The automatic promotion policy which allowed students to advance to a higher grade regardless of their performance has been deemed one of the causative factors that led to a decline in the percentage pass rate at President’s College (PC).
This state of affairs was particularly evident when the results of the 2013 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination were unveiled in 2013.
This is according to the school’s principal, Ms Carlyn Canterbury, who has headed the East Coast top school for the past four years.
According to Canterbury, “We cannot deny that…when Automatic Promotion was introduced the first batch of students wrote exams in 2013, and there is a direct correlation between that Automatic Promotion and our 2013 results.”
“We have had children who went through the system not having to repeat (when they failed) and that was evident in our 2013 results which was 86.1 per cent pass,” asserted Canterbury.
While this year the school produced an 88.8 percent pass rate when the CSEC results were unveiled, the performance in fact reflected a gradual improvement since the decline in 2013.
The performance this year, according to Canterbury, reflects efforts at improving the school’s matriculation rate, that is, an increased number of students who obtained grades one to three passes in five or more subjects including Mathematics and English.
“Our matriculation rate this year has improved to 80 something percent. Nationally a 50 percent and over matriculation rate…is what is good and acceptable and so ours is high.”
But based on a five-year analysis (2010- 2014), the grades one to three percentage pass rate of the school saw 98.4 percent pass rate in 2010; 97.9 percent in 2011 ; 96.2 percent in 2012 ; 86.1 percent in 2013 and 91 percent in 2014.
Canterbury however noted that the school has been working towards increased improved performance. It continues to perform well and the teachers are very hardworking and committed.
“We do have strong parent support although there is room for improvement.”
Another factor that has largely affected the performance of the school is the lack of permanent teachers for four subject areas. The Principal pointed out that “we continue to struggle in the areas of French. Spanish, Physics and Chemistry…Had it not been for those subjects our percentages pass rate (this year) would have been way up in the 90s. Already we have put systems in place to deal with the French and Spanish.”
While the school has already secured a graduate from the University of Guyana to cater to the subject area of Chemistry, Canterbury disclosed that “Physics continues to pose a problem.”
“What happens is that most times the Physics and Chemistry teachers are part time teachers and we don’t have much control over them…Sometimes they are more committed to UG than President’s College.”
She however noted that while the four subject areas continue to be a struggle “to get it right”, “our students continue to perform well in the areas of Maths and English as well as all of the other subject areas.”
Among the top performing CSEC students PC produced this year are: Nurendra Gopal (10 grade one passes), Premeshwar Ramnauth (10 grade one passes), Venise Davids (eight grade one passes and three twos), Kellince Jagdeo (eight ones and two twos), Shukwan Andrews (seven ones, one two and two threes), Ederle Stephans (six ones, five twos and one three), Nazeem Welcome (six ones, three twos and three threes), Mahendra Seepersaud (six ones and three twos) and Hamraj Narine (six ones, two twos and one three).
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