Jamaica Observer: Too much focus on testing says AISK

Jamaica Observer: Too much focus on testing says AISK

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

EXECUTIVES of the American International School of Kingston (AISK) believe that public schools are administering too many tests on the nation's children, and should instead focus on good teaching and the encouragement of independent thought to improve learning.

Nicola Melhado, special projects manager at AISK, said testing of students is overdone in Jamaica and that learning can be achieved without so much emphasis on tests.

"I am not an expert on the Jamaican education system," Genzer admitted before adding, "one of the things I see here is testing kids for the purposes of filtration. You are testing kids and filtering kids. That is a very dangerous road to go."

Genzer noted that this system is not unique to Jamaica as it happens in parts of the United States as well.

He said that testing is done at AISK to improve learning, and involves having the results delivered to the students quickly, sometimes within hours.

Head of AISK Dr Brian Horvarth also pointed out that the old way of testing with pencil and paper was obsolete, and the new methods were more of an assessment which not only ask students what they know, but "how to do something and to be something".

The level and amount of testing of Jamaican students has been questioned for years, with some experts saying the GSAT is too difficult. Also, the intense competition to gain a place in the top secondary schools through the GSAT creates great stress on the young candidates each year.

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