CXC reports improved performance at January exams
Ödrop in number of candidates
Guyana Chronicle
March 19, 2002

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THE Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has reported improved candidatesí performance in several subject areas at this yearís January examinations, despite a drop in the number of students writing the examinations.

The Guyana Information Agency said a statement from the Council, through the Ministry of Education, indicated that 17 Caribbean territories registered a total of 14,602 candidates for the examinations, compared with 15,648 in 2001.

This year, examinations were offered in 13 subjects at the General Proficiency level, and one subject, Information Technology, at the Technical Proficiency level.

The subjects offered at the General Proficiency level were in Business Education, Humanities, Modern Languages, Science and Mathematics.

There were improved grades - One to Three - in the Science subjects, Business Education, Social Studies and Mathematics.

There was, however, a marked drop in grades in English A and Information Technology, CXC said.

In Integrated Science, 91 per cent of those sitting the exam achieved grades One to Three, compared with 68 per cent for last year. Biology showed 71 per cent as against 53 per cent previously with grades One to Three. And Chemistry and Physics registered 55 and 54 per cent respectively, compared with 42 and 46 per cent for last year.

In the written papers, candidates displayed knowledge of concepts and principles. However, across the sciences, there is evidence of the need for improvement in addressing the practical aspects of the syllabus, the Council said.

In Office Procedures, 92 per cent, compared with 77 per cent in 2001, achieved Grades One to Three. Principles of Accounts was relatively the same - 51 per cent in 2001 and 53 per cent in 2002. The percentage dropped slightly in Principles of Business from 63 per cent in 2001 to 57 per cent in 2002.

In Typewriting, there was a small increase from 19 per cent in 2001 to 22 per cent.

In these subjects, the School Based Assessment (SBA) component was well done, CXC reported.

In Principles of Accounts, the candidates demonstrated knowledge of accounting terms, concepts and principles. However, the examiners have noted the need for more attention to be given to the application and evaluation of accounting procedures.

In Typewriting, in order to get a high grade, candidates are required to achieve the standards set for accuracy and presentation.

Approximately 72 per cent of the candidates achieved Grades One to Three compared with 65 per cent in 2001 in Social Studies.

Candidatesí responses in general indicated knowledge of the concepts. However, many candidates had difficulty in the application of knowledge. The examiners have also noted the need for improvement in conducting and reporting on research activities.

In English A, there was a drop of 49 per cent in 2002 compared with 65 per cent in January 2001. Candidates had difficulty in areas such as making inferences from given information.

There was a significant drop in performance in Information Technology, from 93 per cent in 2001 to 63 per cent in 2002. Weakness was evident in the three main areas - programming, word processing, and spreadsheet.

In Mathematics, there was some improvement in the results. Fifty-two per cent of the candidates achieved grades One to Three compared with 43 per cent in 2001.

Candidatesí performance improved in Algebra, Number Theory and Consumer Arithmetic.

In both French and Spanish, approximately 75 per cent of the candidates achieved Grades One to Three, compared with 86 per cent in French and 65 per cent in Spanish in 2001.

For both languages, candidates performed better on the papers which tested communication skills, but their responses again indicated weakness in writing skills, moreso in Spanish than in French.

CXC has also reported on achievement of candidates for the Caribbean Secondary School Education Certificate (CSEC) on a six-point grading scheme since 1998.

In this scheme, grades One to Three are recommended by CXC for entry to institutions for further education and for the workplace.

The January examinations offered by CXC reflect the Councilís commitment to work with the Ministries of Education, the private sector and other stakeholders to provide opportunities to all persons for life-long education, CXC said.

According to the statement from CXC Headquarters in Barbados, CXC offers examinations in January for the CSEC with the intention of re-sitting candidates who wish to improve their grades. It is also for persons out of school who may never have had the opportunity to attend Secondary School or who may have dropped out of school before obtaining certification at the secondary school level.

CXC makes special arrangements for persons out of school to do an alternate paper in those subjects that contain a School Based Assessment (SBA) component.

Re-sit candidates who obtained 50 per cent or more on the SBA assignment in a particular subject in the May/June examination in the preceding year can carry over their SBA marks and, therefore, are not required to do this alternate paper.

The statement gave comparative figures of candidates registered in 2002 against 2001 in some Caribbean territories. Guyana was excluded. But from an attached table, it is noted that there were 372 candidates registering for Guyana this year, 229 of whom were females and 143 males.

It was also observed from the table that in all the 17 Caribbean territories, except in the Cayman Islands, more female than male candidates registered for this yearís January examinations. Cayman Islands had five males and three females writing the examination.

It showed that the entries in Barbados were 1,283 compared with 1,405 in 2001, and in St Lucia, 915 compared with 1,152 in 2001. Entries from Trinidad and Tobago increased from 5,903 in 2001 to 6,024 in 2002.