The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) will embark on this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) in the traditional face-to-face format from June 14th to July 16th, even as Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases soar throughout the region and in-person attendance at school remains suspended.
Details of this year’s plan were revealed during a virtual press conference that included Minister of Education for The Bahamas Jeffrey Lloyd who is Chair of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD), CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley, and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Professor Clive Landis.
According to Minister Lloyd, the decisions were made during a recent meeting that included careful review from CARICOM’s Ministers of Education in which five proposals were presented for the administration of this year’s exams.
Ministers agreed that papers 1, 2, and 3 of the CAPE CSEC and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) would all be conducted in their original format and results will be made available sometime in September.
Taking into consideration the loss of learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the council has agreed to provide “broad information” on the topics that will be covered in each paper 1 exam and persons desirous of deferring their exams will also be allowed to do so without penalty.
Deadlines for the School Based Assessment (SBA) component have also been extended by one month and students desirous of deferring will be allowed to submit their assessments at a subsequent sitting. The council will however continue with the 100 per cent moderation of grades.
According to Dr Wesley, the decisions were made with consensus from all relevant stakeholders with the intention of giving students the best opportunity to succeed under the current circumstances.
“Our focus this year was to ensure they would be consulted at the national level for a determination as to when best examinations would be offered in that territory. From that national consultation, all the relevant stakeholders would have been consulted and it is from that perspective that a recommendation would have been made to the Caribbean Examination Council to the respective territory on their national position,” declared Dr Wesley.
The council has recorded more than 500,000 CSEC subject entries and 102,000 prospective candidates, while for CAPE there have been over 107,000 and 27,000 candidates.
Dr Wesley noted that the dates have been set, but he acknowledged that in each territory the COVID-19 situation could result in some disruptions.
Meanwhile, the CXC has adopted a joint strategy with the UWI that will allow prospective undergraduates to be selected based on their first year CAPE results, provided that they have registered to sit level II. According to Dr Wesley, similar discussions have occurred with universities outside of the region given the impact of the modified testing period on students’ applications for schools of higher education.
Last year’s examinations results were shrouded in controversy when students and parents across the region protested the “erroneous” grades. Among the issues raised were significant disparities between the SBA grades given by teachers when compared with the grades provided by the CXC.
So significant were the issues that an Independent Review Team (IRT) was assembled which subsequently identified numerous issues arising from last year’s sitting. Among the recommendations was a mandatory remarking of grades requested by students.
During Monday’s press conference, officials revealed that 91 per cent of CSEC reviews were completed while 93 per cent of CAPE reviews were finished. Unfortunately for the upset students, only 0.54 percent of the CSEC reviews and 1.77 per cent of CAPE reviews resulted in positive grade changes.
Expressing his satisfaction with the review process, the CXC registrar indicated that a number of deliberate actions have been taken based on the IRT recommendations including a series of SBA training sessions for teachers. ([email protected])