August 31, 2007

‘I know that I have more than O’level knowledge’

“We are some of the best students in the country. We are not U students. We are the students who performed the best at the CSEC two years ago… A U means that you don’t even have O’level knowledge. To say that is unkind. I know that I have more than O’level knowledge.”{{more}}

These are the words of a former science student of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College who received the shock of her life last week when she learned that she had scored grade U in Mathematics and the Science subjects which she wrote.

She was not alone. Nineteen students received grade U

in Biology, 10 in Chemistry, 8 in Physics, and 12 in Mathematics.

The broken-hearted student said that coming out of her exams, she was fairly confident and felt that she had done sufficiently well to pass. She said that throughout her years at the College, she had maintained a 75% average.

Searchlight has learned that scoring a U means that your performance is so poor that it has fallen off the normal curve.

While the student said that she intends to query her results with the examining body, she was alarmed at the high fee of £50 per subject for a review, or £120 per subject to have your paper re-marked and a report given as to why you are awarded a particular grade. This, she said, is more than the cost of writing the subject. “Some of my friends cannot afford to pay that!” she exclaimed.

With her voice breaking, the articulate young woman said that she views the entire situation as unfair. “It makes it seem as if I have gone to college for two years and wasted time… I remained focused. I did not get into anything that young people are led astray by,” she declared.

Another student lamented that they did not have a teacher for Mathematics, and were forced to get private classes in Chemistry.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, acknowledging the poor results, said on Monday he is looking at ways to provide incentives to Science and Mathematics teachers and Science students.