Sat | Dec 5, 2020

CXC to moderate all SBAs

Published:Monday | October 19, 2020 | 7:31 AM
CXC Chairman Professor Hilary Beckles.
CXC Chairman Professor Hilary Beckles.


Starting next year, the Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) will be moderating all school-based assessments (SBAs) instead of samples from respective examination centres.

This was revealed on Sunday during a news conference by CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley during a press conference to discuss findings from an independent review of the administration of the July-August 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

“Certainly, the lessons and information that would have been gleaned from this year’s exercise will be pointing towards us doing and continuing to administer a 100 per cent requirement for SBA submission for moderation to ensure that we protect the integrity and keep the level and standard of our SBA high,” he said.

The final report is expected to be made public on Tuesday, following a meeting between CXC and Caribbean ministers of education today.

Several students have complained about grades received for this year’s CSEC and CAPE tests, which were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CXC Chairman Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said reviews would be conducted at US$15 each – half the cost – and if students are found to deserve higher grades, they would get a full refund.

The CXC registrar said that up to Sunday, there were 2,353 requests for reviews of CAPE results and 2,550 for CSEC.

Beckles said that CXC is expected to introduce a system for students to deal directly with the regional examinations body and not necessarily with local registrars and the education ministries. Top priority would be given to students enrolled to enter universities in and outside of the Caribbean, he added.

Usually, CXC marks a sample of the SBAs, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 100 per cent were moderated from across the Caribbean, a move that uncovered leniency by teachers as opposed to a first mark and a review mark.

“The report has picked up that there was disparity in terms of expectation, prediction, and what actually was the final outcome,” said Beckles, who added that “the decision to go for a more comprehensive and complete moderation of the SBAs this year strengthened and made more robust the examining system, and they were impressed with that and believe that it’s a standard and a quality that should be supported going forward.”

According to Beckles, the review found that students were being given false expectations about their performances, and so there would be need for improved communication in the submission of grades, including workshops, with teachers.

He also urged Caribbean people to guard against the “culture of predictability” in examinations.

“We can understand how maybe this year, more than previous years, how the gap for many people between the predicted outcome and the actual could have been of greater concern to a large number of people,” he said.

Wesley pointed out that grades provided to students would not necessarily be final as that was the responsibility of the regional examining board based on the moderation standards.

CXC plans to conduct an audit review of its operations and governance principles for the organisation that offered exams to 20 countries, including those that are not members of the 15-nation CARICOM.