Time to update 11 plus, says educator
Director and educator with Ifill Education Inc., Akil Ifill believes it is time for the Ministry of Education to consider updating the content children are tested on in the 11+ examination.
The private educational institution is currently preparing thirty of the three thousand, three hundred and thirty (3,330) students expected to sit next Tuesday’s Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination (BSSE).
Ifill told Loop News much of the information students are tested on is now ‘irrelevant’.
“I think that the exams in Barbados need updating. We have students that are high flyers, we have students in the middle; we have everybody. The common entrance exam, in my opinion, needs updating; it is not as relevant. Students here only do the three exams, the Composition, the Language Arts and the Math whereas in other jurisdictions they do way more and the tests are harder.”
He also said students within the program are sometimes given tests from outside of Barbados and often struggle to score consistently high grades.
“We give our students exams from around the world and a student that is scoring high 90’s, like one of my students, when I give them this stuff they will struggle to score 80 [per cent] and it is a lot more difficult.”
Ifill also commented on the pitfalls students experience while completing the 11+ exam which he notes often causes them to score lower below expected. He said failure to properly check over is one such example, adding students are not being taught how to work backwards through the Mathematics sums to ensure their answers are correct. He added oftentimes students simply ‘glance over’ their answers and often do not spot errors.
In reference to concerns about declining scores in the Mathematics paper over the last three years, Ifill said he believes a lack of focus on comprehension has resulted in students not being able to tackle worded problems on the examination. He said when students read the questions they do not properly ‘break it down’, adding the area of comprehension should be given more attention.