No reduction of grades during review, CXC assures

THE Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has announced that it will suspend the practice of reducing grades upon review of Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) results and will be clearing the backlog of requests for review that is now before it by this weekend.

The regional examination body has also halved the fees charged to candidates to review results for the exams, and will be refunding those who have aleady paid the full amount.

Registrar, Dr Wayne Wesley, made the announcement yesterday at a virtual press conference called to highlight some of the findings of the independent review team, which was convened to carry out a review of the administration of the July/August exams. The review was undertaken following complaints about the grades received from the sittings, and requests for review from 2,550 CSEC candidates and 2,353 CAPE candidates.

In the meantime, he said the deadline for review of requests has been extended from October 23 to November 5. “The review process will include a re-mark. [Where] the resulting grade remains the same, the candidate will be advised and if the resulting grade is increased, [the candidate will be given] a full refund of the review fee,” he said.

Dr Wesley assured that grades will not be reduced even if the review indicates that there should be a downward marking, which means grades will either remain the same or be increased.

He said additional capacity will be put in place to ensure that queries are responded to in the shortest possible time in order to clear the backlog. “Those who are currently seeking to have direct contact with CXC, provisions will be put in place by the end of this week for persons to interact directly with the CXC online for a reveiw request, thus shortening the time between the request for review and the return of the results. That means you don’t necessarily have to go through your local registrar in all instances, particularly for those persons who are still intending on matriculating into university,” Dr Wesley said, noting that these measures are part of recommendations from the review team, which are to take immediate effect.

He said other recommendations for the medium to long term are being incorporated into the council’s management strategy going forward to ensure that education systems across the region are clearly advised and informed about all the requisite changes and processes pertaining to the exams.

CXC Chairman Sir Hilary Beckles noted that one of the recommendations of the review team is for training in the culture, rules, and practices governing the school-based assessment system to ensure that all administrators have greater clarity and less opportunity for misunderstandings between what students believe to be the final mark, as opposed to the moderated mark.

He said this was the first time the examination body has seen this elevated level of stress and anxiety among stakeholders, brought about by the modification of the exam processes and the novel coronavirus pandemic. “We recognise the uniqueness and peculiarity of this moment, and this is why we are trying to deal with it as best as we can to make sure that there is absolute justice for everyone in this situation,” he stated.

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