Findings of CSEC and CAPE independent review to be released today
PROFESSOR SIR HILARY BECKLES, chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)
October 20, 2020

Findings of CSEC and CAPE independent review to be released today

THE FINDINGS OF the independent review team convened to review the modified approach for the administration of the July 2020 CSEC and CAPE examinations are expected to be released to the public today, Tuesday October 20.

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, chairman of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) made this announcement on Sunday during a virtual press conference on the Zoom meeting platform with journalists from across the region.

The team was convened at the beginning of October, following a seemingly significant outcry in the region for an indepth look into this year’s examinations.

Beckles said a draft report was sent to the ministers of education across the region over the weekend with anticipation for a meeting yesterday, between ministers and the management of the CXC to discuss and finalise the contents of the report, which would be released to the public subsequently.

Prior to Sunday’s conference, management of the Council also met on Saturday to discuss the findings of the review team.

“Council was entirely satisfied with the presentation made, the recommendations and is of the opinion that with the immediate implementation of solutions to solve the current problems of student expectations, that we will put in place a strategy to go forward with the medium to long term reforms,” Beckles said.

The chairman revealed that 23 recommendations were made by the independent panel, while several others were also derived from Saturday’s meeting, following the discussion of the report.

He said there was “a very urgent need and immediate need to address all of the specific concerns raised by stakeholders, schools, teachers, parents, students”.

While making a few general comments in respect of the findings expressed in the draft report, Beckles said that the CXC did well within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to recommend and implement an “innovative, modified exam strategy for the region”.

He also said that the approach was educationally and technically sound and that the system of marking and adjudication of performance and assessments is also technically sound and quality assured.

The CXC chairman added that the organisation conducted its remit in a professional manner befitting its reputation and competence.

However, Beckles said that “given the fragmented nature of the ecosystem

in which schools and ministries are dependent upon CXC and CXC dependent upon them, that within the context of the logic of this structure, that problems identified as a result, could have been placed in a more effective communications response”.

He also noted that communications between various elements of the system could have been more effective and that there remains a measure of misunderstanding about the nature of the changes, particularly in the school’s setting, despite formal effort by the Council.

And these misunderstandings contributed to a high measure of anxiety in respect of performance by students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders.

The chairman said that the public outcry from stakeholders originate largely from the notion of expected performance outcomes where predictions are sometimes at variance with performance.

He also noted that there are sometimes technical challenges in examinations communications between CXC and some schools and that in some instances, the Council could have responded to concerns with greater alacrity.

“But critically, that all of these challenges, notwithstanding the fundamentals at CXC are sound, but that the relationships within the system must now be made more efficient…it is necessary for the ecosystem to undergo an audit review, that is all of the parts of the educational system in which CXC is a critical component, the relationships in which all of these components must now be audited, reviewed and enhanced…” Beckles said.