Tue | Jan 22, 2019

LETTER OF THE DAY - The truth behind CSEC screening

Published:Thursday | August 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I refer to an article published on the Gleaner website on August 26, 2014, 'Thwaites not surprised about some schools not registering most students for CXC math, English'. The article stated that, "The education ministry says it's not surprised that one in three high schools may be failing to register close to half of their grade 11 cohort for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) mathematics and English language."

It further states: "The data seems to support what many critics argue is the screening of students by schools to boost their percentage passes in an effort to raise their profiles."

What many are oblivious of is that students have a responsibility as it relates to their academic pursuit. While the data is worrying, we ought to unveil the truth behind why some students were not registered. When it comes to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, the selection process is as such: students' performance in a subject is examined and after a thorough evaluation process, students are recommended to sit the exam. Students whose performance is below par are not recommended. Sometimes the students themselves determine that they are not ready to sit the subject.

Teachers do not recommend students who they think are not up to the level at which they are capable of passing a subject. If it is that a teacher recommends a student who does not meet the minimum requirement and such student fails, what is the point in recommending him/her? If a student is not recommended to sit a CSEC exam, that student is considered for the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence - a lesser form of CSEC.

It is the teacher's responsibility to get every student to at least the minimum standard wherein they are able to pass a subject. But, in order to do so, teachers have to determine those who are strong and those who are weak. Consequently, a strategic plan is created so as to meet the needs of those who are weak in a particular subject. 'Screening' is not intended to discriminate against, demotivate or devalue any student, it is a process of evaluation which the teacher uses to determine the best pedagogical skills and methodologies to be implemented to enhance teaching and process for every student.

Most non-traditional high schools receive students whose averages in the Grade Six Achievement Test are below 50 per cent, while traditional high schools receive above the 80th percentile, and the students below the 50th percentile are expected to learn the same curriculum over the same period of time, and consequently sit the same exam. Common sense should tell you why that is unfeasible, and for those who may have the lack thereof, review what Jean Piaget articulated about cognitive development. As such, teachers have to select the best of the worse, and that's the truth behind screening.

Kenroy Davis


Hyde District, Clark's Town, Trelawny