A top official of the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has raised concern about the number of students who failed to show up to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) final exam back in January.
To make matters worse, CXC Deputy Chair Marcia Potter said some of these exams were paid for by Barbadian taxpayers.
“It is cause for concern that taxpayers’ money is being used to pay [for exams] and candidates are not showing up to write the examinations,” she said, explaining that while absenteeism has always been an issue, particularly for the January sitting, this year was particularly noticeable with 41 per cent of students failing to show up to take Office Administration; 37 per cent English B; 31 per cent Principles of Accounts; 30 per cent Information Technology and 20 per cent Social Studies.
In view of the situation, CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch said the Council has been forced to relook its approach to the annual exam and plans to provide more detailed feedback to candidates on their performances in the future so they would know exactly their areas of strengths and weaknesses.
In addition, Cumberbatch said the CXC was preparing to fully roll out its online “Learning Hub” by the end of September as a means of providing additional resources to candidates to aid in their test preparation.
Overall, the Council recorded mixed results for the 13 subjects offered in the January 2018 sitting for which there was an increase in both the subject and candidate entries. A total of 40, 654 subject entries were received, compared with 34,560 in 2017.
There was a spike in the number of candidates to 20,149 , up from 16,568 in 2017.
The CXC Registrar pointed out that the majority of entries – 13,099 – were for Mathematics, followed by English with 11,050, and Social Studies with 3,517 entries.
A marked improvement was seen in the area of Natural Sciences.
“Performance in Biology saw the most significant improvement with 71 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades – Grades l – lll. This improvement was as a result of better performance on all three profiles: Knowledge and Comprehension, Use of Knowledge and Experimental Skills,” Cumberbatch said.
He also reported that there was a 26 per cent improvement in the performance of students in Human and Social Biology, with some 70 per cent of entries having achieved Grades l – lll.
“For Chemistry, 47 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades this year, while for Physics performance levels remained the same over the two-year period at 65 per cent,” he added.
Improved performances were also reported in IT, with Cumberbatch reporting that 72 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades.
“Performance on English A remained the same as in 2017 with 56 per cent of entries achieving the acceptable grades, while for English B, 27 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades this year. The Subject Awards Committee reported that in several cases, candidates scored zero on a number of questions on Paper 02. Some candidates wrote no answers and others simply wrote back the question,” he explained.