51% of queries over “unsatisfactory” CXC grades resolved
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THE Ministry of Education (MoE) has noted that some 51 per cent of the queries sent to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) over unsatisfactory results have been resolved, while 17 out of the 20 schools where students received ungraded results, have now received results. The ministry did not say how many students were affected by either category of complaints, or if the queries responded to resulted in any of the students receiving improved grades. However, in the case of ungraded students, several of them, who have spoken with the Guyana Chronicle, noted that they eventually received favourable grades. In an effort to avoid future occurrences, where some teachers did not submit the students’ School Based Assessments (SBAs), the Ministry has since appointed an Assistant Chief Education Officer (ACEO) who would be directly responsible for this area, among other measures.

“The MoE has developed a well-defined document to monitor the completion of SBAs by subject and school. Teachers will be trained to ensure SBA scores are recorded correctly and that all SBAs meet CXC’s required standard,” the Ministry announced in a social media post on Saturday on its official Facebook page. After CXC released preliminary results for its Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) in September, 20 schools reported unprecedented cases of students receiving “ungraded” results across 15 subject areas, while 24 schools requested reviews for unsatisfactory results across 20 subject areas for CSEC, and six schools in seven subject areas for CAPE.
The CXC had received widespread backlash across the Caribbean over results issued for its 2020 examinations, where a modified model of the exam was utilised to cater for the effects of months-long school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the criticism, the CXC later convened an intendent review panel which concluded that limitations in the grading model utilised in 2020, as well as disparities between SBA scores awarded by teachers and SBA scores awarded the CXC moderator, contributed to lower-than-expected final grades. The CXC officials had also noted that a breakdown in communication and coordination of the SBAs led to higher cases of “ungraded” results, where in several cases, the SBAs were not submitted in its entirety. In those cases, the CXC was able to work with schools to have the deficiencies rectified and grades issued to the students. However, in Guyana, it was discovered that at three schools, the teachers did not submit the students’ SBAs at all, notwithstanding the fact that the students had completed the SBAs.

A pre-exam assessment, SBAs are a vital component in determining a students’ grades for CSEC; without it, students are issued “ungraded” result. Internal Assessments (IA) serve as the SBA equivalent for students writing the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE). The importance and significance of SBAs and IAs were particularly highlighted in the 2020 CXC exams, when CXC carried out the modified version. Among the changes, the CXC took the decision to moderate and issue their own grades to 100 per cent of the SBAs/IAs administered, as opposed to customarily moderating just a sample of the SBAs/IAs, and instead relying on grades issued by the teachers. It was related that over 60 per cent of SBA scores issued by teachers across the Caribbean were changed after the SBAs were moderated by CXC.

For years, the issue of teachers marking and submitting the SBA scores for students have been an area of contention, as the teachers across the Caribbean have complained of not being compensated for the work. CXC has maintained that the issue is one for the teachers to negotiate with the government of their respective nations, as it is the responsibility of the education ministries to handle the procedures involved in ensuring the students’ SBA grades are submitted. Opponents to the proposal have also contended that paying the teachers would result in an increase in the cost to write the exams.

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