CSEC pass rate up, CAPE down
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–MoE compiling report for release of Guyanese students’ performance at both exams

By Tamica Garnett

THE Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) saw a slight 1.47 per cent decline in the pass rate for students across the Caribbean who wrote them in 2020, while the Caribbean Secondary Certificate Examinations (CSEC) saw a 3.81 per cent increase in the passes attained by students who sat them in 2020, as compared to 2019.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) on Tuesday officially released the results of the various examinations written by students across the Caribbean in July/August, so that said students can access them Online @ (https://www.cxc.org/student-results/), using their respective Candidate Number.
With the release of the results by CXC to the respective Caribbean nations, the Ministry of Education (MoE) here in Guyana is expected to release them shortly.
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle on Tuesday, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr. Marcel Hutson confirmed that the MoE has been in receipt of a spreadsheet of Guyana’s results from CXC, and is in the process of analyzing it for the compilation of a report. Hutson noted that while a timeline could not yet be provided for when the Ministry will make an announcement, it is working to provide the information as soon as possible.
“We are presently compiling a report, so we can’t speak on that,” he said, adding: “As it is now, it is a broadsheet that we have, and we have to do the analysis before we speak. The Superintendent of Exams is working to put the stuff together, and I am sure the Minister will make a decision going forward in terms of information.”
Of the suite of exams administered by the Council to students across the Caribbean Region, CSEC and CAPE are the ones most commonly written here in Guyana, where some 11, 998 students and another 851 were scheduled to write CSEC and CAPE respectively this year.

In overall results for individual subject areas, CSEC Mathematics has finally been able to exceed the 50 per cent mark, recording a 52 per cent pass by the students, which is a six per cent improvement on last year’s performance, and three per cent above the passes recorded in 2018. There was also an increase in the number of Grade Ones achieved in this subject this year, moving from eight per cent in 2019 to now stand at 12 per cent.
English A (Language) saw a three per cent increase in the pass rate, which is 82 per cent this year, with 23 per cent of the students achieving Grade One. For CSEC, Grades One to Three are considered acceptable grades, while for CAPE, Grades One to Five are regarded as acceptable passes.
The CXC statistics were released by CXC Director of Operations, Nicole Manning when she presented a report on students’ performances during a press conference on Tuesday.

In other individual subject areas, Manning highlighted that Social Studies increased by five per cent to 70 per cent of the students passing. Also in the 70s are Biology and Physics, which each had a pass rate of 73 per cent in 2019, and saw pass rates increasing to 79 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively, in 2020.
Chemistry saw a 62 per cent pass rate, which marked a 2 per cent increase from 2019; of which 19 per cent of the students earned a Grade One, increasing from the 14 per cent Grade Ones seen in 2019.

In individual subjects for CAPE, this year the pass rates for both Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies remained in the high 90s. For Caribbean Studies, the pass rate increased from 97 to 98 per cent this year, while in Communication Studies, the 2020 pass rate remains the same 96 per cent that it was last year.
The percentage of students earning Grade One also improved, where for Caribbean Studies there was a 4 per cent increase, with 24 per cent of the students attaining Grade One in 2020; and for Communication Studies there was a one per cent increase, whereby 9 per cent of the students achieved Grade One.
For Pure Mathematics Unit One, 72 per cent of the students passed, with 22 per cent of them obtaining a Grade One; History Unit 1 had a 92 per cent pass rate, while Management of Business Unit 2, as well as Computer Science both had 95 per cent passes.

Manning noted that the Council is particularly pleased with the results that were recorded in Mathematics, both at the secondary and advanced levels.
“For both subjects,” she said, “we would have seen an increase. We are happy this would have happened; we would have seen not just an increase as compared to previous years, but also an increase in the Grade Ones that would’ve been awarded this year. The Council is happy about that, and continues to encourage the candidates,” Manning said as she responded to queries.

Though the CXC examinations are customarily written annually in May/June, this year it was postponed and eventually written in July/August, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept across the Caribbean Region, and effected school closures in most countries as they sought to curb the spread of the virus.
Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, CXC Registrar and CEO, Dr. Wayne Westley described the situation as “a year like no other” for the Council.
“It has really challenged not only our organisational and operational systems, but our capacity for leadership to inspire confidence that will see us advancing and overcoming the challenges of this pandemic,” Dr. Westley said.

Notwithstanding the challenges, he said, the Council is grateful it was able to credibly carry out the examinations thanks the support and ingenuity of its staff.
“Two principles we maintained was first, that no candidate should be disadvantaged and that the integrity is preserved to ensure we instill confidence in the results being released today. Given what we have gone through and were able to complete the process I want to recognise the staff. They have been resilient and creative for us to achieve this milestone,” Dr. Westley noted.

At the press conference, Dr. Westley did a symbolic presentation of the CXC results to the Barbados Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Ms. Santia Bradshaw.

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