The controversy surrounding the marking of school-based assessment (SBA) projects reemerged Tuesday night from a different angle, when one teacher who marks oral projects accused the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) of behaving as though “Massa Day” was still alive and well.
Secondary school teacher Charlette Alleyne-Greene complained of inequality in the treatment of those who mark the subjects, stating that only the teachers who conduct oral assessments in English are paid.
“I am the history teacher. I am teaching my children that ‘Massa Day done’, slavery ended,” Alleyne-Greene said after CXC Registrar and Chief Executive Officer Glenroy Cumberbatch had delivered a lecture on the subject at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed.
“The language teacher is getting $62.50 [per hour] to conduct that oral [test] which would be seen as a Paper 3 in that exam. I’m not getting a dollar; not a cent to conduct three drafts for 60 students.
“That’s is not fair. I think it is about time that there be equality being shown to the markers of the SBAs across the board, not just in one area but all the subject disciplines,” added Alleyne-Greene, who said she continued to mark the SBAs at her school and had received commendation for work done with her students.
Her complaint came against the backdrop of a March for Respect last week organized by the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) to protest against Government’s insistence that they would not be paid for marking the projects.
The BSTU has maintained that marking SBAs, which are administered by the CXC, was not part of their job description and they should be paid for the extra work.
The union, whose objection to correcting SBAs date back to 1997, has also contended that the CXC has been paying some teachers for marking other papers.
Cumberbatch last night confirmed that language teachers “are paid still to conduct orals”, but told Alleyne-Greene, “first you should ask and find out who pays the language teachers to conduct the orals”.
Meantime, retired Deputy Principal of the University of the West Indies Professor Pedro Welch adopted a position different from the aggrieved educators, saying he felt SBAs were helpful to teachers.
“It was an aid to me,” he said, reflecting on his teaching days when he marked nine SBAs per fifth form student.
“I never viewed SBAs as an imposition. In fact, I saw it as inviting me to follow a curriculum, and to test and assess my students in response to delivery of that curriculum.”
Welch also queried whether the system had changed to justify the BSTU’s complaints, to which Cumberbatch suggested the grading exercise might have become even easier.
“Instead of doing those nine [projects] you would do one project now for history. And that one project can also be a
group project. It will be for more than one student within that process.
“We have looked at it. We tried not to remove that aspect of teachers’ contribution to information that will help us make judgements of the pupil’s ability, but we’ve tried to make it in a way that works for both purposes – to assist teachers in doing it, but also to give good reliable information to us.”
Cumberbatch said teachers had been an integral part of CXC from its inception, and they had pushed for SBAs.
“The role of the teachers was very well defined and very well stated from the outset. And as part of that role the Jamaica Teachers Association lobbied very hard for the Caribbean Examinations Council to include as part of its assessment the teachers’ views and the teachers’ contribution.
“And that was the genesis of the school-based assessment, which was then promoted around the region by JTA through CUT [Caribbean Union of Teachers] to become an important part of teachers’ involvement in the assessment and the contribution of their toil and their work into formulating the final assessment of the student,” the CXC official said.