Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Penwood students remain in the cold after SBA blunder, will have to plead 'hardship'

Published:Tuesday | August 30, 2016 | 8:03 AM
Some 40 Penwood students were given ungraded scores in six subjects sat in May/June because the school failed to submit samples of their school-based assessments by the July 31 deadline.

Jovan Johnson, Staff Reporter

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has, for now, essentially slammed the door shut on the possibility of about 40 students of the Penwood High School in St Andrew getting grades in six Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects.

Students may, however, plead “hardship”, which the Education Minister Ruel Reid has told The Gleaner will be done in a bid to have the pupils receive their grades.

The students were given ungraded scores in six subjects sat in May/June because the school failed to submit samples of their school-based assessments (SBAs) by the July 31 deadline.

In a ruling sent to Jamaican officials late yesterday, the CXC said it was willing to accept and grade all SBAs received by its agents (Ministries or Local Registrars) once they were received on or before the July 31, 2016.

Territories have five business days starting today until next week Monday to submit the SBAs.

But that decision does not allow for the Penwood students to receive consideration as their samples were not submitted in time to the Overseas Examinations Council (OEC), the Jamaican agent of the CXC.

They may, however, argue “hardship” as the CXC said, for SBAs received after July 31, once the criteria for a case of hardship is established, these late submissions will be given a fair hearing.

Penwood’s principal Donna McLaren has said she did not know the samples were not submitted until the CXC called her school on August 8, that's one week before the results were released across the Caribbean.

She said the school had problems using the CXC’s online submission system and the exam coordinator did not follow other schools with similar problems and submit physical copies to the OEC before the deadline.

Meanwhile, CXC has admonished schools saying they have a responsibility to ensure that submissions meet published deadlines.

“Prior to the submission, due date, and after that date, comprehensive audits [should] be conducted by the school or centre to ensure compliance with the submission guidelines,” the exams body said.


IN PHOTO: Ruel Reid

CXC also said it had extended the deadline for schools that experienced technical problem.

The education minister, has said the school is not the only one to be blamed as there was a “communication breakdown” involving the OEC.

The Government has ordered a comprehensive review of the OEC and has warned of sanctions.

Several of the affected students are unable to move on to sixth-form or tertiary-level institution as the CSEC grades are a requirement.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com