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Dr Wayne Wesley

Carisa Lee

The COVID-19 pandemic has not negatively impacted student performance in the CAPE and CSEC examinations, as there has been an overall increase in performance when compared to previous years.

According to Caribbean Examinations Council Director of Operations Nicole Manning said on Tuesday that there has been an increase in grade ones, with 12 per cent of CSEC Math candidates obtaining grade one when compared to eight per cent in 2019 and eleven in 2018.

Some 52 per cent of CSEC students passed Math, a marked improvement from 46 per cent in 2019 and a slight improvement from 49 per cent in 2018.

“The council is happy about that,” Manning said during a virtual press conference announcing the results hosted by CXC from Barbados.

She said 72 per cent of students across the region who sat CAPE Math attained acceptable grades.

But Math was not the only subject where students attained improved grades.

According to Manning, students showed a slight improvement for CSEC English with 82 per cent attaining an acceptable grade and 23 per cent receiving grade one. There were also slight improvements in other subjects such as Sciences, Social Studies and History.

“We continue to encourage the candidates who are preparing this year to ensure that they perform as well,” Manning said.

The region announced its first case of COVID-19 back in March and since then many events had to be postponed and changes made to facilitate classes and exams. One immediate change was the introduction of virtual classes for students, as schools were physically closed. Some of these students had to prepare for exams in May/June 2020, a date that was later pushed back to July with some changes to the exam schedule and format.

The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher’s Association had called for the exam to be staged in September and slammed the Ministry of Education for not postponing the exams.

But on Tuesday, CXC Registrar and CEO Dr Wayne Wesley said he was happy the exam took place when it did.

“Given what has happened in other parts of the world we should be proud,” Wesley said.

“We have been able to complete the process and be ready for the presentation this morning.”

Sharing the same view was Barbados’ Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Santia Bradshaw, who said CXC took a different approach and they must be applauded.

Bradshaw told those watching across the region that while COVID-19 has brought its challenges, they pushed ahead with CSEC and CAPE to ensure no child was left behind and to preserve the integrity of the exams.

“High stakes exams were cancelled across the world,” Bradshaw said.

CXC will release the official results to various education ministries across the region later Tuesday.