Education Ministry On Checkpoint Assessments

April 18, 2021 | 3 Comments

“We can confirm that due to the current position of our island in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided not to administer the Cambridge Checkpoint assessments,” the Ministry of Education said this evening.

Checkpoint Assessments

A Government spokesperson said, “There have been mixed reactions from stakeholders about administering the annual Cambridge diagnostic assessments during April of this year, and various reasons have been given. For clarity and understanding, we are providing an update on our decision and a full explanation of the purpose of these assessments.

“During Primary 6 and M3, students sit the Cambridge International Checkpoint diagnostic assessments in English, Maths and Science before transitioning to Middle and Senior School.

“The Checkpoint is administered as a diagnostic assessment at these transition years to “diagnose” students’ strengths and weaknesses in these key curriculum areas. While some assume that these assessments reflect only what is taught at the P6 and M3 levels, they are actually based on what students have learned in Primary School between P2 and P6; and in Middle School, between M1 and M3.

“We have received correspondence from persons who feel these assessments should be canceled and also from those who think the assessments should be administered. The Department of Education has to consider many factors before a final decision on whether to administer the Checkpoint assessments or not, especially the safety and health, and psychological well-being of our students and educators

“We can confirm that due to the current position of our island in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided not to administer the Cambridge Checkpoint assessments. As these are international assessments, the option of postponing the assessments is not available. This decision was not taken lightly, and we recognise that there needs to be a way forward to assess our students to ensure their success.

“The Checkpoint assessments are based on the learning objectives within the Cambridge Primary School curriculum. The results of the assessments are very helpful in identifying students’ strengths and areas of weaknesses.

“In fact, the reports provided to teachers and principals enable them to know how each student scored for every question of the assessment, including whether or not a question was answered.

“This type of information is extremely valuable under normal circumstances, but it becomes even more valuable given the impact that Covid-19 has had on student learning time.

“The Checkpoint results inform the current schools and the receiving Middle and Senior Schools about what students know and do not know. Current schools use the information to make adjustments to the delivery of the curriculum, and receiving schools can use the data to plan interventions for incoming students at the start of the school year.

“Additionally, with the results provided in late June / early July of each year, there is also an opportunity for summer intervention activities to help strengthen areas identified as deficits.

“We also want parents to know that Checkpoint assessments are not final examinations. The delivery of the English, math, and science curricula at Primary and Middle levels prepare students to sit their IGCSE examinations in S2 at the Senior level. Simply stated, the Checkpoints are just that, “checkpoints” to see how students are progressing on their journey towards taking the IGCSE exams in S2.

IGCSE Examinations

“As it relates to the IGCSE exams that are to be administered to Senior School students at The Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy, we can confirm that we will not administer in-person exams for our students given the safety risks. Instead, we will submit assessed grades to Cambridge for our Senior School students.

“Additionally, we held a meeting with Cambridge to discuss possible ways to move forward. While we were given the option to sit in-person exams, it was made clear that any student unable to sit in-person exams due to Covid-19 would not receive a grade.

“Therefore, having assessed grades submitted to Cambridge as we did last year, is the only option to ensure our students receive their grades. Our students and educators have worked too hard in the face of incredible challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic to risk not being rewarded for that hard work.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. puzzled says:

    Now back to COVID-19.

  2. Mary Lodge says:

    Thank you for understanding the intricacies of examination preparation. To take the exam would have been damaging academically and psychologically.
    As an educator of 43 years and a principal for 19 years. I salute this decision.

  3. Eyeswideopen says:

    The lack of comments on this decision should be eye opening. These kids have been forced to go home. I’m sure all of them loved the first at home learning. I’m sure lots of them love it still though. But they are kids. They do not have the knowledge to see that things can not or better yet must not continue the way they are going. We have had one year going on to two years of sub par education. This cannot continue. These tests can be delivered in a safe environment. We are quite capable of making sure that they get completed safely. Maybe the DOE is afraid to see the results. One way or the other, sooner or later these results will have to be received.

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