Categorized | National News

Ongoing Learning Loss Assessment Post Covid-19 — Students will be pulled from classes an hour a day for literacy and numeracy sessions

By Licec Basitan
Journal Staff Writer

During her annual back to school national address on Sunday evening, Education and
Technical and Vocational Training (MOETVT) Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said
“there is a lot of ground to cover and recover” in the 2023/2024 academic school year
and education officials do not intend to just go with the status quo.
“Education is a human right and is critical to the future of our nation. It dictates how
our young people will enter the future and what our country looks like in the years to
come,” Minister Hanna-Martin said.
For the second academic year, post Covid-19, students have returned to face-to-face
learning in the public school system. Minister Hanna-Martin said officials within her
ministry are “determined to pause and take a critical look” at the country’s
educational system, “assess past outcomes, measure current results and research, and
study strategies for reform and progress” as students and educators continue to
struggle with the impact of learning loss.
“All of the research globally, in both developed and developing countries, has shown
massive learning loss suffered by students at all levels, but with children from poorer
communities being hardest hit. These countries are themselves grappling with how to
redress these deficits,” the minister said.
“It was mandatory that The Bahamas have a full understanding of how our own
children and young people have been affected so as to stave off what has been
forecasted as being potentially catastrophic to many young people all over the world
and to their respective countries.
“In light of what we seek to achieve, we therefore cannot simply accept the status quo.
We have clearly envisioned what our public-school students must manifest and
therefore much work is underway to revise, test, analyze and research strategies and
approaches to assure the greatest effectiveness for achieving these goals and
objectives. A component of this process is nearing completion and we expect
imminently a preliminary report to be delivered to the ministry from the University of
The Bahamas.

“This preliminary report emanates from research commissioned by the ministry to
investigate factors which impact the learning of our children in The Bahamas and will
assist in the formulation of new strategies and a review of policies so as to maximize
student attainment based on empirical research.”
Studies completed by education officials at the start of 2023 to assess the learning
challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, indicated substantial learning loss.
Minister Hanna-Martin revealed that over 40,000 children at all levels in public
schools across the country including pre-primary were tested.
“This testing has yielded empirical data which every teacher can access for every
child in his or her class.
The results of the universal standardized testing have
revealed that nationally 44 percent of our students require intervention. This is a
significant finding which requires intense and sustained interventions for all students
affected,” Minister Hanna-Martin said.

“Remediation efforts by the ministry, started as early as May of this year in some
schools; with ongoing assessments being completed to mitigate gaps and foster
solutions. The ministry will provide personalized, self-paced, targeted support to
address the learning gaps. We will also provide training for parents so they can assist
children at home. Students will be pulled out of classes for an hour every day for
literacy and numeracy sessions.
“I urge parents to position themselves on the frontline of their children’s education,
closely monitor their progress and interact more with their teachers. On our part, we
will do all that is necessary to help your children, our children, recover and catch up,
stabilize and get back on track.”
With English and Math being core subjects, Minister Hanna-Martin said her ministry
is “commissioning a comprehensive mathematics study which will analyze teaching
methods and learning patterns” additionally, at the start of this school year, all grade
one students, during this first term, will concentrate on literacy and numeracy solely.
“This is to ensure that the curriculum at the lower primary level is realigned to meet
the critical needs of students to promote mastery of foundational skills. We will
monitor the performance of every student with a view of providing targeted support.
‘Every Child Counts’, and ‘NO child will be left behind!’” the minister said.

“Further, as part of the commitment to track and intervene as necessary, new
protocols have been implemented for the GLAT exam.

“Beginning with this year’s results which have already been shared with schools, a
communication strategy will be deployed to ensure information flow with all
stakeholders, especially with the relevant teacher and parent. Appropriate responses
will promptly follow, which will identify students at all levels of performance and
where necessary create interventions which will include pull-out sessions and the
monitoring and tracking of students’ progress as they move into succeeding grades.
We will not accept a state of affairs where children are simply moving through the
system feeling ‘lost’ and frustrated with diminished self-esteem in what may feel like
an ‘alienating environment.’
“The dedicated team of the Ministry of Education is working extremely hard. Our
administrators are working hard, our teachers are working hard.We will not accept
mediocrity; we will not contemplate defeat. We believe in our young people and have
high expectations of their success.We will fight for the future of our children. In this,
there can be no compromise.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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