BARBADOS: 11-plus student numbers declining
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, May 9, 2007 - The number of students sitting the Barbados Common Entrance Examination, which is two years shy of its 50th anniversary, continues to decline.
Next Tuesday 3,525 students will sit the exam - the lowest for the 21st century. Since 2001 the number of students has been falling at an average rate of 595 per year.
First introduced in 1959, the exam, also called the 11-plus, has been a source of debate within recent years specifically about the method of testing and its suitability to advance students from the primary to the secondary level.
This year, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Idamay Denny, said that 1,773 male students and 1,752 female were sitting the exam. Six students were taking the exam early, while 204 had been deferred until next year.
Last year 227 deferred until this year.
Twenty-six students had been exempted this year.
“(For) those who have been exempted, it means that they have some level of intellectual deficiency which makes them not competent to write the exam at all. These students will be placed appropriately in special education settings in the system,” she said.
Denny also revealed that a visually impaired student would be taking the examination in braille, while another one – the victim of a stroke, would take the test via computer.
Students will as usual be tested at all public secondary schools across the island. However, those who would normally take the examination at the Louis Lynch Secondary School will use the Hindsbury Primary School.
The exam is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am and should be completed by 1:00 pm.
“One of the things that encourages nervousness and anxiety is being late, therefore you should make sure that you set out to get to the centre as early as possible,” she said, while also urging parents not to place undue pressure on the children and advised them to make sure that their wards have the necessary tools with which to write the exam.
The examination will comprise Composition, Language Arts and Mathematics papers. Results should be ready approximately three weeks from the date of the exam.