CXC angry at criticism from Jamaica
(Jamaica Observer) The leadership of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is fuming in the wake of calls for an enquiry into whether it is to be blamed for the significant decline in pass rates for English Language and Mathematics among students throughout the Caribbean in May this year.
Registrar at the CXC, Dr Didacus Jules, is not amused by what he has described as the blame game that is currently driving the public debate about the falling exam grades.
Dr Jules responded angrily in an interview with the Jamaica Observer Friday when asked to comment on the claims made by Jamaica College principal Ruel Reid that the CXC itself should be probed to ascertain its role in the poor showing among students across the region.
Reid last week insisted that Caribbean governments should demand an explanation from CXC, as the examination body was not above scrutiny.
Among other things, Reid is questioning whether CXC made changes to its marking schemes in response to criticisms that its examinations had got easier over recent years.
Following Reid’s call, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites disclosed that he had, in fact, requested an explanation from CXC.
Technocrats inside the education ministry have also sided with Reid, albeit off the record.
The minister’s pronouncement came even as local educators showed obvious alarm at the results, particularly against the background of gains that had been recorded in 2010 and 2011.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Education, 46.2 per cent of the students passed English Language, a significant drop when compared with a pass rate of 63.9 per cent last year, and 64.9 per cent in 2010.
In Mathematics, 31.7 per cent of students attained passes, a decrease from 33.2 per cent last year, and 39.5 per cent in 2010.
Speaking with the Sunday Observer on Friday, president of the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools Sharon Reid said the principals were also very concerned and would meet shortly to address the situation.
“As a body, we will be communicating to see what strategies we can come up with, but we are also looking forward to hearing from the CXC in terms of what they have been seeing too,” she said.