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Are high schools screening students to boost CXC pass average?

Published:Monday | August 25, 2014 | 6:54 PM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Education Ministry has released data showing that as many as one in three high schools may be failing to register close to half of their grade 11 cohort for Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Mathematics and English language.

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.

The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre’s estimates show that over 60 schools did not enter at least half of their grade 11 students for English.

For Mathematics, 76 or 46 per cent of the 164 schools did not register 50 per cent of the students in grade 11 to do Mathematics.

Almost two weeks ago, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, reported general improvements in Math and English passes at the national level with some schools recording big jumps.

Well, following the release of individual performances, we're getting a clearer picture on the reasons behind some of the increases.

Papine High recorded the biggest improvement in passes in mathematics, with a 39 percentage point increase over last year’s passes.

However, according to the data from the Ministry, Papine registered barely 50 per cent of the 240 students in grade 11 for the exam.

In fact, many schools which had over 250 students in their grade 11 cohort only registered half or less of their students to sit the critical examinations.

Institutions such as Anchovy High in St James, had 426 students in grade 11 but only registered 215 to sit English Language at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, CSEC, level.

Notably, over 80 per cent of those who sat the examination passed.

And in Clarendon, Edwin Allen had 423 students in grade 11 but only 144 were registered for the Mathematics exam.

The school achieved a 73 per cent pass rate.

Still in Clarendon, Lennon High had 220 students in grade eleven but only signed up 63 for English and 59 for mathematics.

And in St Ann Brown’s Town High School had 523 students in grade 11 this year but only registered 224 for English and 249 students for Mathematics.

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