Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Time to revise CXC timetables

Published:Thursday | May 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM


Recently, I was in a taxi when I overheard a secondary-level student lamenting the Caribbean Examination Council's (CXC’s) timetabling of its examinations.

“Two weeks mi have to wait to do biology, paper 2. Look from when we do communication studies, paper 2, and all the way a next week before we do the multiple-choice paper,” she mourned.

Her grievance is justified as the council’s arrangement is seriously counterproductive.

I can well understand that some Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) can last for up to three hours. At the end, students would most likely be too exhausted to successfully sit another examination on the same day. However, when the council waits more than a week to administer the second or third examination for a subject, they are setting up students for failure.

It would make better sense to have students complete any additional examination paper the following day, or two days after, when they have rested, and the content is still fresh in their minds. Indubitably, any long break in-between related examinations can cause students to have monumental relapses in memory, given the brain’s natural predisposition.

Moreover, having students do one communication studies paper, then a biology paper, and then another communication studies paper, is absolutely absurd. This back-and-forth shift in focus can, no doubt, cause mental strain, and disorder.

CXC should also refrain from administering mathematics and English in such quick succession. Usually, both papers for English are done in one day and then mathematics, both papers, is done immediately the following day. Most students take these examinations the same year, and so, they would need a day’s break, at least, to replenish their energy, and prepare for the subsequent papers.

Let us remember that assessment, like teaching, must be aligned with how the brain is inherently tended to work.

For future sittings, revise your timetabling and give our students the best chance at passing.

Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock