Education Ministers to discuss CXC review team’s draft report

official findings to be released Tuesday
– over 20 recommendations for immediate implementation

Regional Education Ministers will meet on Monday with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) to discuss a report into the concerns which followed the release of grades last month. 

The draft report was generated by an independent team which reviewed the modified approach for the administration of the July/August 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advance Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

The five-member team, led by retired Principal of UWI’s Open Campus Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald, submitted its report to the examinations body on Friday.

CXC Chairman Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

CXC’s Chairman Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said the review team’s focus was primarily on examination procedures, allocated examination results and general performance expectations.

“The Council, having received the report, discussed its contents for almost three hours and expressed full satisfaction with the quality of the research and integrity of the investigations,” Sir Hilary told a virtual media conference.

According to the CXC Chair, the draft report shows that the modified approach is “educationally and technically sound, that the system of marking and adjudication of performance and assessments are technically sound and quality assured and that CXC conducted its remit in a professional manner, befitting its reputation and competence.”

He added that given the fragmented nature of the eco-system in which schools and ministries depend on CXC, the problems identified with recent results could have been handled with a more effective communication response.

Given the structural change of examination assessments, the report said there have been some misunderstanding, particularly about the nature of the changes and especially within the school setting. That misunderstanding, the report said, contributed to the anxiety in students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.

The review team has also laid out 23 recommendations, some of which are for immediate implementation and others to constitute reforms and upgrades to the system, in the short to medium term.

Following the release of the results of the 2020 examinations last month, thousands of students in Guyana and across the region expressed dissatisfaction with their grades.

Guyana’s Education Minister Hon. Priya Manickchand has since been at the forefront, making interventions where necessary.

Twenty schools in 15 CSEC and CAPE subject areas received ungraded results. Affected CSEC subjects included English A, Mathematics, Principles of Business, Office Administration, Human and Social Biology, Theatre Arts, Physical Education and Sports and Economics.

The affected CAPE subjects were: Geography Unit 1, Caribbean Studies, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science, Accounting Units 1 and 2, Law Unit 1 and Pure Mathematics Units 1 and 2.

The Minister’s intervention saw a speedy resolution to grades for most of those schools. CXC’s Registrar Dr. Wayne Wesley said the request for reviews and queries this year is not new to the Council. However, he said, there has been a “slight increase” in instances in 2020.

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