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By Theresa Goodwin

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Students in Antigua and Barbuda have been congratulated for their performance in July’s Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams which saw many improved results despite difficult circumstances.

The exams, usually held in June, were postponed by several weeks due to the Covid-19 crisis. The regional examination body also made changes to the exams’ format and grading system, much to the dismay of many across the region.

Preliminary statistics for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exams, the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC) were released by the Ministry of Education yesterday.

In CSEC, in particular, there is an improvement in the overall pass rate in a number of subjects compared to 2019. Education officials are awaiting a review of the grades for English language and performing arts.

Local CXC Registrar Myrick Smith provided a detailed breakdown during a news conference on Thursday.

 A total of 2,773 candidates sat the three exams – an increase on the 2,107 who did so in 2019. The overall percentage pass for the entire island stands at 75.8 percent, a slight increase on the 73.9 percent rate for 2019.

There were improvements in CSEC results for pure mathematics, agricultural science, Caribbean history, economics, English language, French, information technology, integrated science, mathematics, office administration, principles of accounts, principles of business, social studies, theatre arts, visual arts, electronic document preparation and management (EDPM), physical education, human and social biology, family and resource management, and textiles, clothing and fashion, among others.

There was a slight reduction in the overall performance for biology, chemistry, geography, music, physics and Spanish.

“Overall, out of the 23 subject areas, in 21 of them there was just about the same performance in comparison to last year. Only 11 subject areas show a decrease in performance,” Smith said.

As it relates to the CAPE results, he explained, “The total number of units taken was 1,713 and that represents a decrease from 2019 when it was 1,971. The percentage pass overall was 83.8 percent, a decline over 2019 when it was 88 percent.”

Smith further outlined that, “There are 29 subject areas and 27 of those subject areas have two units and we noticed that there has been an increase.”

Education Minister Michael Browne and Director Clare Browne, who also addressed the media, spoke highly of the students and commended their efforts.

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