Teachers are concerned about the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC) review process for the controversial 2020 examinations says President of the Barbados Secondary School Teachers Union (BSTU) Mary-Anne Redman.
Speaking during an online press conference held by the Caribbean Coalition for CXC 2020 Redress on Thursday, Redman said the union is concerned about reports that there are students who have not requested reviews, but have received improved grade amendments while students who have made review requests are receiving grades that demonstrate no change at all.
The union head also said teachers want to know who reviewed the School Based Assessments (SBAs), and whether they are the same teachers who originally corrected them.
“We want to know, if that is the case, what systems were put in place to ensure that any markers did not re-examine or review the same paper that he or she might have originally marked.
“We are still mystified at the allocation of grades where top-performing students were ascribed disappointing grades and vice versa,” she said.
The union president also indicated that teachers are concerned about their professional image and the perception created by the statements emanating from CXC, and the image that their students now have of them as capable teachers in the system. She suggested that CXC has shifted any culpability away from the council and charged that its statements “demonized” all teachers in the region who operationalize CXCs syllabi to prepare students for their exit examinations.
“This has been very traumatic and demotivating for teachers in the region. The statements actually demean and belittle the profession by casting aspersions on the professionalism, integrity, honesty and capability of the region’s teachers who have all been accused of awarding grades to students that do not accurately reflect the effort of the student.
“It has been suggested that teachers have been inflating the grades of the students on their SBAs and the Registrar’s comments further state that CXC has been aware of this happening for a while,” she said.
“But the proof was provided this year since the CXC collected and corrected, what is sometimes stated as all SBAs in the region and at other times larger number of SBAs… It is still unclear as to how many were actually corrected by the CXC.
“… how many SBAs were actually second-marked and to what extent then did this affect the final outcome of the awarding of grades to those SBAs.
“What is also unclear to us is who has been correcting the SBAs as assistant markers and examiners for CXC because we know that over time, there has been an exodus of teachers who are willing to correct exam papers for CXC given the pittance that they are paid. With that exodus and with CXC scrambling to obtain assistant examiners, there has been a change in criteria for persons to correct exam papers as advertised by CXC,” Redman added.
The BSTU President also indicated that in the past, persons correcting exams had to be teachers equipped with a no less than two years’ teaching experience in the subject at the examination level. However, Redman said this criterion has since changed and now the requirement is for persons with familiarity in the subject area and some exposure to the syllabus content.
“To what extent then, does the quality of the persons being hired by CXC reflect the disparity in grades between the original teacher marker and the moderator this year?”
Earlier this week, CXC said it would provide a further update on the review process next week via a media briefing.