Fri | Dec 3, 2021

CSEC maths passes plummet

Published:Wednesday | October 20, 2021 | 12:10 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

The pass rate of Jamaican students in mathematics at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level has plunged by 23 percentage points.

In the June-July exam administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), only 38.2 per cent of the students earned grades one to three.

Education Minister Fayval Williams said in 2020, some 61.2 per cent of students had passed the subject and 54.6 per cent had been successful in 2019.

For English A, 73.3 per cent of the students received passing grades, compared with 83.9 per cent in 2020 and 82.8 per cent in 2019.

Regionally, 41 per cent and 74 per cent of the students passed mathematics and English, respectively, this year.

“To address the performance gaps, especially in the areas of numeracy and literacy, the National School Learning and Intervention Plan (NSLIP), augmented by our specialist-teacher model, will address the foundational principles and improve readiness of our students to pursue the CXC syllabi,” Williams said in a briefing yesterday.

She explained that the ministry has assigned an 83-member team – 50 primary mathematics coaches, 19 secondary mathematics coaches and 14 mathematics specialists – to continue to provide support remotely and physically to 158 primary schools and 72 secondary schools in the area of numeracy.

The team holds meetings with parents and has one-on-one sessions with students. It also observes lessons, conducts for teachers and students, as well as carries out demonstration lessons, and arranges planning sessions. Consultations are also held with principals and teachers, among other things.

“You can see that by the numbers in mathematics that we have an extremely high hurdle to clear this academic year and it will be more difficult for our children, the longer they remain out of the face-to-face school. As you know, the easiest subject matter for children to lose knowledge in is mathematics and you can see it in the numbers for 2021 versus those of 2020,” the education minister said.

Schools have been largely closed since March 2020, to limit the spread of COVID-19 and learning has been shifted online.

Williams used the opportunity to appeal to Jamaicans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, a key step to reopening schools for face-to-face classes.

“The longer Jamaicans delay to become vaccinated, the more knowledge our children will lose and that’s a fact. Jamaicans, by not being vaccinated, it means we can’t send our children back to school. By not being vaccinated, we are preventing the very important task of teaching and learning in a face-to-face environment from happening,” the minister said.

She continued: “Let’s ensure our children do not lose the spark they have for learning and I beg of you, Jamaicans, those who are not vaccinated, I beg you to do your part,” she urged, adding that there are a number of permanent vaccination sites across parishes.

Overall, 85.8 per cent of local students received passes in one or more subjects, while improved performances were recorded in agricultural science, human and social biology, integrated science, music, theatre arts, visual arts, as well as in textile, clothing and fashion.

Williams commended all students who persevered and did their examinations under “very trying and challenging circumstances” this year.

She also encouraged students who may not have done as well to look for opportunities that will contribute to improved performance.