Guyana has recorded an improved pass rate of 38.7% at Mathematics at this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, which Education Minister Priya Manickchand reported as the best performance in the subject in the country’s history.
Manickchand made this declaration during the announcement of the results of the 2014 CSEC and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency (CAPE) Unit One examinations yesterday, where it was revealed that less than 40% of candidates this year who wrote Mathematics gained more than Grade Three.
The performance represents an improvement of almost 10 percentage points over last year’s pass rate of 28.92%.
Manickchand noted that the pass rate pertained to 13,724 candidates who sat this year’s CSEC examinations
in Guyana and not simply a cross-section, since Mathematics is a mandatory subject. “In many countries in the Caribbean, only students who passed a pre-test are allowed to write Mathematics at CXC,” she said. She continued, “…For the last two years, we have mandated that every single child must write Mathematics and English. So this 39% you’re seeing here is actually 39% of the entire population and not 39% of our good students.”
The Ministry also released pass rates from 1990 to the present showing the performances in Mathematics and substantiating that some gains have been made.
Of the candidates who sat this year’s CSEC examinations, 8,642 were from public schools, while 5,082 or 37% were from private schools. The gender breakdown showed that there were 8,837 female candidates, while there were 4887 male candidates.
This year’s overall pass rate for the General and Technical proficiencies for Grades One to Three in the 35 subjects offered in Guyana at the CSEC level was 60.21%, a less than 1% increase from last year’s 59.31%. The overall Grade One to Grade Four pass rate was 88.44%.
The overall pass rate for CAPE was pegged at 85.07 %, with 798 students sitting the examination. This represents a slight decrease from 2013, where a pass rate of 86.6% was achieved. An increase was noted in the Grades III to V performances. Sixty-four percent of entrants were females while 36 % were males.
“No Unit recorded a pass rate that was below 50%,” Manickchand noted.
Pilot project yields
Meanwhile, the 41 schools where the Ministry of Education’s Mathe-matics and English A pilot project was launched for CSEC students recorded dramatic improvements in Mathematics. The programme was launched in 2011, following the ministry’s observations of much-needed emphasis on the subjects.
According to the minister, schools in the programme, both in George-town and other areas, have seen remarkable increases in Mathematics passes. East Ruimveldt Secondary School, for example, achieved a 41% pass rate, an increase of 37% from last year’s dismal 4%, while Zeeburg Secondary saw an increase to a 65% pass rate from 30% last year.
In English A this year, the pass rate was 46.98%, representing a just over 1% increase from last year’s 45.69%. The ministry’s pilot programme in this subject also saw notable improvements.
The Ministry, however, did acknowledge that Mathematics and English were among the four subjects where “unsatisfactory” performances were registered. The other two were Music and Visual Arts.
In contrast, “excellent” performances were recorded in 12 subjects, where the Grades One to Three passes exceeded 75%: Agriculture Science (Sin-gle Award), Food & Nutrition, French, Home Economics Management, Information Technology, Physics, Religious Edu-cation, Theatre Arts, Electronic Document Preparation and Manage-ment, Physical Education & Sport, Additional Mathematics and Building Technology (Const.).
Physical Education & Sports recorded 100% Grade One to Three pass rate, Manickchand noted. In the Home Economics subjects, she added, increases were recorded in all areas. “The pass rate in Food & Nutrition was 80.94% in 2013 and 88.12% in 2014. Significant improvement was noted in Clothing & Textiles from 2013 to 2014, where the Grades One to Three pass rate was 47.11% and 63.41%, respectively. Home Economics Management moved from 73.01% in 2013 to 88.97% in 2014,” she said.
She also highlighted the improvement in the Grades One to Three passes in French from 85.71% in 2013 to 88.65% in 2014 as well as Grade One to Three passes over 75% in Theatre Arts.
The Ministry reported that “satisfactory” performances were recorded in 19 subjects, where the Grades One to Three passes exceeded 50%, while Grades One to Four passes were in excess of 75%: Agricultural Science (DA), Biology, Caribbean History, Chemistry, Clothing & Textiles, Economics, English B, Geography, Integrated Science, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Spanish, Technical Drawing, Human and Social Biology, Building Technology (Woods), Electrical & Electronic Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology.
The Grades One to Three passes in Human and Social Biology improved from 61.38% in 2013 to 62.2% in 2014. However, there was a drop in Industrial Technology subjects. “Performances in Mechanical Engineering Technology moved from 78.62% in 2013 to 72.74% in 2014,” Manickchand added.
Top Performing Schools
Queen’s College secured the highest pass rate, with 98.77%, while The Bishops’ High School came a close second with 98.7%.
Secondary Schools with pass rates of 80% and more included Anna Regina Multilateral, West Dem-erara Secondary, Zeeburg Secondary, Leguan Secon-dary, President’s College, Annandale Secondary, J C Chandisingh Secondary, Mackenzie High, Queen’s College, The Bishops’ High School, St Joseph High, St Stanislaus College, St Rose’s High, Central High and Brickdam Secondary.
Secondary Schools with pass rates ranging from 65% to 79% included Christ Church Secondary with a pass rate of 79.61% and the New Amsterdam Multilateral with 77.12%. There were 12 others including Skeldon Line Path Secondary, Three Miles Secondary and Diamond Secondary.
Out of 192 candidates securing grade ones in 11 subjects and more, 50 of these students were from Queen’s College. The performances of the Bishops’ High School, Saraswati Vidya Niketan and Anna Regina Multilateral were also notable; these schools had 20, 18, and 17 candidates, respectively.
Queen’s College again topped the CAPE results, with two students gaining seven grades one.
Nine public schools had candidates who wrote CAPE subjects along with three private schools— the Saraswati Vidya Niketan, the New Guyana School and the Adult Education Association.
Students achieved a 100% pass rate in 12 units: Art & Design Unit 1; Electrical and Electronic Technology Unit 1; Environmental Science Unit 1; Food and Nutrition Unit 1; Geography Unit 1; Spanish Unit 1; Digital Media Unit 1; Food & Nutrition Unit 2; Geography Unit 2; Information Technology Unit 2; Literatures in English Unit 2 and Spanish Unit 2.
Further, in the following twenty-five Units the pass rate was 75% or higher with Grade 1 to 5 passes: Accounting Unit 1 and Unit 2; Applied Mathematics Unit 1 and Unit 2; Biology Unit 1 and Unit 2; Caribbean Studies Unit 1; Chemistry Unit 2; Communication Studies Unit 1; Computer Science Unit 1 and Unit 2; Economics Unit 1 and Unit 2; Environmental Science Unit 2; Information Technology Unit 1; Law Unit 1 and Unit 2; Literatures in English Unit 1; Management of Business Unit 1 and Unit 2; Physics Unit 1 and Unit 2; Pure Mathematics Unit 2; Sociology Unit 1 and Unit 2.
Pure Mathematics Unit 1 remained somewhat constant with 58.59% in 2013 and 57.73% in 2014, Manickchand stated.
Digital Media was written for the first time and there was a 100% pass rate, while over 95% pass rates were recorded in Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies.