The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has announced that students will sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) in the traditional format, despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases being recorded in the region.
The exams will be held from June 14 to July 16, 2021, it was disclosed at a virtual press conference on Monday.
Explaining the decision to go ahead with the exams even as regional countries fight to stem the spread of COVID
-19 – with some closing schools –, CXC Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley said the regional body did not want to disenfranchise those who were ready to sit the exams.
Students who want to defer will be allowed to do so without any penalty, he explained.
“While there are individuals experiencing challenges in their preparations, there are others who are ready to write. So, we presented a situation for both groups; it gives us the best of both worlds,” Wesley said.
“No fee will be implemented for deferral of subjects. CXC will be working closely with the MoEs [Ministries of Education] and local registrars to ensure implementation of changes will be done smoothly and in the best interest of our students.”
CXC has received entries from 102,000 prospective CSEC candidates, while there are more than 27,000 candidates for CAPE.
Students registered for the exams have the option to postpone writing their subjects until either January 2022 or May/June 2022. They will be given up to May 1, 2021 to apply for deferrals.
Additionally, the 2021 exams will see the return of the second paper, which means the normal format of Paper One and Paper Two, in addition to Paper Three for private candidates.
However, CXC will continue to moderate 100 per cent of the School-Based Assessments (SBAs) submitted by students, as was done last year.
The deadline for the SBA component has also been extended by a month and those students who defer sitting the exams will be allowed to keep their SBA scores for a 2022 sitting.
Wesley said consultations with stakeholders from across the region was sought before a decision was taken on this way forward.
“Our focus this year was to ensure they would be consulted at the national level for a determination as to when best examinations would be offered in that territory. From that national consultation, all the relevant stakeholders would have been consulted and it is from that perspective that a recommendation would have been made to the Caribbean Examination Council to the respective territory on their national position,” he explained, noting that while the exam dates have been set, the COVID
-19 situation in each territory could result in some disruptions.
“If, God forbid, COVID
-19 continues to impact that, nothing can be done; certainly, we would have to rethink what obtains. But all things considered, the broad position is that this is the definitive position.”
Meantime, reporting on the outcome of the reviews that were conducted following last year’s grading controversy, CXC said it had completed 91 percent of CSEC reviews, with only 0.54 per cent resulting in improved grades.
Of the 93 percent of CAPE reviews that have been done, 1.77 percent resulted in positive grade changes.