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TTUTA: New SEA format a farce

Monday, March 18, 2013

The T&T Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) has condemned the Ministry of Education’s implementation of the Continuous Assessment Component (CAC) of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam. In a strongly-worded press release sent to the media late last week, TTUTA referred to the ministry’s implementation of the CAC as a “farce.”


This came after 18,000 Standard Five pupils wrote the creative writing component of the SEA last Thursday. In the release, TTUTA again expressed its “dismay at the rushed, reckless implementation of the ill-planned CAC.” Signed by TTUTA’s general secretary Peter Wilson, the release said the association’s continued calls for the ministry to revisit its approach and timetable for implementation had fallen on deaf ears. 


The release outlined six reasons why the CAC was ill-planned. Among them were:
• not enough training for teachers
• different timelines given to different districts
• lack of storage at schools for student portfolios 


“Schools throughout the country are not on a level playing field given the vast disparity in the available teaching resources for the different subject areas,” the release said. “In such a situation and given the ad hoc, extempore approach to planning, procedures and implementation, the CAC will not be meaningful or fair to all the nation’s children.


“It will simply become another stressful hurdle to be overcome in a high-stakes competitive examination process and will reinforce the ‘over testing’ culture that has gripped our primary schools.” The association called for the ministry to hold meaningful consultations with TTUTA, other stakeholders and the national community, and called for the CAC to be postponed until a “well-designed” programme is developed.


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