By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The official report from the independent review team to review the processes and the modified approach to the exams this year has been released.
The review team was seen as necessary and was convened by Chairman of the Caribbean Examination Council, Sir Hilary Beckles announced on October 2 with the report being disseminated to the regional ministries of education on October 19.
The review team was asked to focus on:
1. the modified approach for the administration of the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations;
2. the moderation process applied to the School-Based Assessment (SBA) for the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE Examinations; and
3. the grading process for the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations.
4. differences between the procedures implemented in 2020 and those in previous years.
According to the report, the Team concluded that there were challenges with communication about the examinations in 2020 and some improvement with communication between CXC and schools would have helped diminish the concerns expressed by teachers, students, and parents.
Also, CXC’s increasing reliance on this modality for marking might provide an incentive for the institution to use this medium to extend its reach and improve communication with Principals, students, and teachers.
The Team concluded that there was a crisis of expectations in 2020. Teachers normally predict student grades and they believed their predictions would stand in this case… Further communication with teachers on this point might have curbed some of their concerns about the differences between their assessment of their students and the formal CXC assessment which resulted in lower grades.
In the report, it was concluded that the focus on recurring concerns about the administration of CXC examinations and results in 2020, the challenges described were most likely amplified by constraints imposed by the Coronavirus which disrupted normal school routines and communities of learning in which most students feel secure.
The issues delineated in the presentations focus on one primary concern, namely, that the grades received by some candidates in the 2020 CAPE and CSEC examinations were lower in some subjects than expected and some students who are considered to be high performers received low grades. In its investigation of the areas circumscribed by the Chairman of Council, the Review Team sought answers for the following questions.
1. Did the adoption of the “modified approach” and the administration of the examination affect student performance?
2. Did full moderation of SBAs in 2020 when compared with random sampling in previous years affect the results of candidates on Paper 3?
3. Did the adjusted grading model used for determining the profile and subject grades affect the overall subject grades of candidates?
4. Were there any other factors that may have affected the performance of candidates in the examinations?
Some suggested recommendations for the immediate term include:
1. an extension of the deadline beyond Friday, October 23, 2020, for submission of Requests for Reviews (RFR) consistent with the regional impact of conducting modified exams during COVID19.
2. Reduce cost for Requests for Reviews (RFR) for this recent 2020 sitting of exams.
3. Revert to the pre-January 2018 position and practice where a Review included a remark.
4. Abandon the CXC policy and practice of grade diminution in CXC’s declaration “that a review of your script may result in your overall Grade either increasing, decreasing or remaining the same”. CXC is estopped or prevented from arriving at a lower grade than what CXC itself previously determined and on which students relied.
Some suggested recommendations for the mid to long term:
1. Formalize the provision and release of strategic training workshops for teachers to arrest the difference between teacher-awarded scores and CXC-moderated scores.
2. Institute initiatives and programmes to ensure a more rigorous and much sharper focus of teachers in preparing students for SBAs and provide requisite training on all aspects including:
3. Formalise administrative training for teachers on preparing and uploading SBAs.
4. Engage in a series of education campaigns for students to help them anticipate, respond to, and avoid consistent impediments faced in completing SBAs.
5. As technological innovation for handling voluminous files is updated and refined, the information should be shared with stakeholders including local registrars and teachers and requisite training conducted.
Please see the full report here: www.cxc.org/independent-review-report