The Relevance of Aptitude Tests in Primary Schools

As a learning resource developer, when asked to come up with a resources of any sort, the first thing that we do these days is to run off to the internet for some inspiration and ideas.

This was the case with the Nigerian Quantitative Aptitude Tests for common entrance exams. After several hours of googling online for just basic information about the ‘quantitative aptitude’ with no  luck, I began to ask myself  “Of what use is quantitative aptitude to the Nigerian child if no other country is interested in it?”

How about reforming some of these things to make them a bit more relevant to the times that our precious little ones are growing in. How about things like numerical reasoning? How about proper diagnostics to know the ability level of each child in the first place? How about tests that involve real life scenarios that will encourage children to think creatively, make decisions and give explanations? This type of aptitude tests that our children are having to deal with are tests usually taken by professionals to see how well they can cope with learning something new quickly and independently.

Okay, if we argue that quantitative aptitude is our thing and we want to keep it, how does it improve the children’s learning? Will it have any impact on work life much later? why? What is the point of the quantitative aptitude tests?

We can live with it if we get some explanations from the Ministry of Education but our suggestion is that exams generally in Nigeria should be reviewed. What skills are we testing? What knowledge are the children demonstrating that they have acquired? Why do they have to have that skill at that level? Where does it lead to? Where is it on their learning ladder? Why is it being thrown at them at the end of primary 6 rather than being slowly built up from primary 1 or 3? What do we do with the results?

So many things need reformation in Nigeria but education should be at the top of our priority list if we hope to experience the change that we so dearly desire. The true solution to our problems lie within us and we have to start acting now so that we can live to experience a positive new generation with a different mindset and approach to life.

Gladys Esue Briggs writes for Maths Junction (The Nigerian Maths Curriculum Online).