Pro Registrar at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Glenroy Cumberbatch, said that there are no clear factors for the decline in the performance of students in this year’s Mathematics and English ‘A’ examinations.
“One of our research projects for 2012 is to look at the factors that impact academic achievement in the Caribbean as a whole,” Mr. Cumberbatch said.
He was speaking on August 23 at a stakeholders meeting held at the Education Ministry in Kingston, to explore factors contributing to the decline in the performance of students in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) English Language and Mathematics.
The pass rate for English Language dropped to 46 per cent from 63.9 per cent last year, while 31.7 per cent of students, who sat Mathematics attained passes, which is a slight reduction from the 33.2 per cent pass rate in 2011.
Mr. Cumberbatch said that while there are no clear reasons for the drop in passes, some of the contributing factors could include: misinterpretation of questions, inadequate responses and preparation of students to sit the tests.
Questioned about the use of “inexperienced markers” by the CXC, Mr. Cumberbatch stated that all markers are trained.
"I don’t know about that. That is a total misstatement or untrue. All markers are trained at the table. There are about six or so persons around the table leader and part of that process is to train them and develop them,” he explained.
He noted that markers are changed, and “one of the good things about changing markers is that those teachers get to go back into their schools and they have the good answers and they can now bring that back into the schools."
Mr. Cumberbatch informed that in 2012, more students sat both the Mathematics and English examinations than at any other time in Jamaica. In 2008, 41, 000 students wrote the Mathematics examinations, while 50,000 students sat the test in 2012.
A total of 48,000 students sat English Language in 2012, which was a 6,000 increase over the 42,000 students, who took the exam in 2008.