The year 2017 has been a historical year for national assessments in Samoa.
With a full complement of diagnostic assessments in literacy and numeracy at Years 1-6 including science literacy at Year 6, to the achievement testing of Year 8 students in the seven curriculum subjects, the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.) is ensuring no stone is left unturned and no child is left behind.
The Minister of Education, Loau Solamalemalo Sio, firmly believes that education will improve and that strategic actions such as the new assessments administered in 2017, will provide the needed baseline to support transformational education in a 21st century environment.
Part and parcel of this strategy are M.E.S.C’s plans to ensure that parents understand and are actively aware of the changes in assessment and the refocusing on student learning.
For example, individual student reports will be made available so that parents receive a report for each subject that is easy to read, detailed and informative. This should lead to parents playing an even more active role in their learning. The on flow of benefits due to a primary education system that is well established and nurtured, will be greatly felt at the secondary level of schooling and beyond.
The 2017 national primary assessments provide diagnostic information which the Ministry for the first time, will be able to provide a complete picture of student abilities across all primary schools and year levels.
This type of assessment is important as it identifies gaps in students learning which teachers and professional development can then better target.
The Year 8 S.P.E.C..A from 2013-2016, tested for aptitude to indicate a student’s natural learning areas of strength.
The change to achievement testing in 2017 and future years, better support Samoa’s outcomes based education system in determining what a child can or cannot do.
Such information is critical if we are to provide targeted teaching and effective learning.
Year 8 Students totalled 4,751 individuals who sat 7 subjects – English, Samoan, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, Health & Physical Education and Visual Arts.
The National Primary Assessments involved approximately 6,000 students who sat Year 1-3 and close to 5,200 for Years 4-6.
This is a first in the history of education in Samoa to run diagnostic assessments for all primary levels (except Year 7).
It was also a first to assess all curriculum subjects at Year 8, notably Visual Arts and Health and Physical Education.
The Samoa School Certificate (S.S.C.) and the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.) results will be released today, Thursday 11 January 2018.
The Ministry have implemented new measures in their quality assurance processes and are hopeful that these will support the timeliness and accuracy in which the results are made available. Parents and students may uplift their results directly from the school principal.
A total of 41 Colleges sat both the S.S.C. and S.S.L.C. National Examinations. The number comprises 23 government colleges and 18 mission and private colleges. At Year 12, a total roll of 2,243 students sat the S.S.C. and at Year 13, a total of 1,910 students sat.
All results are provisional to allow students time should they wish, to apply for a recount of their examination marks in the various subject/s.
The provisional result period is for two weeks and the last day for application of recount is Thursday 25th January.
It is an interesting time for education in Samoa and although a more detailed analysis of the secondary and primary results will be forthcoming at the M.E.S.C. conference on 22nd January 2017, the real challenge lies with the implementation, support and monitoring of each forward step.
M.E.S.C. is resolute with their support for teachers and are unyielding in the provision of accurate information from which schools can move all learners forward.
No doubt the M.E.S.C.s annual conference later this month will be well attended with principals and educators intently keen on listening to the analysis of 2017 results and how they can use these to improve student performance in 2018.