Sun | Aug 25, 2019

Improvement in CSEC English passes, Math grades down

Published:Wednesday | August 14, 2019 | 1:59 PM
Minister with Responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda - File photo.

The Ministry of Education is reporting that Jamaican students recorded a decrease in passes in Mathematics, while English Language saw an improvement.

The Ministry says a preliminary report and analysis the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams showed that Mathematics and English Language recorded percentage passes of 54.6 and 82.8 per cent respectively.

Compared to last year, the Ministry says, this is a 3.2 percentage point decrease in Mathematics and a 7.4 percentage point increase in English Language passes.

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It says 33,639 students from public schools were registered for CSEC exams and of this number 32,617 (97%) sat and 29,139 (89.3%) obtained grades 1-3.

Of the candidates entered, 18,627 (55.4%) were females and 15,012 (44.6%) males.

The Ministry says of the 34 subjects sat, 23 showed improved pass rates compared to 2018.

These include Chemistry (8.6%), Biology (2.6%), Physics (3.9%), Additional Mathematics (3.8%), Technical Drawing (3.7%), Music (10.9%), Textiles, Clothing and Fashion (8.7%) and Visual Arts (11.3%).

Further, six subjects had average pass rates of over 90%, according to the Education Ministry.

These were Agricultural Science Double Award (97.9%), Agricultural Science Single Award (90.9%), Food, Nutrition and Health (90.5%), Information Technology (91.1%), Physical Education and Sport (97%) and Principles of Business (90.7%)

Meanwhile, on the side of declines, the Ministry says there were decreases of 12.8% in English Literature and 12.1% in Human and Social Biology passes when compared with the previous year.

French also saw a decrease of 11.4 percentage points.

Turning to the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), the Ministry is reporting that there has been a slight drop in passes.

It says there were 55,318 subject entries from public schools for Units 1 and 2 and that this number, 52,732 students actually sat exams, which saw an average pass rate of 91.6%.

This, the Ministry says, represents a decline of point 4 percentage points when compared to 2018.

Unit 1 had a total of 38,709 subject entries of which 36,789 (95%) were sat with a pass rate of 91.2%.

This represents a point 3 percentage point decrease when compared to last year.

Of the 16,609 subject entries for Unit 2, a total of 15,943 (96%) were sat with a pass rate of 92.6%, representing a point 6 percentage point decline.

Full Ministry Data

1: Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Results for 2019

In this year’s CAPE 14,225 candidates were entered for 35 subjects in Units 1 and 2.

There were 55,318 subject entries from public schools for Units 1 and 2. Of this number 52,732 (approximately 95.3%) were sat, with an average pass rate of 91.6%. This represents a decline of .4 percentage points when compared to 2018.

Unit 1 had a total of 38,709 subject entries of which 36,789 (95%) were sat with a pass rate of 91.2%. This represents a .3 percentage point decrease when compared to last year. Of the 16,609 subject entries for Unit 2, a total of 15,943 (96%) were sat with a pass rate of 92.6%, representing a .6 percentage point decline.

Improved Performances

Despite these slight declines, improved performances were recorded in 18 subject areas, namely Accounting, Agricultural Science Unit 2, Animation & Game Design, Art & Design, Biology, Caribbean Studies, Computer Science, Economics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology Unit 1, Environmental Science, Financial Services Studies, Green Engineering, Integrated Math, Law, Logistics and Supply Chain Operations (Units 1 & 2), Pure Math and Spanish.

Financial Services Studies and Logistic and Supply Chain Operations, Unit 2 had the highest percentage increases of 33.2 and 20.8 respectively.

It should be noted also that Agricultural Science Unit 2 and Pure Mathematics had percentage increases of 11.8 and 5.3 respectively when compared with 2018.

2: Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Examination Results for 2019

For this year’s CSEC exams, 33,639 students from public schools were registered, and of this number 32,617 (97%) sat and 29,139 (89.3%) obtained grades 1-3.

Some 1,510 fewer students were registered when compared to 2018.

Of the candidates entered, 18,627 (55.4%) were females and 15,012 (44.6%) males.

Some 18,202 females sat with 16,548 (90.9%) being awarded grades 1-3 while the number of males who sat was 14,415, from which 12,591 (87.3%) obtained grades 1-3. 

Of the 34 subjects sat, 23 showed improved pass rates over 2018.

Males achieved higher percentage passes than females in four (4) subjects: Agricultural Science Double Award 98.8% compared to 97.3% for females, Biology 77.2% compared to 76.7% for females, Chemistry 68.4% compared to 66.1% for females and Music, 80% compared to 72.8% for females.

Females outperformed males by 2.3 percentage points in Additional Mathematics.

Mathematics and English

Mathematics and English Language recorded percentage passes of 54.6 and 82.8 per cent respectively. Compared to last year, this is a 3.2 percentage point decrease in Mathematics and a 7.4 percentage point increase in English Language passes.

Improved Performances

There were noted improvements in the sciences and some mathematical related subjects.

Overall, the highest percentage increase of 22.7 percentage points, was in Integrated Science. 

There were also increases in the average pass rates for Chemistry (8.6%), Biology (2.6%), Physics (3.9%), Additional Mathematics (3.8%), Agricultural Science-Single Award (7%), Technical Drawing (3.7%), Industrial Technology-Electrical and Building (9.8% and 8.3% respectively), Information Technology (2.2%), Music (10.9%), Textiles, Clothing and Fashion (8.7%) and Visual Arts (11.3%).

Six (6) subjects had average pass rates of over 90%.

These were Agricultural Science Double Award (97.9%), Agricultural Science Single Award (90.9%), Food, Nutrition and Health (90.5%), Information Technology (91.1%), Physical Education and Sport (97%) and Principles of Business (90.7%)

Declines

There were declines of 12.8% in English Literature and 12.1% in Human and Social Biology passes when compared with the previous year. French also saw a decrease of 11.4 percentage points.

3: City and Guilds 2018 Preliminary Results

In June 2019, a total of 23,019 students were registered with City and Guilds to sit Mathematics exams while 18,551 were registered to sit English (Reading and Writing) exams.

Mathematics

Of the 23,019 students who were registered for Mathematics, 16,035 entrants were from Grade 11, 6,175 were from the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and 809 were from the HEART Trust.

A total of 12,640 students sat Mathematics exams from Grade 11. Of that number, 7,447 (59%) passed. Of the 4,073 students from the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) who sat the certifying exams, 2,585 or 63% of them passed. Five hundred and seventy five (575) students from HEART sat the exam and 494 (86%) passed.

Some 10,526 (61%) of the total 17,288 who sat City and Guilds assessments in Mathematics passed.

English (Reading and Writing)

There were 18,551 students registered for assessment in Reading and Writing. A total of 9444 students from Grade 11 sat the English exams and 7161 (76%) of them passed. Of the 3,618 students who sat the exams from CAP, 2901 (80%) passed. Five hundred and forty four students took the exam from HEART and 534 (98%) passed.

Overall 10,596 (78%) of the 13,606 students who sat the English component passed.

4: Interventions

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have seen improvements in a number of areas and I must commend our teachers and our students for their hard work and determination. We have made significant strides in English Language and there have been improvements in some science and mathematical subjects. Despite this, our CSEC Mathematics passes are still not where we need them to be.

While the trend data show significant improvement in the performance in mathematics between 2012 and 2019, we have taken note of this year’s decline. We will continue to analyse the situation nationally, regionally and at the school level to ensure a targeted response.

The Ministry continues to maintain its support to the primary and secondary school system with the aim of improving the teaching and learning of mathematics. Once the analysis of the 2019 data is completed, the National Mathematics Programme will review the Coach Deployment schedule as required to ensure that any critical schools not scheduled to receive coaching support are placed on the list to be targeted.

Coaches support teachers through targeted professional development. They also work closely with students through camps to address concepts, which have traditionally challenged students.

We are ensuring that all critical schools administer the Grade 10 Diagnostic Test. This instrument is critical in ensuring that schools have data on students at the beginning of Grade 11 which can support them in developing and implementing effective interventions to support students identified with significant learning gaps. Data from this test is used to determine the content of the camps which are facilitated for students in individual schools.

The Ministry is also strengthening the professional development programme designed for Heads of Departments and principals of critical schools. This is aimed at helping them develop the knowledge and skills they need to lead effectively and support the teaching of mathematics, including managing the curriculum and developing and implementing interventions

These strategies are expected to have an impact on the system in the short term. To ensure that gains can be sustained, the Ministry will continue to award scholarships to individuals interested in pursuing their Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education specialising in mathematics. This is focused on increasing the number of fully-qualified mathematics teachers available for deployment to the secondary school system. This year more than 176 scholarship recipients will graduate and are currently available for employment. 

The Ministry will also continue to provide support to lecturers in teacher training institutions by providing professional development opportunities focused on ensuring they have the skills required to support the preparation of teachers who can effectively deliver the National Standards Curriculum from grades 7 – 9 and the CSEC mathematics syllabus.

I am confident that these steps will prove effective in the short to medium term.

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