Sir Hilary Beckles.

Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant

A legal letter has been sent to Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) chairman Sir Hilary Beckles demanding that the council call a special meeting to discuss several matters and issues arising from complaints of irregularities in the grading of this year’s CAPE and CSEC results.

The letter was issued by attorney D.P. Allahar on behalf of the boards of the Dominican Sisters and Holy Ghost Fathers, which runs several Roman Catholic schools in T&T. It called on Beckles, as chairman, to call the special meeting to discuss the issues.

It listed the following areas as needing to be addressed:

(a) the respective weights accorded to the External Assessment and the School-Based Assessments;

(b) the methodology or algorithm used for the moderation of all School-Based Assessments for all subjects;

(c) the methodology or algorithm used to calculate the final overall grades for all subjects;

(d) a suspension of the examination regulations (including the time-limits for any reviews and queries) pending a full audit of the process leading up to the award of all final marks in the 2020 examinations by an independent, external auditing firm appointed by the council; and

(e) that all stakeholders (including ministries, schools and students) be provided in the interim with the information in (a), (b) and (c) above; and the taking of any other measures to preserve the integrity and reputation of the Caribbean Examinations Council while ensuring the transparency and accountability of its operations.

The letter added, “Chairman, this respectful demand, is based on the inescapable conclusion that the “new” processes utilised by CXC for the 2020 CAPE and CSEC exams were flawed.

“You would readily agree that these are critical issues that require urgent clarification, audit and resolution before any final grades are issued.”

It said in the event the request is denied, the attorneys will urge the T&T Government to collaborate with its regional counterparts to urgently convene such a meeting of the council.

“For too long the CXC has operated without accountability and transparency, immune from judicial review and as a virtual monopoly, in disregard of the rights of students who are ultimately the consumers of its certification services. It is insulting that the CXC Registrar has refused to give our Minister of Education any information on the matriculation of the SBAs until after reviews are conducted; encouraging students to instead use the expensive review process,” the letter stated.

The letter said the lawyers were prepared to take the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice to get redress.

After the results were released last week, many students complained about not receiving grades expected based on their School-Based Assessments (SBAs). Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly also contacted CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley after receiving complaints from several schools. Wesley promised to address the concerns, also raised by other countries, expeditiously.

In a statement yesterday, Beckles said CXC had met with ministers to discuss the concerns and identify the underlying causes with a view to providing clarity to its stakeholders.

“CXC is satisfied that ministers have received explanations for its positions in light of the public discourse. It is understood that while there might be policy and technical issues to be addressed immediately, the maintenance of public trust going forward is paramount,” Beckles said.

Beckles assured every reported case will be reviewed and remedies will be applied where required. He said an independent review team will begin this work shortly and present a report for discussion with relevant stakeholders.