sit the exam while they were hospitalised… this is obviously at their request. So, invigilators and officials from the Ministry of Education would have administered the Ability Test at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and Savanna-la-Mar Hospital,” Williams said.

She revealed that even in cases where two students arrived late because of extenuating circumstances linked to violence in their communities, they were accommodated.

The minister said that in instances where a presiding examiner arrived at an exam centre late or did not show, “we [had] officers in the Regions who were able to respond very quickly to resolve those situations”.

“So, we want to congratulate all our students for their resolve and their resilience. We know that these are trying times, but, nevertheless, our students have persevered. Our parents, teachers and administrators, and all who [were] involved to ensure the smooth operations of the test are to be commended as well,” said Williams.

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