Saturday 24 October, 2020

Growing concerns over 'inconsistencies' in CSEC/CAPE results

Amid growing complaints of inconsistencies in relation to some students' CSEC/CAPE results, officials at Jamaica's Ministry of Education are assuring that those issues will be addressed.

At the same time, a petition, which has been receiving traction online, has called for an urgent and thorough review of the results released by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) on Tuesday.

The petition was started by Kim Harper on the Change.org website shortly after the release of the results, and has been directed towards CXC and the CARICOM Secretariat.

It stated: "This is a petition created to DEMAND a COMPLETE and THOROUGH review of the 2020 CXC examination results.

"By signing this petition you are requesting a THOROUGH review of ALL examination papers submitted for grading following the sitting of the the 2020 CAPE and CSEC examinations, and are alleging that there has been a mistake of the behalf of the Caribbean Examinations Council in regards to graded results distributed to candidates via the Online Student Portals (as many students believe the grades distributed to not accurately reflect their performance in the exams. Edited 23/9/2020) and request IMMEDIATE reconsideration and review of ALL the results."

The nationality of the petitioner has not been confirmed.

Up to Wednesday afternoon, 5,795 persons from across the Caribbean have signed the petition, which set a target of 7,500 signatures.

"That grading scheme is complete stupidity... 85% is NOT a three," one person, who signed the petition, wrote.

Added another signatory: "I was told that the class activities plus School Based Assessment would be use to help grade my CXC including the exam. 

"I think I deserve a better grade because I know I worked really hard plus I studied those pass paper multiple choice questions and most of them came back on the exam paper so I don't understand how I failed." 

Due the COVID-19 pandemic, exams were delayed and held between July 13 and August 4, this year. 

Additionally, CXC said it would rely on the Paper One, consisting of multiple choice questions, and the School Based Assessments (SBAs) in most of the subjects to determine the final grades. 

Locally, there have also been complaints by some students and their parents about the grades.

One student from St Ann, who asked for her identity to be withheld, explained that she had scored an impressive grade in her mathematics SBA, and was confident that she aced the multiple choice portion of the exam. 

"It was shocking to me that last night (Tuesday) I received a grade two with a profile consisting of A, A, and B. Others received similar profiles and received a grade one," she shared. 

"I studied hard for the maths (mathematics), and I know that if I got one in physics, which I did, I should have gotten that one in maths because I have excelled at that area from day one," she added. 

The 17-year-old disclosed that while she attained nine subjects, she has several concerns with respect to the grades attained in other subject areas. She has already spoken to her school principal, who she suggested has likewise expressed concern on how the grades were awarded.

Another male student, who claimed to be an 'A student', also rapped CXC for some of the grades he attained at the CAPE level.

He said: "I am not in agreement with how they awarded the grades. I am upset, because some of my classmates got the same or lower (grades) and attained higher grades." 

"In economics, I got two A's and a B and I got a (grade) two, and another girl got the same profile and got one, but look at it now, I got one A and two B's and attained a grade one in Caribbean Studies. Something doesn't add up," he argued.

Meanwhile, speaking at a Ministry of Education press conference to update the country on CSEC/CAPE results on Wednesday morning, acting Chief Education Officer, Dr Kasan Troupe, said the concerns regarding the results have been noted. 

She revealed that the ministry is in contact with the local registrar at the Overseas Examination Council (OEC). 

"So we are aware at the Ministry of Education that a few of our students would have reported that there are some inconsistencies with their results," Troupe said.

Continuing, she disclosed: "We have been having dialogue with our local registrar at the OEC and we will be collecting those information from our schools, and it will be researched and, whatever needs to be done in the best interest of our students, that will be done."

Troupe informed that concerns regarding the awarding of grades are not new. 

"From time to time we have some of these challenges and there is a method in place to treat with all of these. So we are reassuring our parents (and) our students, these (concerns) will be addressed and the best decisions will be taken in your interest," she assured. 

She reminded parents and students too, that "these results are preliminary and so more detailed reviews will be done before the final result is published."

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