30 Jun 2003

Marshall Islands elementary school students show improvement

10:23 am on 30 June 2003

Marshall Islands public elementary school students have achieved their highest average test score in a decade, according to a newly-released Ministry of Education report.

High School entrance test scores averaged just 29 (out of a total of 100) in 1993 and since then only cleared the 30 mark once, until this year as the average test score jumped to 36.7.

The Marshall Islands has had one of the worst public education systems in the Micronesian area for many years, according to regional comparisons published by the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, a Hawaii-based agency that supports educational initiatives in the Micronesian region.

Education Secretary Biram Stege says several factors contributed to this year's higher score levels.

She says the presence of more English speaking teachers contributed to the improvements, and in addition a growing sense of competition and greater consciousness in island schools and their communities is pushing teachers and administrators to improve.

Ms Stege says the Ministry's development of a 'mentoring' system to support teachers on remote outer islands is also having an impact.