Disputed math test will not be obligatory on Saba

Caribisch Netwerk reports that the disputed mathematics test that is obligatory in The Netherlands, Bonaire and Statia will not be introduced on Saba. This confirms the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW).

From next year onwards, all high school students across The Netherlands will have to take the mathematics test as a mandatory part of their final exam. Only on Saba there will be no compulsory maths test, because there is already a voluntary math test that is taken in English. It has not been explained how the test taken on Saba will compare with the test in the other part of the The Netherlands.

‘The math is subject to a lot of criticism in the world of education. Critics say that the mathematics test is too much focused on story sums. The test would rather focus on understanding the language than test arithmetic competences.

However, the Ministry of Education stated, that the compulsory test takes into account both the language skills required to perform the test as well as the cultural differences between European and Caribbean Netherlands.

In the coming years, students on Statia will still make the test in Dutch. Only after the summer vacation, English will be introduced as language of instruction from the eighth grade. The students going to high school next year will be the first ones to make the mathematics test in English.

Jet Bussemaker
Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Science (OCW)

Minister of Education, Jet Bussemaker, has decided that only five percent of the students in The Netherlands may fail the mathematics test. However, for the Caribbean Netherlands no maximum figure has been defined. ” This is mainly because of the relatively the small number of students. Already a few number of students that would fail the test would result in a high number in percentage terms, ” a spokesperson of the Ministry explained.

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