Minister of Education Ronald Jones has rubbished claims by the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) that serious “blunders” occurred in the marking of this year’s Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams, resulting in a number of students receiving failing grades.
The union today demanded answers from officials of both CXC and the Ministry of Education about the results of this year’s Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC).
“We are asking a number of questions that we want answers from both CXC and the Ministry of Education. We are asking if there is any truth to the statements made to members of staff at a certain institution that boxes of examination scripts in at least one subject area were found at the Ministry of Education having never been delivered to CXC.
“We are asking if any of this had anything to do with the subsequent ungraded results by some students in the system,” BSTU President Mary Redman said.
She was speaking to the media following a four-hour meeting with her membership at the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) headquarters.
Redman also called on CXC to clarify claims that some students who had received ungraded results later got the mark amended to grade 3.
“All of the children got the lowest grade considered to be a pass. We are asking CXC how does that square against the known and varying capabilities of the students and how is that impacting their acceptance rate for students to do A-levels and further studies in those same subject areas?
“This may have been their most favoured subject,” said Redman, who argued that this was compounded by the fact that parents had to pay to have the discrepancy reviewed.
However in a sharp response Jones told Barbados TODAY that he had no idea what Redman was talking about, stressing that issues raised about grades had all been amicably settled.
“If Redman is privy to what CXC does and what grades there were, then that is her business. I am not familiar with any grades of any student in Barbados at this time so I really can’t comment. The issue of correcting scripts and everybody getting grade 3, I don’t know about any of that. If Redman wants something to talk about then let her go ahead. The Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Examination Council have amicably dealt with all issues raised,” Jones stressed, adding that “outside of the individual queries the Ministry of Education has no issue with CXC.
This is the start of the school term and the usual foreplay is about the emerge, so I am not even getting into that because the children did exams in May and issues queried had been marked so that children could take a decision on their academic life. Anything else is nonsense and rubbish as far as I am concerned,” Jones told Barbados TODAY after Redman had earlier warned that there could be disruption at the start of the new school year next week unless there was reinstatement of a teacher at St Michael School.
However, while not backing down from the threat entirely, Redman said today the BSTU was preparing to write both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Civil Service to request a formal hearing on the protracted matter, which has been outstanding for nearly a year.
She did not give a timeline in which the ministry was to respond, but said the union was not prepared to wait indefinitely.