Jan 14, 2021 Letters
Due to the intervening holiday season, there has been relative quiet on the CXC front since mid-December. The public, however, should not confuse this with the issue being settled or appropriately resolved. There remains a plethora of outstanding grievances, made worse with each passing day as the futures of too many students continue to be held in abeyance.
Firstly, the review regime implemented by the Caribbean Examinations Council continues to be a bone of contention, with respect to both the length of the process and its substance. On Sunday, 18th October 2020, Sir Hilary Beckles, Chairman of CXC, at a press conference called to discuss the conclusions of the Independent Review Team, asserted that the turnaround time for the return of submitted requests for reviews would be one week. Yet, 11 weeks later, on January, 4th 2021, CXC issued a perfunctory statement suggesting that only 80% of the requests for review had been processed, with no indication as to when the remaining 20% will be completed. There has clearly been a significant breakdown in the review process which has yielded such a disgraceful delay, yet there has been no acknowledgement of this fact on the part of CXC nor an explanation as to the possible reasons for this.
As it relates to the substance of the review process, with the majority of reviews returned, the data suggests that to a large extent there have been a few changes to grades, but in nearly all cases, these reviews only yielded a one grade point upward adjustment. For example, a student who, unmeritoriously, received a Grade III in a CAPE subject, and who benefited from the review, would only now see a Grade II on their grade slip, which is certainly an improvement, but in many instances, remains an unacceptable grade, when juxtaposed against the student’s capacity and actual performance in the components of the examination.
The sporadic and unreliable nature of the review process clearly demonstrates that the review regime is fatally flawed, as it has not remedied, in a substantial way, the glaring failures of the original marking process. This is compounded by the fact that a cloud continues to linger over the review regime as important questions have remained unanswered, including who conducted the reviews. Clearly, the individuals who took part in the original marking process should not be reused for the review process, as it is inappropriate for one to be called upon to review one’s own work. But if new persons were contracted to review scripts do these persons have an acceptable level of experience both in the secondary school system and in the correction of examinations? Without this crucial information, it is difficult for the public to accept the outputs of an almost clandestine process.
Secondly, the communication of the Council, which was an issue highlighted in the Independent Report, continues to be weak. As aforementioned, self-imposed deadlines are missed without explanation or apology, and there continues to be no recognition on the part of the members of that branch of the Caribbean education ecosystem that students have been substantially, materially affected. In a vacuum of information, fear preponderates. As the days pass, that is the reality confronting many students and their parents as their applications to university, in many instances, continue to be delayed, while the slow process plays out, or other students, already at university, cannot reapply for lost scholarships without the improved CAPE grades.
This tragedy is compounded for many by the uncertainty surrounding this year’s examinations, as well as the very worrisome plans in the pipeline for the same. At a time where many students in the region cannot get back to the classroom, and so the ability to cover the same amount of content as in previous years is hindered, it is impractical to hold an examination with the same format and expectations as previous years. It is also unthinkable to seek to do so with a delayed timetable, such that remarkable dislocation is caused to the 2021/2022 academic year.
While many would have wished that 2021 would have been a welcome change from last year, the reality is that, thus far, the midnight hour on the 1st of January ushered in little change in circumstance. There is however still time to salvage this year. I hope that the Ministries of Education will continue to bring pressure to bear upon the Council so that this issue may be equitably and quickly resolved. The expiry date for this iniquity has long passed.
Student Advocate (Barbados)
Jan 23, 2021Kaieteur News – The Guyana Jaguars wrapped up their practice matches in preparations for next month’s Regional Super50 tournament set for Antigua with the last of three games yesterday at the...
Jan 23, 2021
Jan 23, 2021
Jan 23, 2021
Jan 22, 2021
Jan 22, 2021
Kaieteur News – It was never meant for bureaucratic laws to be cast in cement. Context is everything in life. There... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]