All primary four pupils in public schools will, in November, this year, write the new National Standards Test (NST) to assess their knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, which is central to the new pre-tertiary education curriculum.
The National Standards Test is in response to Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan from 2018 to 2030, which prioritizes improving learning outcomes at all levels by creating a national standards-based assessment at the pre-tertiary level, to measure the quality of learning achievements before the end of Junior High School.
The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei-Adutwum, announced this at the Minister’s media briefing, in Accra on Sunday, organised by the Information Ministry.
The briefing provided an opportunity for the Education Minister to update the public on President Akufo-Addo’s education policies and programmes and achievements chalked during the first term in government (2017-2020) and plans for the second term (2021-2024).
Dr Osei-Adutwum said as part of government’s quest to build a robust education system, it would introduce the National Standards Test to assess and generate evidence on students’ achievement against set national competency standards in literacy and numeracy.
The test, he said, would inform targeted remedial interventions to ensure that students achieve the desired proficiency in literacy and numeracy.
The basic four pupils would be the first batch to undergo the novelty test this year.
“The NST reflects increasing globalisation and interest in global mandate. It represents an overall shift in emphasis in assessing the quality of education inputs to learning outcomes,” he stated.
The Minister said the Test would not only improve learning outcomes, but also reduce “Learning Poverty” across the country.
According to him, it wouldn’t be beneficial for pupils to wait for 11 years before writing their first national examination, Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), winch made it difficult to rectify literacy and numeracy challenges.
“As such, a periodic national exams on primary pupils will give the Ghana Education Service enough time to intervene in the lives of the children,” he stated.
“The World Bank talks about learning poverty, they say 53 per cent of students in their 10th year of various countries cannot read for understanding and Ghana is not an exception.
“That is why the President says we need to transform the space, and transformation of the space means that all fourth graders this year are going to be tested across the length and breadth of the country.
“Every one of them will sit for this exam so that we see the challenges that are confronting us as a nation, then we give them one year when they’re in primary five to make the necessary interventions,” Dr Osei-Adutwum added.
He said similar tests had been done in Singapore and other countries and would be a reality under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo.
The Minister called on parents and guardians to support government’s new initiative to develop and transform the education sector.“So parents, our goal is simple, we want to know whether your child can read or not and so a report will be generated and given to every single parent in this country in mathematics and literacy for them to really know whether their wards are doing well or otherwise.
“Then we will have the opportunity to track them longitudinally,” he emphasised.
The Minister also stated that government would capitalise on technology to digitise the education system to track the development of students.
He said a dashboard was currently being developed that would assess and evaluate the attendance and performance of both teachers and students in every metropolitan, municipal, and district assembly.