***Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of stories analysing the Education Data Report 2021.***
How prepared a student is for high school could depend on which public primary school they attend.
The level of student performance varies significantly among Cayman Islands public primary schools, with differences in results only partly explained by assessments of students’ pre-existing “thinking abilities”, according to the Education Data Report 2021.
‘Cognitive Abilities Test’
In Years 4, 6 and 9, government schools evaluate students’ “reasoning (thinking) abilities” using what is known as the ‘Cognitive Abilities Test Fourth Edition’ (or CAT4).
CAT4 is not a test of ‘knowledge’ (like the CSECs or GCSEs) but is designed to assess a student’s ability to think — i.e. in terms of words, numbers, shapes, and space.
The Data Report sorts the student population into 3 groups based on their CAT4 results — those predicted to perform ‘below expectations’, those predicted to perform ‘at expectations’, and those predicted to ‘exceed expectations’ — and then breaks out those groups by individual primary school.
The Data Report also divides students into 3 groups based on their ‘actual results’ at the end of Year 6, as assessed by teachers — again breaking out the groups by primary school.
The outcome is that you can see how many students at each school were expected to fail, pass or excel, and then how many students actually did — in four main subject areas: Reading, Writing, Mathematics and GAPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling).
The number of Year 6 students differs from school to school. The smallest schools are in the least-populated districts of Cayman Brac, East End and North Side and have between 13 and 21 students in the year group.
The largest schools are in West Bay, Red Bay, Savannah and Prospect and have between 56 and 77 students in the year group.
(See a previous story to get enrolment and maximum capacity numbers for every public school.)
In terms of CAT4 results, anywhere between 14% and 71% of students were predicted to perform ‘below expectations’ in Reading, Writing or Maths, depending on the school and the subject.
(No student in any school was predicted to perform below expectations in GAPS, and no student did, according to the actual results.)
Largest predicted groups, ‘below expectations’:
Smallest predicted groups, ‘below expectations’:
In the top CAT4 group, ‘exceed expectations’, the proportion of students ranged from 0% to 8%.
(That excludes GAPS, where 36% to 81% of students were expected to exceed expectations.)
No students in any schools were predicted to exceed expectations in Reading. Only 1 student, at Red Bay Primary School, was predicted to exceed expectations in Maths.
Largest predicted groups, ‘exceed expectations’:
- Writing: 8%, Prospect
- Writing: 7%, West End
- Writing: 5%, East End, Joanna Clarke Primary
Smallest predicted groups, ‘exceed expectations’ (Writing):
- 0%, Creek and Spot Bay
- 0%, Red Bay
- 0%, Theoline McCoy Primary School
When it comes to actual results at the end of Year 6, the variance between schools was far greater than the CAT4 predictions.
The proportion of students who actually performed ‘below expectations’ ranged from 0% to 100%.
Largest actual groups, ‘below expectations’:
- Writing: 100%, East End
- Writing: 73%, Theoline McCoy
- Writing: 63%, Red Bay
Smallest actual groups, ‘below expectations’:
- Maths: 0%, Creek and Spot Bay
- Reading: 7%, West End
- Writing: 7%, West End
The proportion of students who actually ‘exceeded expectations’ ranged from 0% to 30%.
(That excludes GAPS, where 40% to 93% of students actually exceeded expectations.)
No student in any schools actually exceeded expectations in Reading.
Largest actual groups, ‘exceed expectations’:
- Maths: 30%, Sir John A. Cumber Primary
- Writing: 25%, George Town
- Maths: 15%, Creek and Spot Bay
Smallest actual groups, ‘exceed expectations’:
- Maths: 0%, East End, Theoline McCoy
- Writing: 0%, Creek and Spot Bay, East End, Edna Moyle Primary, Joanna Clarke, John Cumber, Prospect, Theoline McCoy, West End
Not meeting predictions
Depending on the school and the subject, sometimes students’ performance exceeded predictions and sometimes the actual results lagged far behind predictions.
Largest increase in ‘below expectations’, actual vs. predicted:
- Writing: 86 percentage points, East End
- Writing: 53 points, Red Bay
- Writing: 43 points, Theoline McCoy
Largest decrease in ‘below expectations’, actual vs. predicted:
- Reading: 50 points, West End
- Maths: 35 points, West End
- Maths: 31 points, George Town
Some schools had success, particularly in Maths, with increasing the actual number of students who ‘exceeded expectations’ compared to predictions.
Biggest gains, actual vs. predicted, ‘exceed expectations’:
- Maths: 30 points, John Cumber
- Writing: 23 points, George Town
- Maths: 15 points, Creek and Spot Bay
- Maths: 14 points, West End
These 4 charts show the predicted and actual results for Reading, Writing, Maths and GAP in each public primary school.
This table lets you explore and sort public primary schools according to the percentage of students who were predicted to perform 'below expectations', who actually performed 'below expectations', and the difference between the predictions and the actual results.
|School||Subject||Students||Predicted Below||Actual Below||Difference Below|
|Creek and Spot Bay||Maths||13||15%||0%||-15%|
|Sir John A Cumber||Maths||77||45%||35%||-10%|
|Creek and Spot Bay||Reading||13||23%||15%||-8%|
|Creek and Spot Bay||GAPS||13||0%||0%||0%|
|Edna M Moyle||GAPS||21||0%||0%||0%|
|Edna M Moyle||Maths||21||24%||24%||0%|
|Sir John A Cumber||GAPS||77||0%||0%||0%|
|Edna M Moyle||Writing||21||36%||47%||11%|
|Sir John A Cumber||Reading||77||26%||38%||12%|
|Sir John A Cumber||Writing||77||22%||40%||18%|
|Creek and Spot Bay||Writing||13||35%||53%||18%|
|Edna M Moyle||Reading||21||24%||43%||19%|