Thursday 29 October, 2020

Report on review of CXC grading scores to be released Sunday

Professor Hilary Beckles

Professor Hilary Beckles

The report of the independent review team which was established to examine concerns that were raised about the Caribbean Examinations Council's (CXC) grading system this year is to be released on Sunday morning.

The review team completed its report on Friday, and submitted the report to CXC Chairman, Professor Hilary Beckles.

The review of the results of this year’s regional examinations follows widespread outrage from parents, students, school administrators and educational ministries across the Caribbean regarding the examination grades which were described as being inconsistent and shocking.

In a statement on Friday on its Facebook page, CXC said the independent review team report on the administration of the July-August 2020 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) is to be presented by Beckles at 11.30 am on Sunday. The presentation is to be streamed live on CXC's YouTube channel.

The review team was directed to also examine the modified approach for the administration of the July-August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations and the moderation process that was applied to the School-Based Assessment (SBA) for both examinations, a release from CXC stated earlier this month.

The team was chaired by retired Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald.

Other members of the review team were: Professor Andrew Downes, retired Pro Vice-Chancellor, Planning and Development, UWI; Professor Francis De Lanoy, President of the University of Curacao; Harrilal Seecharan, retired Chief Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; and Michael S Browne, Minister of Education in Antigua and Barbuda and Chair of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD).

Several ministries of education across the region wrote to CXC requesting a thorough investigation of the anomalies that were said to have been detected in relation to the grades among the students who took the examinations.

Shortly after, Beckles disclosed that the independent review team would begin its review and "present a report for discussion with relevant stakeholders".

That was a backtrack from the regional examination body’s position two weeks before at a press conference, where its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Wayne Wesley, gave no commitment to having a review of all the grades which were awarded this year, despite the mounting concerns across the region.

Wesley also suggested that the reports of discrepancies regarding the grades have been greatly "exaggerated", and in fact dismissed suggestions that there were "anomalies" in relation to the grades of regional students.

"Remember that the overall performance shows an improvement for the performance of the region in both CAPE and CSEC. I think the notion that there is widespread achievement of less than acceptable grades is exaggerated," Wesley said at the press conference.

"In fact, this year you have less persons receiving less than acceptable grades of any other period for the last three years or four years," Wesley added.

But while commending the management of CXC for being "impressive in the delivery of the July 2020 regional examinations within the context of the COVID-19 logistics nightmare," Beckles stated: "Nonetheless, it was anticipated that given these specific challenges, a period of review and possible revisions would follow, consistent with the regulations of the council."

The CXC chairman further assured that "Each and every formally reported case will be reviewed and where remedies are required, they will be applied."

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