Saturday, July 24, 2021


The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has received negative reviews from students across the region.

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According to NationNews, “A survey conducted among students across the region pointed to extreme dissatisfaction with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and the arrangements the agency made for this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).”

The news agency stated that the Council conducted the online survey to ascertain students’ general level of satisfaction with CXC itself, and the exit examinations it administrates between 31st May and 2nd June.  Respondents originated mainly from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, with sizeable representation of Guyanese and Eastern Caribbean students.

A regional lobby group calling itself the Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress now seeks to signal its “intent to form a permanent advocacy vehicle through which we can continue to promote the best interests of students and parents, amplify their voices and collaborate with other stakeholders as we seek to relook Caribbean educational assessment to keep pace with developments in international best practice”.  

This decision is a direct spin-off from the survey results.  

The Coalition reported that, “More than three-quarters are dissatisfied with the arrangements for 2021 exams.…8 out of 10 students are not ready to take examinations as presently structured and timetabled in 2021; 72 per cent of students want creative solutions, not a mere delay of traditional exams; 7 out of 10 students are completely dissatisfied with CXC’s deficient communication; and, most damningly, 80 per cent of students do not feel that CXC values them as stakeholders.” 

Many grievances surfaced as the exams scheduled to begin on 28th June will maintain their original formats notwithstanding the loss of instructional time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Coalition declared that a demand has been made by regional students for an “independent commission of inquiry to investigate the events of 2020-21 and the operations of CXC generally (87 percent support), and a permanent independent regulatory body to oversee the operations of CXC (87 per cent support)”.  

To this call also, has been added the support by over ninety per cent of students for the establishment of a regional parent-student body to advocate for their best interest.

As it moves forward, the Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress has expressed its lack of conviction about the “seriousness with which the CXC sought to implement the recommendations of the Independent Review Team, which was convened by CXC Chairman Sir Hilary Beckles and submitted its report in October last year.”

The team had reviewed the modified approach for the administration of the July/August 2020 CSEC and CAPE exams, the moderation process applied to the School-Based Assessment (SBA) for those exams, and the grading process, among other related matters. 

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