By Carisa Lee
(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) CEO and Registrar Dr Wayne Wesley says formal complaints about grades for this year’s CSEC and CAPE examinations have not yet been reported to them directly.
“We have not received any formal complaint from anyone,” Wesley said during a press conference from Barbados.
However, he admitted that several regional Ministers of Education had reached out with concern about the issue to CXC, which he is looking into.
On Thursday, Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly announced that she had spoken with CXC officially personally following complaints she had received about anomalies in the grades and marking of SBAs.
According to regional reports, Guyana’s Minister of Education Priya Manickchand also contacted CXC and described the grading as “poor”.
Queen’s College, a secondary school in Guyana, has since threatened to leave CXC and take legal action over alleged botched results.
Other regional countries to have raised issues with the results include Barbados, St Lucia, Jamaica and Grenada.
However, Wesley yesterday attributed the lack of official complaints to the better overall results that were recorded this year.
“I think the notion is not true, as a matter of fact you have less people receiving less than acceptable grades,” Wesley said.
According to graphs shown during the press conference, the CSEC regional percentage of acceptable grades was 79.5 per cent, higher than 2019’s 78.3 per cent, 2018’s 77per cent and 2017’s 75 per cent.
The statistics also showed CAPE results were the highest for the last three years at 93.2 per cent, compared to 92.9 per cent last year, 92.3 per cent in 2018 and 91.7 per cent in 2017.
But even with this data, reporters attempted to read complaints from students who claimed they were cheated and their grades were not representative of what their profiles suggested during the press conference.
However, Wesley said internal checks done by CXC have not shown irregularities and said he could not respond to something that was not verified.
“All our data we have reviewed, all the things that we have looked at, and ensure that all our processes and systems are in place has not revealed what is being said,” he said.
The exams were originally carded for May/June but because of COVID-19 took place in July, with a number of changes to the format. The changes included administration of at least one multiple-choice assessment of common paper, school-based assessments and alternatives to SBAs for private candidates.
Asked if these changes were to blame for the inconsistencies in the grading, Wesley said the weighting of the marks remained the same even with the modification.
He said he couldn’t explain the marking mechanism at the time but said the systems were robust and maintained. “I can never agree to anomalies,” he said.
The deadline for reviews and queries of grades is October 23 but CXC charges US$30 for reviews while queries are free.
And even with the rising number of complaints, Wesley said at this time there were no plans to waive that bill.
After CXC released CAPE and CSEC results on Tuesday, thousands of students and teachers from T&T and across the region expressed concern and questioned the council’s grading system.
“CXC must let everyone know how these papers were graded,” one student wrote on social media.
“Please look into this matter asap, cause I’m not pleased with my students’ grades it’s really unfair to them,” one teacher posted to Facebook.