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Jamaicans ace City & Guilds exams

Published:Friday | October 16, 2015 | 10:13 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left) is greeted by Marva Duncanson, country representative City & Guilds, while Mike Dawe, a director of City & Guilds International, looks on.

Just released data has shown that Jamaican students performed creditably in the latest City & Guilds mathematics and English examinations.

Last year the Ministry of Education (MOE) decided to underwrite the cost for 10,000 students to write City & Guilds maths and English exams in a move to expand the options for external examinations available to students.

Some 11,000 grade-11 students and students enrolled in the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) wrote these exams.

Eighty-four per cent of CAP students attained a pass in maths and 78 per cent in English, while the grade-11 cohort achieved a 71 per cent pass rate in maths and 60 per cent in English.

In 2011, the MOE signed a contract with City & Guilds for the delivery of examinations in Mathematics and English in all CAP centres island wide.

The partnership was strengthened in January 2012 when the ministry named 150 public high schools as City & Guilds centres for registration of grade-11 students in maths and English.

This was in keeping with the ministry's commitment to ensure that all grade-11 students in Jamaica have the opportunity to write external examinations in maths and English.

In September 2014, City & Guilds International launched two new qualifications in maths and English. The qualifications facilitated a staged approach across three levels.

Each stage is a free-standing single subject with its own certification, and is specifically designed to be a more manageable and self-gratifying approach for students.

Improve oral competence

Significantly, the English skills qualification encompasses a unique assessment strategy. In addition to the usual written exam that is externally assessed, there is a new oral exam (speaking and listening) that is internally assessed.

According to the ministry this approach will help to improve our students' oral English competence.

Students must be proficient in both the written and oral assessments of the English skills qualification to achieve the overarching certification. Certificates of Unit Credit are given for each assessment.

According to Marva Duncanson, City & Guilds representative for Jamaica, the ministry's sponsorship of candidates, "has levelled the playing field by giving students a viable certification option as maths and English form the cornerstone on which all other learning is built."

Duncanson, said the main purpose of these globally recognised qualifications is to help learners develop skills at a level necessary to function and progress in life and work and provide them with a platform for further studies anywhere in the world.

She noted that City & Guilds is an examination body dedicated to vocational studies.

"City & Guilds exclusively offers competency-based qualifications. We recognise that there are different types of learners and that one size does not fit all."