Some Marshall Islands academic results the lowest in the Pacific

7:04 pm on 3 August 2016

Academic results for some students in the Marshall Islands are the lowest in the Pacific.

Fifth and seventh graders achieved the lowest test scores in the region according to results from the Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment.

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Marshall Island test results show about a half to three quarters of students across the grades were not able to understand subjects to their grade levels.

Our Marshalls correspondent Giff Johnson said the results reflected the education system rather than the students.

"Students are like children everywhere, they're willing to learn, but it's just getting completely qualified teachers into the public school system, same with principals, and managing accountability in a government public school system has just been a huge challenge for the Marshall Islands."

Giff Johnson said efforts were being made to improve the education system, and some more positive results were emerging.

Results cause concern

The Marshall Islands Commissioner of Education voiced disappointment at the poor academic results.

But Evelyn Konou explained they were employing new strategies which should boost students' scores.

She said the movement of people from the outer islands to the cities was causing crowding in urban schools.

According to her, the Edcuation department is introducing teacher aides to help in bigger city classes, and training teachers in smaller rural schools to teach multiple grade levels.

Ms Konou said they were also trying to recruit teachers from rural areas.