Sixth Form students attending Presentation College, San Fernando, are calling on the relevant authorities to carry out an independent audit into the operations of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
Their demand follows an unrelenting call across the region for a review of the results for this year’s Caribbean Secondary Entrance Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE) exams.
The students came together to voice their anger, disappointment and frustration over the preliminary CAPE results which they described as “inaccurate” and “inconsistent with their historic performances.”
A 17-year-old student said, “Many innocent students have fallen victim to what seems to be a logistics nightmare as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Another referred to the debacle as an “Atrocity being displayed by CXC which had left many students across the region traumatized; and angry parents calling for a review of grades, a waiver of remarking fees; lawsuits; protests; and a general upheaval on social media platforms.”
The students are now questioning if this was a deliberate attempt by Caribbean governments to manipulate CXC, in order to delay scholarships as a result of economic decline and a lack of revenue for funding.
Soon after the results were released by CXC and concerns were voiced across the region—the examining body issued a directive that satisfactory explanations had been provided to each territory on the marking scheme used.
However, after regional calls for a review intensified, CXC agreed to set up an Independent Review Team.
CXC’s revised position came days after T&T’s Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the Ministry of Education (MOE) would compile a list of issues requiring advanced explanations from CXC, for submission to the Local Registrar and for transmission to the examining body.
Her intervention last week followed increased calls by parents, students and educators who continued to express dissatisfaction with the explanations presented by CXC on the grading system used.
The Sixth Form students at Presentation College praised their school’s past accomplishments as they produced several President’s Medal winners at both the CSEC and CAPE levels; copped hundreds of Open and Additional scholarships; and had some of their boys elevated to the posts of Prime Minister and President.
The upset student body questioned, “Did our school lose its’ reputation magically in the blink of an eye?”
Even as they spoke with the Trinidad Guardian pre-action protocol letters were being prepared by lawyers on behalf of some parents for delivery to the MOE.
The students said the establishment of the independent team had raised further questions as they demanded that CXC come clean and respond to the hundreds of thousands of students across the region that have been affected.
The questions they raised included how independent and reliable was the review team; how different was this review team when compared to the previous markers; if internal assessments were marked down and how different was this marking scheme compared to that used by local teachers.
Almost in tears, one boy said, “Teachers IA marks can’t be totally off after having used the very same marking schemes provided in the syllabus prepared by you CXC.”
The Presentation team claimed, “Our teachers sent up IA’s with almost maximum marks, multiple choice questions that were relatively easy…we wrote the exams. We would know our efforts and so will our teachers, yet persons are receiving grades as though they’re in a cricket match… loads of sixes, a variety of four’s, three’s and rarely one’s and two’s. Seriously, this cannot be right.”