The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is expected to release exam results today and even as thousands of students anxiously await their grades – officials have admitted to a general reduction in the numbers of candidates that registered to sit exams in 2021, as well as high levels of absenteeism.

Delivering an analysis of the results during a formal ceremony in Guyana yesterday, CXC’s Director of Operations, Examinations Services, Dr Nicole Manning revealed with respect to both the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) – “Guyana’s performance was marginally higher compared with the rest of the region.”

Revealing there had been two sittings of exams this year with the traditional June/July period, she said a special sitting had also been scheduled for students from St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, Dominica, and Barbados due to the disruptions caused by the volcanic eruption and Tropical Storm Elsa.

In outlining the slew of special measures CXC had introduced this year to accommodate students who continued to battle the economic and psycho-social effects caused by COVID-19, Manning said they accepted the challenge and acted to preserve the educational well-being of all students.

Among the measures implemented was a reduction in the School Based Assessment (SBA) requirements by as much as 50 per cent in some instances; a reduction in the requirements for specific subjects in the area of Modern Languages; a delay in examinations by six weeks; and a delay in the submission of the SBA’s by six weeks.
Adding that CXC had agreed to a level of flexibility regarding onsite moderation and had released Paper Two topics to candidates five weeks in advance of the exam in June/July, she added that for the first time, CXC had “introduced a deferral to candidates who felt they were not ready to sit exams in 2021.”

She added, “They had the opportunity to defer some or all subjects they were registered for with the choice to sit in January or June 2022.”
And for the first time again, CXC provided an opportunity to deferred candidates who registered to write exams in 2021, for SBA’s to be accepted in January 2022.
Manning said, “We did see a reduction both in candidate entries as well as subject entries, and this would have been the lowest cohort for the last four years.”
She said for candidate entries – there was as much as 27,750 reductions; and for subject entries – there was as much 110, 020 reductions.

“Significant to note was student absenteeism which stood at 8.83 per cent which was the highest in four years,” Manning added.
She continued, “This group would have registered, not necessarily deferred, but would have decided not to attend the examination.”
In relation to CSEC, she revealed, “We saw a reduction likewise and that reduction resulted in 103,445 candidates sitting examinations this year and 502,859 subject entries for CSEC.”
“Similarly, as we had it for CAPE, we had a large number of absenteeism at 11.23 per cent.”

Of significant note also, she pointed to overall deferrals which stood at 1,251 subject entries for CAPE and 15,179 for CSEC.

CEO and Registrar of CXC, Dr Wayne Wesley said they were not immune to the challenges resulting from COVID-19.

Indicating that CXC was moving ahead with its five-year strategic plan to provide quality relevant and globally recognised education to all, he admitted COVID-19 had highlighted several weaknesses in the education system which they have started to address.
Regarding the results, he stressed, “These are preliminary results and preliminary means that once we release the results to students, they have up until the end of November 15…30 days to raise any queries or concerns they might have in relation to their grades so it gives us a chance to quality assure and finalise their grades.”

Addressing students who would today receive a “U” for ungraded papers, he explained that some persons would not understand that it meant, “We have not finalised the grading for that particular subject because it means information is outstanding that we are still awaiting. “

He said this could include the non-submission of grades for some reason or another; or SBA’s marks that are outstanding
Wesley assured, “Within this period, those ungraded will still be graded…so all is not lost.”

Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul