Synthesis Summary

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Thesis: The GSAT examination should be addressed as an inadequate measure of scholastic ability and, hence, is unsuitable as the main tool used in the current academic system.

Two recent articles have shed light on the public consensus showing displeasure with the GSAT examination. The first article, by Tyrone Reid GSAT ‘Unsuitable’ published in the Gleaner on Monday April 6, 2012, speculates at the appropriateness of the content of the exam and also its strict means of assessment. The second article Revisit GSAT Issue for Better Placement by Wayne Campbell published in the Jamaica Observer on Monday April 30, 2012, challenges the effectiveness of GSAT as an assessment tool and cites ways in which it is disadvantageous to the educational system.

The first major concern pointed out by these sources is that the GSAT is not appropriate in assessing a student’s true scholastic ability. (Reid, 2012) In GSAT ‘Unsuitable’, both Dr. Karen Richards and Margaret Bailey agreed that the finality of the exam results, in relation to the limited scope of assessment, proved GSAT to be unfair to the students. Furthermore, (Campbell, 2012) in Revisit GSAT, spoke about the flawed structure of how questions are marked on the exam, citing that it is easy for students to evade certain types of questions completely. The consensus on the literature is that the GSAT, as a one-time-per-year exam, is too limited a sample of someone’s academic ability and is a sample that is too easily skewed.

The second major concern is that the GSAT is actually damaging the educational system and that this attack is twofold. The first problem is stated in GSAT ‘Unsuitable’ by Patrice Harrison of GSATready. She pointed out that the content of the exam seem irrelevant, stating that while the topics are sound the specifics of the questions ask for information that is extraneous for the student. The second problem comes from (Campbell, 2012) in Revisit GSAT,...
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