Sat | Dec 5, 2020

CXC overturns failing English grades for majority of JC students

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2020 | 12:13 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica College Acting Principal Wayne Robinson.
Jamaica College Acting Principal Wayne Robinson.

Jamaica College students are now breathing a sigh of relief with their adjusted grades after being stumped when earlier Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) results showed that over 90 per cent of them had failed English A.

So, too, is acting principal Wayne Robinson, who told The Gleaner that the updated results have been heralded with great joy.

The adjusted exam results show that the 299 boys who sat English A performed as well as expected, with almost all of them passing.

Robinson said the school was awaiting the updated results from the other subject areas, which it has queried.

“We are all happy about these adjusted grades and are now just waiting on the rest from CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) office. Our students would have been waiting on the corrected results to make their next move on to university or sixth form,” Robinson said.

“We are still in the process as the date has been extended, so it will probably go on until November,” he added.

The acting principal said the unusual circumstances under the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused CXC to use only a multiple-choice paper and the school-based assessments (SBAs) to determine final grades, could have caused the problem.

SBAs usually value 20 per cent, but under this year’s modified approach, it’s not clear how much weighting CXC placed on the SBAs, which schools were required to submit for each student – a break from the norm where only samples would be requested.

Robinson said the English A result was very conspicuous as it is among core subjects. The earlier grades were a result of the CXC office not receiving part of the SBAs without the school knowing.

“In fact, we would not have been aware of this until the results would have come out because they sent and told us that they got the SBAs. We didn’t know that they didn’t receive a part of it until the results came out and so we sorted that out with them,” said Robinson.

“This year is the first year that every single SBA was moderated. So 300 SBAs would have gone up for English, for example, but in the past, you would have about 15,” Robinson noted.

He said in the short turnaround time between the completion of exams and marking of same, a lot of things could have happened and that the snafu did not affect sixth-form selections. However, students hoping to matriculate into universities would have been held back as they awaited the revised grades.

Amid a flood of complaints over grades this year, CXC Chairman Professor Sir Hilary Beckles on Sunday 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.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com