Marginal rise in CSEC passes

-Maths, English still unsatisfactory

With Essequibo girl Zimeena Rasheed scoring an astounding 20 CSEC subjects, the Ministry of Education yesterday celebrated a marginal improvement in the number of Grades 1 to 3 passes but results for English A and Mathematics remain unsatisfactory.

Rasheed, from the Anna Regina Multilateral School secured 18 Grade 1s and two Grade 2s but despite the better individual performances and the public expenditure on the education system, the overall number of Grades 1 to 3 passes moved a smidgeon from 58.69% last year to 59.31%. There was no breakdown of the passes in this category between the public and private schools.

Queen’s College is the top school this year but Rasheed’s school also produced good results and the holder of the second spot, Yogeeta Persaud with 18 Grade Ones. While both would have secured Grade Ones in Mathematics, the national result for this core subject was dismal. Nearly three in four continue to get below Grade Three. This year only 28.92% of students secured Grades 1 to 3, down from last year’s 29.69%. In the other core subject, English A, results improved from 37.02% to 45.69%.

While this was a significant improvement, it masked a precipitous decline in the previous year compared to 2011 reputedly as a result of a change in the syllabus. The pass rate in 2011 was  60.8% but it fell to 37.02% in 2012. A syllabus revision which appeared in the English A exams for the first time that year was said to have had an impact on results across the region.  This year’s English A result, while improved, was still far below the 2011 return.

The results in Mathematics and English A would call into question the impact of a remedial programme that had been introduced by the Ministry of Education in 2012 for an instant improvement in results. It was to have been broadened this year from its original pilot programme.

The Ministry of Education in a release yesterday said that there were excellent performances in 15 subjects  where the number of Grades 1 to 3 exceeded 75%. These subjects included Agriculture Science, Economics,  Information Technology, Integrated Science and French.

Satisfactory performances were registered in 16 subjects where the number of Grades 1 to 3 passes exceeded 50%. These subjects included Biology, Caribbean History, Chemistry, English B, Geography, Physics and Spanish. Additional Mathematics which was written for the first time in 2012 when a pass rate of 58.33% was registered saw its result zoom to 80.83% this year.

While the full analysis of the performance of individual candidates is not yet available, the Ministry of Education said that it was provided by the Caribbean Examinations Council with a list of 231 candidates who had secured Grade one passes in eight subjects or more compared to 175 last year.

Of this number, 69 students gained 11 Grade ones or more compared to 40 last year. (See list of top students on page 22).

Thirty-two of the top 69 students were from Queen’s College.

There were 13,654 candidate entries this year, with 8,563 of them from the public sector and  5,091 from the private sector. There were 13,878 candidate entries last year. The number of subject entries this year rose to 77,920 from 77,108 last year.

In what has been a growing trend here and in the Caribbean, the number of female candidate entries far exceeded their male counterparts. There were 8649 females writing the exams compared to 5,005 males.

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