I was reminded this week, during a presentation at my school given by a retired History teacher, of the privateers who terrorized the Caribbean. Their enormous success was as a result of flying false flags.
Regardless of their country of origin, they were pirates, pure and simple. On their ships, they carried the flag of every nation from Europe, which had an interest in plundering the resources of the New World. When they saw a ship in the distance flying a French flag, they raised the same flag so they could fool the approaching flotilla that they were one of their own. This gave the pirates a chance to avoid enemy fire while preparing for the imminent success of capturing bounty. Deception tends to be ingenious.
Which brings me to the false flags in education. Has anyone wondered why, in June 2020, with CXC cancelling Paper 2 and retaining the SBA component and Paper 1, the predicted grades assigned to each student were not considered?
Cambridge used predicted grades in 2020 and asked for supporting evidence beyond the assessment of SBA project work. Surely, CXC could have done the same? Why not? CXC knows predicted grades are false flags and cannot be trusted!
I know of at least one school whose administrators decree that no student be predicted a failing grade. In fact, I do believe that many CXC candidates are not even made aware of their predicted grades.
Surely, students should be aware of their potential and what it will take to achieve it. It is simply not right that this information is withheld. Teachers know months in advance how their students are performing and what grades they are likely to achieve. Therefore, it follows that there is enough time to affect improvement through teacher-student-parent collaboration.
What bothers me far more is the false flag of the CXC Passing Rate statistics calculated by schools. When there are six forms of 30 students at each year level studying a subject for five years, and these 180 students sit qualifying exams early in Form 5, some students fail and are not entered to sit the CXC.
So the pass rate is submitted like this: pass/qualify NOT pass/students who have been taught for five years. False flag.
Let’s assume a mid-level school has a pass/qualify rate of = 50/75 students. That’s 66 per cent passing. OK, but not great. But the truth is actually 50/180 (as all students had the same teaching for the same duration). That’s a 28 per cent pass rate. That percentage denotes the efficacy of the teacher’s expected performance in preparing every student for the CXC exam. The submitted pass rate of 66 per cent is a false flag of that school’s teaching competence. Deception protects the school from the taxpayer holding it accountable.
Meanwhile, failing the qualifying exam removes the option to take the exam which, as far as I am concerned, impinges on the students’ right to opportunity. As an example, I was told by my daughter’s Spanish teacher at school that I should expect her to fail Spanish. It was fortunate that her school entered her anyway. Meanwhile, her extra-lessons teacher predicted a Grade 1, explaining why the disparity in predicted grades existed. It was a matter of how she was being taught at school versus my daughter simply refusing to learn by regurgitation.
She achieved a Grade 1 with AAA profiles in Spanish. Fortunately, my daughter attended a school that liked to boast at Speech Day that 100 per cent of its students took exams in all of their subjects. If there was ever an example of too much pride and too little industry, this was it.
However, the false flag at this current time that concerns me most is that every syllabus states the number of teaching hours which are required for students to acquire the necessary information and master the prerequisite skills for exam success through TEACHING.
With students on reduced contact teaching time, and being expected to master content independently, those hours that are essential do not even come close to preparing students for the achievement that could be theirs. False flags.
So, the question is, what are we going to do with the false flags in education? Especially as we know in our gut, they are there.
When TRUST, the most valuable of all human currencies, is misplaced, parents have to step in as active participants in their children’s academic journey or we fall victim to a system that flies false flags to protect itself.
A parent is always a child’s best resource. This means parents need to download (free from www.cxc.org/examinations) the subject syllabi and monitor both teaching of topics and student proficiency. Then, parents must find a way to supplement the shortfall.
Opportunity lost is destiny diminished.
Students MUST BE TAUGHT or they will fall through the cracks. This may be imperceptible at first, but cracks widen over time and a five-year crack is enormous. So, get involved early and monitor teaching input and your child’s progress closely. This is the only way to avoid the inevitable result of trusting a false flag.
Julia Hanschell can be contacted on [email protected]