Barbadian teachers are being offered advice on how to lighten the work involved in correcting school-based assessment (SBA) projects for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).
Former CXC Head of Examinations Administration and Security Susan Giles said the secret lies in getting back to basics.
“What I think is important for teachers to remember is that school-based assessment in many instances is a two-year programme. And rather than leave it as a one-shot thing for fourth and fifth term, what I would suggest to them is that they utilize their first, second and third terms as good as possible so that they stay true to what SBA is. SBA is a process, it is not a one-off product to be marked,” Giles told Barbados TODAY.
“It wouldn’t be considered as so much work, but I think a lot of it has to do with that they need to get back to the basics of how SBAs should be. What some of them may not even know is that in the old days of CXC, it used to capture year one SBA scores as well as year two. Not just a final score.”
The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has been engaged in a long running battle with the Ministry of Education over the SBAs, with the union insisting its members will not mark the projects unless they are paid for this service.
The BSTU has maintained that SBA is a private examination that falls outside the curriculum, and it adds significantly to teachers’ workload.
However, Giles said it would appear that in some schools teachers were waiting until the end of the second year to mark the projects, which could account for complaints “about how much work it is and how much marking it is”.
Stressing that she was not prepared to enter the debate over whether or not teachers should be paid for the yearly evaluation exercise, the former CXC official told Barbados TODAY it was up to teachers to make the SBA a lot more “teacher friendly”, explaining that the process could be made a lot easier if teachers stuck to clear deadlines.
Giles added that assignments that were not part of group projects should be given as homework or should be done in class.
“You make it class work or ask the students to do it as homework. That is all I am saying. Don’t make it extra. Don’t add it as an extra. Schools in the region that do well are schools that really and truly where the process is well managed. But I think what I have to make clear is that it is a process. SBA is a process it is not a one-off product marking. It is not expected to be done like that,” she insisted.
The former CXC administrator said the SBA was designed to help students who did not do well “in the examination environment”, adding that parents also had a critical role to play in ensuring their children meet the deadlines.