CXC makes changes to five syllabi - SBA introduced for English exams
When the new school year starts in September, fourth-form students will have to contend with new syllabi for five subjects they will sit in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.
The revision of the subjects, released by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), on June 30, will see more intense work, especially for those students sitting English language and literature.
In the revision of the English A and B syllabi, the most notable difference is the introduction and requirement of School-Based Assessments (SBA) for students taking the exam internally (with a school).
The new syllabus, available free on the CXC website, makes the SBA compulsory for both English A and B. However, if students are sitting both subjects, they need only to produce a single piece of work. The SBA will take the form of a portfolio on an issue selected by the student.
Each student is to work as an individual, and as a member of a small group of four to five students sharing a general topic.
The purpose of the group is to allow students to work together to discuss and solve problems, explain ideas, learn from peers, improve oral skills, and practise social skills and leadership roles, CXC said.
The portfolio consists of: a plan of investigation, indicators of group activity, including print, audio, visual media material, which address the issue selected by the student. It also entails a reflection, which consists of three documents, which should be written under teacher supervision.
A summary of the investigative process, in the form of a report, must also be included. An oral presentation relating to the topic chosen must also be presented to round up the 21 per cent of the student's final grade that the SBA will hold.
Alternatively, for those who may be doing the subject externally, an alternative paper will consist of a guided critique of three pieces of stimulus material, including an excerpt from a recent newspaper article on a topical issue; a cartoon strip or lyrics to a song on the same topical issue and a poem, short story, public speech (extract) on the same issue.
The candidates are to answer three compulsory questions. Two questions will require short answer responses and one question will require the creation of an imaginative piece in response to the theme selected.
The purpose of the SBA, CXC said, is to provide an opportunity to individualise a part of the curriculum to meet the needs of students.
It is designed to facilitate feedback from the student at various stages of the preparation process.
This is supposed to help build the self-confidence of students as they proceed with their studies. The SBA also facilitates the development of the critical skills and abilities that are emphasised in English language and literature, and enhances the validity of the examination.
The other CSEC subjects that have been revised are geography, technical drawing, integrated science and home economics.
- Raynaldo Marchalleck