The Education & Employment Directorate recently announced school results for 2018. In primary, school results rose significantly from the previous year after the change in reporting standards in 2017. At Prince Andrew School the GCSE results were somewhat lower than in 2017, but well above results in 2015 and 2016.
The Education Committee recently received a detailed report and analysis of the results from primary schools and the progress achieved. Overall, primary results were very encouraging, with significant improvements in performance in both English and Mathematics reflected in the report.
Prior to 2017, Year 6 primary results were reported as the percentage of students reaching Level 4 or above. Following changes to the UK National Curriculum however, new assessments and measures have been introduced in St Helena schools. The changes to the National Curriculum have meant that students must now meet much more challenging learning objectives. The National Curriculum Levels which were used to report student attainment are no longer used.
From 2017, schools have been required to report the percentage of students reaching the new standard, ‘At Age Related Expectations’. There is also a new standard for high achievement, ‘Above Age Related Expectations’. Student performance is assessed using computer-based testing. These assessments provide parents and teachers with detailed feedback about children’s strengths and areas for development. Students in Years 2-6 take these assessments at the end of the year, but only Year 6 results are considered summative assessments and reported publicly. Other results are used to guide students’ learning as they progress through the school.
The target for primary schools was set at 60% achieving ’At Age Related Expectations’ in both English and Mathematics. For 2018, 56.1% of Year 6 students achieved ‘At Age-Related Expectations’ in English (compared to 50% in 2017) and 41.5% achieved ‘At Age-Related Expectations’ in Mathematics (compared to 30% in 2017). The report also noted Year 6 students who performed at the higher standard designated ‘Above Age-Related Expectations,’ with 14.6% of Year 6 students achieving at this level in English and 6.4% in Mathematics. The Education Committee praised the hard work and commitment of school staff in achieving these results and noted the significant improvements over the past year.
Results from Prince Andrew School were also shared with the Education Committee. The headline results for GCSE’s was 37.1%, reflecting the proportion of students who earned higher grade passes in five subjects, including English and Mathematics. This result was below the 2017 results of 45%, and also slightly below the school’s target of 40%, but was well above results in 2015 and 2016. Prince Andrew School was particularly proud of the Science results, which were the best ever seen in the school. In Coordinated Sciences, 85% of students received higher grades, while in the Single Science entries, the success rate was 65%.
This is the second year of exams since GCSE reforms began in the UK last year. Changes to various qualifications are still taking place, and new qualifications are being added by exam boards. While some subjects are still graded in the traditional way, with letter grades from A* to G, the new grading system uses numbers with higher numbers meaning higher grades. Under the new system, number grades from 4-9 are considered ‘good passes’ just as letter grades from C-A* have been.
This means that reporting grades are not quite as straightforward as in past years. This year, for example, the top performing female GCSE student earned a double A* grade, three A grades, one C grade, one 6 grade and one 4 grade. The top performing male students earned one A grade, five B grades, and two 5 grades.
Prince Andrew School also reported A-Level results from its Sixth Form students. There were six students in Year 13 in 2017/18, five of whom were studying full academic programmes. Collectively, these students sat 17 examinations, with an overall pass rate of 82%. The top performing Year 13 student received B’s in Psychology and English Literature and a C in English Language.
The Director of Education, Shirley Wahler, congratulated students, teachers, and parents, on the work achieved in 2017/18. She said:
“Overall, we see very positive trends in attainment across both the primary and secondary sectors. I am particularly pleased with improvements in both English and Mathematics at the primary level. This lays the foundation on which Prince Andrew School will build future success. The Prince Andrew School science results are also very encouraging and reflect the tremendous potential of St Helena students. There is still work to do to improve our results, but we see progress right through the system, and schools are working hard to help every student achieve their full potential.
“As we celebrate Education Appreciation Week, I want to thank all our education staff for their commitment to the care and education of the children of St Helena and for the hard work that they invest in improving the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.”
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5 October 2018