Baptist Academy’s Syreba Cornelius tops Common Entrance

Syreba Cornelius of Baptist Academy was yesterday announced as the top student in the island’s 2010 Common Entrance Examinations with a score of 365 out of 400.

She is followed by Nicholas Li of St Andrews Primary who placed first among boys and second place overall with a score of 362.

The overall results show significant improvement from 2009.

However, the improved results are in part due to a decision to promote students who pass only two subjects.

Minister of Education Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro said that for the first time, students who pass mathematics and language arts are getting a place.

“It was the view of many technical officers in the ministry that students who passed both language arts and mathematics should not be kept back.

“The inclusion of such students helped to increase the number of overall successful students and the successful passes as well,” Quinn-Leandro said.

In previous years, students were also required to pass either science or social studies.

The Ministry of Education hailed this year’s Common Entrance results as a success story as evidenced by a 10 per cent leap in the overall pass rate.

The jump means that 1,362, or 82.2 per cent or the students, out of the 1,681 who sat the exam will be able to begin their secondary education come September. While it also means that just short of 300 students failed the exam, the numbers offer a positive contrast to the almost 450 that did not make the grade in 2009.

Many of the students who fell short will have a chance to try again next year including around 100 who failed for the second time.

Those who won’t get another shot though include at least 14 students who failed for the third time.

They will be asked to move on to vocational and technical training at Antigua & Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) or National Technical Training Centre (NTTC).

The chief push behind the improved results came from the usually poor performing government schools that succeeded in closing the gap on their private counterparts.

The pass rate at the public schools hiked by an impressive 15 per cent, from a meager 60 per cent in 2009, to the more impressive 74.6 per cent this year.

Private schools also upped their already strong performance as they moved from a rate of 86 per cent passes in 2009 to a 91.6 per cent pass rate.

The state run schools also improved their showing in the top 100 positions from 13 to 20 this year.

However, the private schools maintained their dominance of the list with 87 of their students featured.

Another important disclosure is the increased performance of boys relative to girls.

While the girls once again outperformed the boys, a greater number of boys featured in the top 100 positions.

The increase is partly due to an expansion in the list, which now records the top 100 positions rather than the top 100 students.

Forty-four males made the coveted list this year compared to just 32 in 2009. It compares with 63 girls this year and 62 in 2009.

In all, more than one in five boys still failed the exam compared to one in almost every eight girls showing that boys still have a way to go.

Meanwhile, just 200 of the 307 students who took the Junior Secondary Examinations passed and will be eligible to begin secondary schools in September.

The pass rate of 65.1 per cent represents an improvement of just half of a percent on the previous year.

The hundred plus students who failed the exam will have a chance to re-sit in 2011 unless they are over the age of 16 or failing for the third time in which case, they will move on to either ABICE or NTTC.

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