CXC records slight decline in candidates taking 2016-17 exams

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) Monday reported a decline in the number of candidates who registered for major exams in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Director of Operations, Stephen Savoury, who delivered the CXC assessment of the exams, told reporters that there was a one to two per cent drop in the number of candidate entries in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and t Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

CSEC is offered in January for re-sit and private candidates and in May/June for in-school candidates and private candidates while CAPE is designed to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical achievement of student.

Savoury said there are several factors contributing to that decline.

“It is something that we have been talking about for quite a bit with regards not only to the number of candidates that take the exams but the number of subjects as well that should be taken.

“Those are the things we have been talking to our stakeholders,” he said, adding “for example we know to move on from a matriculation perspective we would need at least five subjects and so on.

“Presently your average in this particular exams is three subjects that may be as a result of the fact that there are some candidates who are taking subjects in January and so that is something we looking to correlate.

“But in terms of a specific reason, I don’t believe I will be able to give you that definitively there are other factors involved,” he told reporters.

CXC Registrar, Glenroy Cumberbatch, who gave an assessment of students’ performance in this year’s exams, said overall, 92 per cent of candidates received grades one to five this year, compared to last year’s figure of 90 per cent.

“If you look at CAPE Applied Maths, last year 91 per cent of the persons got a grade one to five, this year 93 per cent of the candidates got a grade one to five.

“If you look at Caribbean Studies, last year 97 per cent got between grades one to five, this year 98 per cent got between grades one to five,” Cumberbatch said, adding in Communication Studies, 97 per cent of students got between grades one to five last year as against 98 per cent this year.

“Those are selections of the many subjects taken,” he said, explaining also the change in criteria for CSEC grades, in response to concerns that a Grade 3 is not acceptable.

“We keep hearing that persons are not accepting grades three. Grade three is not the same grade three that existed before 1998 and we have to make that statement all the time”.

Cumberbatch said if a student had received a grade three in 1998 “you would have gotten a grade four or something else…this time,” adding “so it is not that grade three wasn’t acceptable then/

“They are two different grade threes, there are two different sets of marks and we have something on the website that speaks to the changes. So please have a look at it before people make a decision that they only accepting grade one and grade two because grade three would not have been quote, unquote a pass,” he told reporters.

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