CXC records decline in overall CSEC performance
…but CAPE remains stable
There has been an overall decline in the students achieving Grades One through Three at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination this year.
This revelation was made by Caribbean Examination Council’s (CXC) Senior Assistant Registrar, Examinations Development and Production Division, Dr. Gordon Harewood, yesterday as he offered an overview on the CXC body’s 2012 examinations.
According to him, this year, 69 per cent of the candidates obtained such grades (Grades One through Three) at CSEC. Grades One through Three are usually regarded as the grades that stakeholders accept, Dr. Harewood noted, adding, “you would notice that I am not saying that these are passing grades because we don’t
talk about passing or failing at CXC…”
However, the performance at CAPE, according to Dr. Harewood, can be regarded as very stable. At CAPE, Grades One through Five are considered to be acceptable with the CXC body recording an 89 per cent of candidates obtaining such grades over the years.
Speaking on the difference between the two examinations, Dr. Harewood said that CSEC takes into account all the improvements that are taking place in education in terms of making it universal throughout the Caribbean. “CSEC is a very exciting population; it is a dynamic population but it does contain some students who really should not be writing CSEC but they choose to do it rather than some of the other offerings that we have…it is more volatile than CAPE, and historically it has a selective population base having been successful at CSEC,” he explained.
He sought to deliver a brief assessment of the examinations, pointing out that CXC has set out in its syllabuses, specific objectives and content through which students are graded. CXC has also adopted a multi-trait, multi-method approach which entails SBAs, multiple choice and structured questions. Dr. Harewood said that “we like this because it gives our examination system something that we like to call robustness…”
He is satisfied that the performance, though indicating a decline in Mathematics and English grades, should not be seen as “despairing.”
Meanwhile, Senior Assistant Registrar, Examinations Administration and Security Division, Mrs Susan Giles, said that CXC this year observed a six per cent increase in its CAPE entry. This, she said, was characterised by the registration of some 28,000 candidates of which 9,300 were private entrants. This is a new record since there were over 110,000 subject entries.
Though the increase can be considered moderate, Giles said that CXC views it as fairly good since those who undertake the CAPE examination are normally those who represent the top 30 per cent CSEC performers.
Guyana’s 2012 CAPE entry, according to Giles, represent an 18.8 per cent increase in candidates which represents the second largest increase moving from 627 to 741 candidates with females (445) outnumbering the males (296).
“We feel pretty good that this increase is moving in the right direction and we expect that they will continue to grow because we are introducing new examinations in the next two years for digital media and agriculture science and performing arts…”
Also CSEC, the CXC body’s flagship examination, saw an increase in candidates amounting to just fewer than 157,000, with about 57,000 representing private candidates. Giles said that while this only represents a three per cent increase “we recognise that it is levelling out” adding that the subject entries this year were a total of 635,000 which represented an eight per cent increase.” Guyana had 13,494 candidates who registered for the examination this year representing an increase of over eight per cent.
CXC this year added a new subject, Additional Mathematics, and according to her “we had just about 1,900 candidates writing. That is what I personally call a niche examination where those very bright students would write and we expect that to increase as well.”
The forum also saw remarks from Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand and CXC Registrar, Dr. Didacus Jules and was certainly not short of cultural presentations from pupils from a number of local schools. This year’s top CXC examinations performers as well as past top performers were in attendance yesterday as well as Ministers of Government and senior education officials and parents.