August 21, 2015
29 GHS fourth form students reap success in CSEC Maths

In addition to being the top school in this year’s CSEC examination, the teachers and students of the St Vincent Girls High School (GHS) have extra reason to be overjoyed.

As part of a pilot project, 29 fourth form students were successful in the June 2015 CSEC Math exam, with 23 girls achieving grade one passes and six, grade two.{{more}}

Acting headmistress Michelle Beache, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, said for some time now, the school had been thinking of having their girls do the CSEC Math in Form Four, then CSEC Additional Math in fifth form to bridge the gap between CSEC Math and the first year Math at the college level.

“The students, when they go out to the Community College, tend to have a problem doing Math because of the wide gap between the CSEC Math and the Math that is done at CAPE. We wanted to see how well we could bridge that gap,” Beache explained.

She said the project was the brainchild of headmistress Andrea Bowman who, knowing the quality of students at the school was quite confident that they would excel, if given the opportunity.

The fourth form students writing the exam this year were chosen in 2013 from one of the third forms and a second batch of third formers began the programme this academic year.

The acting headmistress admitted that the school authorities came in for some criticism for not spreading the opportunity across the board. She, however, explained that the programme is experimental and while some students did well, others struggled.

“We do not want to put the students at a disadvantage, so whereas we are experimenting we don’t want to hinder our students’ progress.”

Beache noted that because of the success of the students, the school has decided to continue with the programme in the new academic year and extend it to a second set of third formers.

The students had to be taught three years of Math over a two-year period, which meant that the teaching of certain topics had to accelerated.

The acting headmistress also revealed that some of the fourth form students outperformed some of the students at the fifth form level.

She said initially, some of the parents were apprehensive about their daughters’ readiness to sit the exam, but they decided to give them a chance.

“Had they not passed, they would have been able to sit it again this year.”

The school’s pass rate for Math has gone up to 99.36 per cent, compared to 97.1 per cent last year.

Beache credits the excellent performance of the students to the school’s Math teachers, especially department head Gillis Francis.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke with some of the fourth formers, who also credited Francis with their success. They said he had more faith in them than they did in themselves and it was this that made them do so well.

Additional Mathematics bridges the gap between fifth form and the first year level Math at the college level. Students are taught Algebra and Functions, Coordinate Geometry and Trigonometry, Introductory Calculus, and Basic Mathematical Applications. (CM)