Aug 06, 2020 Letters
It is understood that the CSEC examinations are being used to prepare our students for the world of work. However, as a concerned parent and a former CXC student myself, I wish to express my most profound displeasure with the format that this year’s examination would have taken. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CXC was forced to abandon the paper two component of the examination, allowing for the paper one to be written by students after five years of secondary schooling. It must be noted that the marks given for the students’ School Based Assessments (SBAs) would also be used in the final analysis. The fact of the matter is, these SBAs contain a high percentage of teachers’ input since many students especially those from the lower secondary schools fail to complete this assessment to an acceptable standard. Hence, the respective subject teachers are tasked with correcting and re-correcting until they (SBAs) are up to CSEC standard and then allocating marks which is technically the teachers marking their own work. With regards to the paper one, the students have been joyfully claiming that a very alarming number of questions are being repeated from previous years. So in essence, the paper one component of the examination, which is being administered contains many questions which the students had access to prior to the examination. This leads one to ask the question: “Is this year’s CSEC examination truly designed to determine the competence of the nation’s children?”
As I see it, this year’s examination without the paper two component was a test of the students’ ability to remember answers for questions from past papers. Surely, the purpose of examining the students’ competence on the syllabus would have been defeated. I recalled a few countries around the Caribbean were against this format, but for some reason, the current structure was still implemented.
I learnt that CXC has a policy where no paper one should be leaked to the public. However, a simple check on YouTube and the regular bookstore would tell otherwise. With this in mind, no wonder teachers complain about the little interest shown by students about the little interest shown by students with regards to the content for the various subject areas. The students recognized that they are given assistance with their SBAs by teachers and the paper ones are easily accessible, so why worry too much about content.
With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to continue, I sincerely hope that CXC does not continue with this examination structure for 2021 because the world of work will be a nightmare for these students.
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