Grading of test papers will determine extent of CXC breach --Caesar

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
August 1, 1999

How widespread the security breach of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations is, may be determined over the weekend following the grading of the test papers for which there was security breach in Guyana.

Chief Education Officer, Ed Caesar, told Stabroek News on Friday following a press briefing at the GTV Studios that the CXC Mathematics Paper Two, which was breached prior to the sitting of the examinations on June 3, has already been marked and was being graded over the weekend.

Caesar said that with the results of the grading exercise available CXC will be able to assess consistencies and inconsistencies. These along with the police and Ministry of Education/CXC report on investigations conducted in Guyana will determine how widespread the breach was.

Meanwhile Guyana's report to CXC in Barbados was that based on the local investigation, the breach was not widespread.

Education Minister, Dr Dale Bisnauth, in an interview with Evening News last week said that in discussions with the CXC Headquarters investigations revealed that "the contamination was not widespread, that in fact it was limited to just a few students."

It was recommended, too, Dr Bisnauth said that those students be disqualified but that the results of the others who were not under suspicion "will stand". However, he said that the CXC will have to make that decision. If Guyana has to redo the papers the cost would have to be borne by Guyana. The cost is also said to be expensive.

In terms of persons being held culpable for the breach, the minister said that "there is a person" who is assisting the police in their investigations.

It was suggested by Evening News that there are frequent breaches, but Dr Bisnauth said that there were no breaches in Guyana at the CXC level, adding that there might have been other leaks at other levels and in the Caribbean. The Examinations Division had reported a localised breach at the CXC level in 1982 and the students involved in the test were disqualified.

Asked how the breach might have occurred, he said that there were three hindrances to the examinations which were because of the industrial unrest which the country had been experiencing at the time. The country had been hit by a teachers strike and a public service strike. Because of the strike, examinations papers were uplifted from some examination centre by hand. The Examinations Division also has its suspicion about how the breach might have occurred as well, he added.

The breach was discovered during the sitting of the paper when a student at a city secondary school who apparently had the paper in her possession the day before gave it to the invigilator. Since then the police were reportedly in contact with other persons including a teacher and student in the West Demerara area who had been in possession of the paper.

The investigations revealed that the Mathematics paper might have begun to circulate from May 31 and the test was written on June 3 which meant that there was not much time for it to circulate widely.

According to education officials being caught with an examination paper prior to the sitting of an examination is considered fraudulent and is a chargeable offence.

Stabroek News has been informed that the student who handed in the paper and the person who gave her the paper are still on $10,000 bail each.

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