SOME sections of the 2023 Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam were leaked on social media on Wednesday – the day the crucial exam was held in primary schools across the country.
However, in commenting on the leak when Newsday called her about it, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said she wanted to assure all that the exam was in no way compromised.
She said the police service's Cybercrimes Unit is investigating to determine the source of the initial posting of the papers.
A total of 18,889 students were registered to do the exam which began at 8.30 am.
Around noon, documents with the maths and creative writing components of the exam began circulating on social media.
Asked about this, Gadsby-Dolly said the leaked documents "would not have been accessible to students writing the SEA, as they were already engaged in the examination process; and based on the rules enforced by assessment supervisors and centre managers, would have had no access to their cellphones or other devices.
"Therefore, the integrity of the SEA 2023 has not been compromised."
Asked to elaborate further, she said it was likely the original post with the papers came from "the limited category of personnel exposed to examination papers on the opening of the secure packages, which could only have taken place upon their unsealing on the day of the examination.
"If this is indeed so, it is highly regrettable."
In 2018, personal data of SEA students were leaked online via a document.
President of the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Martin Lum Kin said he heard rumours of the leak but had not seen any of the documents.
He said the union got no report of any irregularities or disruptions at any of the exam centres, "so it is fair to say the exam was invigilated successfully."
Gadsby-Dolly also thanked the ministry's staff who "ensured the examination was conducted without major incident."
Newsday understands there was only a brief disruption at the Longdenville Government Primary School owing to a nearby bushfire which was quickly contained and the students were able to resume the exam.
In addition, one denominational school in Port of Spain only saw four students sit the exam as the principal did not think the rest of the Standard 5 class was ready.
This comes after the ministry's announcement in January that Cabinet had approved the implementation of a remediation programme for 80 primary schools whose students scored 30 per cent and below in the 2022 SEA exam.
Speaking to Newsday, head of the Roman Catholic school board Sharon Mangroo said only a few of the Standard 5 students of that particular school in Port of Spain were prepared – by teachers – throughout the term in the run-up to the exam.