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CEBM highlights outstanding SEA results

By Lara Pickford-Gordon

A full analysis is yet to be done; however, the results of the 2024 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) were outstanding at particular RC schools. Despite this, the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) said more work is needed as schools recover from the impact of Covid-19.

“Some of our schools have done extremely well and the principals are very pleased, but recovery is not complete. While there is evidence it has begun, consistent with the findings of research conducted in other jurisdictions, recovery efforts in our schools must continue for a few years,” said Sharon Mangroo, Chief Executive Officer of the CEBM.

Seventeen students from Maracas RC wrote the SEA. A first was three students secured placing for St Mary’s College. There were also other noteworthy placements for Caribbean Union College, St Charles High School, Tunapuna, and El Dorado East. The outcome is attributed to the collective efforts of the teaching and ancillary staff, plus “prayer, hard work and determination”.

The Catholic News learned that a quality assurance system was implemented where the school’s performance is regularly reviewed and rated. Identified weaknesses are addressed with programmes and re-evaluated.

This process involves “a lot of reflection, plans to improve, evaluation”. End of term tests identify areas of weakness for students, enabling plans to be developed for the new academic year.

Mangroo said, “This school has been in a process of transformation since 2016 when it was judged under Academic Watch by the Ministry of Education. Using, among other interventions, the Quality Assurance programme introduced to Catholic schools by the CEBM, this school has improved steadily since then, under the leadership of a dynamic principal and a committed and engaged staff.”

Maracas RC promotes the Catholic ethos. Before the exam, all staff and students prayed for the success of the named SEA students. The school credits the support from the St Michael’s RC parish which  provided financial support, stationery, and toiletries.


Nelson Street Girls’ and San Fernando Boys’

Nelson Street Girls’ RC staff took the unprecedented step of delaying two SEA classes from sitting last year because they were not “academically ready” post-Covid.

Sixty-nine students sat the exam, with the “majority” securing their first or second choices. Although there was concern about some children, the school was pleased with the “quality and calibre” of schools attained.

A collaborative approach to exam preparation included “team teaching” where different teachers handled subjects, exposing children to varied teaching styles and methods.

Educators are confident that their students are prepared for secondary school. While some parents were upset their child was kept back last year, there was joy with the results. The Catholic News heard that Nelson Street Girls’ RC ensures its students are prepared to aim for tertiary education and develop “instinctive” learning.

San Fernando Boys’ RC did well, with 52 students sitting the exam and over 50 per cent securing their first choice. The Catholic News was informed that the Victoria Education District  usually performs best in education areas, and San Fernando Boys’ performed above the area average.

Despite the results, “there is always room for improvement”. Gains were seen in all areas especially Mathematics, where students achieved over 90 per cent. The average score for Creative Writing also improved from 2023.

The CEBM could not provide a full analysis of results without all data from the Ministry of Education. A review from a sample of 16 of the 118 RC primary schools, based on submitted results, was provided. This sample was not representative.

“Of the sixteen schools, four were outstanding, seven were a solid average, and six fell below average. However, these general statements do not properly reflect the performance of individual children and indeed schools,” The Catholic News was told.

Results from Scarborough RC, Sacred Heart Girls’ RC and Granville RC were “outstanding for yet another year”. At Sacred Heart, 101 of 108 students performed above average or excelled. The CEBM stated, “in most of the remaining schools there was the typical mixture of performances.”