By Machela Osagboro
The regional examination body has confirmed that it has made significant changes to how students across the region will sit the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) exams which is a precursor to tertiary level studies.
The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) had announced earlier this month its intention to work with the regional governments in sticking to all the health protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The exam body had indicated its intention to move to delivering the yearly exams via its online platform for all the eligible candidates.
Observer spoke with the local CXC registrar, Myrick Smith, who shared that, “as much a s possible the exams will be done online, and our greatest challenge will be to accommodate as much candidates as we can so that we may be successful”.
“A new examination schedule has been constructed which has the exams taking place in June/July,” he added. “All the islands remain fairly fluid in terms of when normal school sessions will resume, the present situation is that all activities are essentially pushed back for a month. Deadlines for the submission of SBAs [school based assessments] and the completion of moderation exercises and practical examinations we are now looking to the end of May as it was formerly the end of April,” Smith said .
He further outlined the other changes to the model of the exam, saying whereas the exams would usually consist of Paper One and Paper Two for high school candidates, they will now do only the Paper One and have their SBAs graded as the paper two component of the CSEC and CAPE exams. While in the case of private students, they will do a Paper One and a Paper Three.
Smith advised students to continue to use the online learning hub on the CXC website which has the various syllabi for students to use to their advantage. The registrar also said that candidates can take advantage of another website called notes master which is a similar to the CXC learning hub, and which has past papers and answer keys which students can utilize.
In regard to the success rate of the various countries being able to administer the exams electronically, smith said that he cannot discount the challenges that each country will face.
“We could look at success in terms of the ability of the region to undertake and administer the exam, that there might be some challenges in that aspect of it in terms of Internet reliability and having enough systems to service the number of candidates,” the registrar said.
Despite this, Smith was sure to point out the fact that this was a new endeavour and asserted that Antigua and Barbuda is ready to embark on such a challenge and to come out with positive results.
Many have expressed concerns about the viability of the new exam format, however Smith said, “CXC has assured that its psychometric competencies and its ability to design examinations that would test in a valid way are under control, and so the grades awarded through this adjusted system should not be any way different or inferior or superior to grades in previous years”.