The Ministry of Education shared the following highlights of student performance and student recognition in the 2020 Secondary Entrance Assessment.
Students were assigned to secondary schools based on the established placement policy, which comprised six (6) criteria:
(i) Order of Merit
(ii) Choice of school
(iv) Principals’ 20% selection
(vi) Multiple Birth
Students, who were unsuccessful in obtaining a score sufficient for placement into one of the four schools of their choosing, were assigned based on their place of residence and availability of spaces in the schools within their community of residence. If spaces were unavailable in the nearest school to the residence of students, then they were placed in the next nearest school with available spaces.
In keeping with the Concordat and the practice of previous years, principals of government-assisted secondary schools were permitted to select 20% of their student intake.
Students who were born after August 31st, 2007 (less than 13 years) and whose average score was 30% or less but who had not previously sat the SEA will be required to repeat the year and re-sit the SEA in 2021. Students who attained a composite weighted standard score of 30% or below and who were born before August 31st, 2007 or who were doing the assessment for a second time were placed in a secondary school based on choice of school or residence.
Number of students who wrote the SEA exam
19 201 students wrote the SEA in 2020, of which 50.42% (9 681) were male and 49.58% (9 520) were female. This continues a trend, first observed in 2010, of more males writing the SEA. This is the highest number of students writing, over the last 11 years.
Components of the SEA 2020
In 2020, the SEA comprised three (3) subjects, namely, English Language Arts Writing, Mathematics, and English Language Arts. English Language Arts Writing and English Language Arts, which are in the same cognate area, are combined and together contribute the same percentage to the final score as Mathematics. This is the second year of SEA with the new test format, which was designed to assess higher order skills in Mathematics (reasoning and analysing), and English Language Arts (for example, inferring, evaluation and appreciation).
Overall Performance in SEA 2020
In 2020, the mean Mathematics score is 52.9. Similarly, the mean English Language Arts Writing score is 57 and the mean English Language Arts score is 60.7. In 2019, the mean Mathematics score was 53.4; the mean English Language Arts Writing score was 50.1 and the mean English Language Arts score was 53.8. Comparisons with previous years is limited because the structure of SEA was fundamentally different.
Performance by Bands
In 2020, the performance in SEA was also analysed according to the percentage of students attaining three important thresholds. The percentage of students scoring above 50% on the SEA in 2020 was 63% and the percentage of students scoring 30% or below was 11%. The percentage of students scoring above 90% was 1.61%. These percentages are reflective of a normal distribution of scores for norm-referenced assessments that are suited for accommodating the placement of students. In 2019, 52% of students scored above 50%, 0.69% scored above 90% and 13.7% scored 30% or below.
Most Outstanding Results
In 2020, female students attained the distinction of the Top 3 students in SEA. The Top Male student placed seventh.
Several schools and students are therefore recognised at this time, including students from our special schools, given the high priority that we have placed on children with special needs in terms of the attainment of Vision 2030 – a mature society- and the Educational Policy Paper 2017-2022.
In this regard, the MoE recognises today’s three top SEA performers, the top male student, two students from special schools and five students who have excelled from schools which have been working hard to improve overall academic performance.