CXC shoots down calls for regionwide review of CSEC, CAPE results

…agrees to review only at candidates’ request, resolving ungraded issue

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has denied claims that the grading system used for administering the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) is seriously flawed, despite failing to release information on how it arrived at the final grades for candidates.

CXC’s Registrar,
Dr Wayne Wesley

During a press conference on Friday, Registrar of the regional examining body, Dr Wayne Wesley, maintained that this year’s examinations were credible, despite there being across the Caribbean region widespread outrage at the preliminary results which were released on Tuesday, and contentions that they were “inaccurate” and “seriously low.”
For the 2020 exams, there were no Papers Two; instead, CXC said it would increase the weighting of Papers One and the School-Based Assessments (SBAs)/Internal Assessments (IA). Asked to reveal the new weighting attached to the Papers One and SBAs/IA, Dr Wesley told a local reporter, “The weighting for the examinations would have been accorded in the syllabus. The syllabus would have outlined the various weight associated with each component.”
For instance, Wesley was told that for Caribbean Studies, Paper One carries a weighting of 27 percent; Paper two, 33 percent; and the IA, 40 percent. In light of the absence of a Paper Two for this CAPE subject, he was probed further to explain the new weighting adopted by the examinations body.
He said, “So, as I said before, that 27 percent you read for Paper One and what you read for the IA, because those are the two pieces of information that we have to make a determination as to the performance and competence of students, so those weighting would have been for that subject; it is as prescribed in the syllabus. We would have agreed, when we went with the modified approach, that the Paper Two would not have been administered.”
He said that CXC is prepared to provide the various Education Ministries with the various methodologies used to arrive at this year’s examinations’ results.
Questioned about any glitches in the system that might have affected students’ grades, Wesley assured that all checks have been made, and that everything is intact. In fact, he explained that CXC has done all its internal checks, and has reviewed all its data. According to him, nothing in the Council’s processes and systems has revealed what is being peddled across the region.
Added to that, the Registrar explained that the examination body’s quality assurance mechanism ensures there is a detailed check of every single subject, with a detailed report provided so as to address the issues in a fulsome manner.
Asked specifically to disclose the findings of this year’s moderation when compared to previous years’, he revealed that it showed a difference in the grades awarded by teachers and the grades awarded by the Council. The Registrar noted that the grades have been different in a lot of the cases. For example, he pointed out that grades were either improved or adjusted downward based on the Council’s moderation exercise.

Queries and reviews
Probed about whether CXC would embark on an across-the-board review instead of receiving thousands of individual complaints, he said that CXC would conduct queries and reviews only at the request of candidates. He added that in cases where this has been done by ministries and local registrars, information has already been provided.
As is customary with the end of the assessment process, he noted, queries will be made; that is why there is a window period between the preliminary results being released and the award of the final certificate. He reassured that concerns raised would be treated with, and the requisite responses provided.
Wesley urged candidate who may have questions about an absent or ungraded result to submit a query. He said that “absent” or “ungraded” is recorded if SBAs were not submitted, or if a component is missing. Further, he said that queries and concerns were already raised by Education Ministries which are calling for further analyses and reviews of examinations’ data.
According to him, each year, CXC would have candidates making and having queries about their results, and the examinations’ body has a long-established process in place for addressing those concerns. Candidates who have an awarded grade and have concerns about that grade may submit a request for a review at a cost of US$30.
It should be noted that a review of a script may result in a candidate’s overall grade either increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same. If a review results in an increase of a candidate’s overall grade, the candidate would be refunded.
Queries and reviews may be submitted through schools for in-school candidates, or through the Education Ministry for private candidates. Candidates should note that the deadline for submission of queries and review requests is Friday, October 23, 2020.

At this time, Wesley said, CXC is not considering waiving the fee for candidates seeking a review. Apart from the representation already made by Education ministries, Wesley disclosed, only two countries have made formal complaints, but he was reluctant to disclose the names of the territories.

Improved performance
Wesley, nevertheless, reported that when compared to previous years, the performances this year remained the same in terms of candidates receiving acceptable grades for both CSEC and CAPE. For instance, he said, for CAPE, the performance from 2017 to 2020 showed a gradual improvement in candidates receiving acceptable grades.
He noted that, for this year, the performance is 93.25 percent higher than the previous years’ in terms of the number of individuals receiving acceptable grades.
In regard to CSEC, he said 79.57 percent of those sitting the exams have received acceptable grades, which is an increase over 2019, 2018 and 2017.
“So, overall, the region would have registered an improved performance for CAPE and CSEC,” he declared.
Meanwhile, Guyana’s Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, in a social media post on Friday, said that at a meeting with CXC, the body agreed to review the papers/work of schools pursuant to a request by the Education Ministry. Manickchand noted that Guyana would be embarking on the request shortly, and that request would be supported by statistics that give reasons for the concerns. She said that CXC has also committed to resolving the “ungraded” issue by grading the papers that were already sent to them or the local registrar.