It was Day One of the Primary School Examinations and more than seven thousand five hundred students sat the exams across the country; about three hundred and eighty more than last year. The students were fairly confident of their performances in the English and Science tests. Of note is that last year, science passes averaged at seventy four percent while English stood at a disappointing fifty-eight percent. News Five Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Primary School Exam, a summative testing tool for all students in standard six, is once again taking place at testing centers across the country. Today the students took English and Science.

Yvonne Davis

Yvonne Davis, Principal Education Officer, National Exams

“Overall there are seven thousand five hundred and fifty-six students and this represents an overall six percent increase from last year. The numbers indicate that there are three thousand seven hundred and fifty-nine female candidates and there are three thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven male candidates. Most of the students are coming this year from the Cayo District; it is a first. Normally the biggest number would come from the Belize District. But this year a total of one thousand nine hundred and ninety-four are coming from the Cayo District with Belize District with one thousand nine hundred and eighty-seven students. Toledo as usual registered the least number of students with seven hundred and forty nine of them. Today they write two English papers: paper one which is the fifty item multiple choice paper and paper two which is the composition paper where they are required to compose a letter and a short story, a little narrative and they must respond to questions we set for them.”

Aaromy Gomez

Following the exam, the students appeared to be content with their performance.

Aaromy Gomez, St. Joseph Primary School

“It was a bit challenging, but not very hard.”

Isani Cayetano

“What were the subjects that you took?”

Aaromy Gomez

“English and Science.”

Isani Cayetano

“In English were there any specific questions that you may not have understood based on what you were or were not taught in standard six or all the way leading up to today?”

Aaromy Gomez

“No I really understood most of it.”

Isani Cayetano

“What about the science?”

Aaromy Gomez

“It was quite easy too.”

Shenelle Magandi, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Primary

Shenelle Magandi

“We had a lot of practice with English so it really wasn’t that difficult, but I find the science was more easier.”

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of your preparations for that exam, what was it like?”

Shenelle Magandi

“Umm, good. It was good and easy too.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you get a chance to talk to some of your classmates after the exam to find out how they found it to be?

Shenelle Magandi

“Only with she; only one person.”

Isani Cayetano

“You think that overall everything went well in terms of the first two exams. Are you prepared for the math exams and the others to come?”

Shenelle Magandi

“Yes, the first one make me more relief.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you take any kind of tutoring or extra classes to prepare for P.S.E.?”

Shenelle Magandi

“No.”

Isani Cayetano

“What’s your level of confidence having set the first day of exam? You think yo pass?”

Shenelle Magandi

“More than likely.”

Martha Grajales

Martha Grajales, Student 

“My preparation was that my teacher gave us a lot of practice and it was very easy.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did you study a lot? Did you find yourself doing a lot of extra classes or after-school work to get prepared for today?”

Martha Grajales

(Shakes head no)

Isani Cayetano

“What about English?”

Martha Grajales

“It mi kinda hard; like three questions mi challenging.”

Isani Cayetano

“What were some of the questions that they asked you in the English exam that you found to be a bit difficult?”

Martha Grajales

“I don’t remember. I don’t recall the questions.”

Isani Cayetano

“Did they ask you about subjects and verbs and sentence structures and those type of things?”

Martha Grajales

“Yes, but I found those easy. The ones that were hard was in a passage that they gave you and then it hard for you to find it in the passage.”

There were some candidates that required special consideration.

Yvonne Davis

“There are other students or candidates whom we refer to as private candidates. And these categories are reserved for those persons who probably have dropped out of school or enrolled in some other institutions where they are getting or trying to complete their primary education and are requiring the certification. So we have about twenty-three of them this year. Within the seven thousand five hundred and fifty-six students who sit, we catered to students with special needs because they are a part of the system. We do have a one size that fits all system and so is the examination. And so every year, students with special needs apply or the principals register these students to take the exam. This year we have a total of one hundred and forty-three who are registered and the secondary schools who are administering the exams have made accommodations for eighty-three of them ranging from all types of special needs including hearing impairment, visual impairment; some physical impairment as well.”

Day two is on Monday, May sixth, and they will sit for Math and Social Studies. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

There were some unregistered students who took the exam so the total amount of candidates will increase on day two.

Channel 5