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Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

Unsatisfied with explanations from the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) over concerns relating to the results of this year’s Caribbean Secondary Entrance Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) – the Ministry of Education says it will despatch a third letter to the regional body today seeking further clarification on several issues.

The previous two letters were forwarded to the examinations body soon after the results were released on September 22.

Immediately after the results were released by CXC, queries relating to the marking scheme used emanated from across the region. CXC later issued a directive that satisfactory explanations had been provided to each territory on the marking scheme used. However, it was not until regional calls for a review intensified that CXC agreed to set up an independent review team.

CXC is due to meet tomorrow (October 17) to discuss the report that was submitted.

Meanwhile, T&T’s Education Ministers, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Lisa Morris-Julien, met with CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley and his team yesterday to discuss concerns that had arisen.

In a release afterwards, the ministry claimed the discussions were very detailed.

“Clarification was generally given on the weighting of the examination papers, and how the grades from each paper were applied to the subject profiles and therefore affected the overall composite score and the final grade assigned,” the ministry said.

“The CXC indicated that the method of grading had not been altered for 2020 and the weighting of both the Paper 1 and SBA remained the same, with the overall total score being reduced commensurate with the removal of the Paper 2 mark.”

The release said CXC also made general reference, with some specific examples, to how SBA marks would have varied based on the moderation process used.

However, while the ministry said the meeting proved insightful, it still required “more details than were provided.”

As such, the ministry said additional clarification is now being sought regarding trends in performance, in both the Paper I and the SBA Paper by school and subject over the years, as this would be critical to highlight the exact point of deviance between the expected and actual performance in 2020. Also required is the correlation of the above-mentioned data with schools’ track records of submitting SBA samples for moderation.

Responding to this yesterday, students attending secondary schools in Chaguanas, San Fernando and Port-of-Spain said they remained despondent because their futures were in limbo.

A 17-year-old from Central who applied to pursue medicine at a university abroad but was awaiting a response to his query, which had been submitted to CXC, said, “My life is at a stand-still right now. I cannot move on as the grades I received were not good enough although my application prior to these exams were good enough for them to accept me.”

He added, “Some universities have closed their registration while others have extended theirs until the end of October…but many students who were top academic achievers will now be denied the opportunity to continue their education because of this unfortunate episode.”

This sentiment was echoed by another 17-year-old from Gasparillo who said he remained depressed, while his teachers and parents continued to be “heavy-hearted” over it. He too is awaiting responses to queries.

Two students from separate schools in Port-of-Spain reported being depressed and anxious over the sudden shut-down of their respective lives.

The lone female student said, “I never envisioned after working so hard to end up like this…our lives have basically come to a halt and it feels unbearable because we all had dreams. I always thought I would head off to university right after high school and that is what I had been working towards before COVID and now this…it is a little too much.”