A year after ‘The 2020 CXC Exam Results Fiasco‘ (to quote Mary Redman, BSTU): An assessment of the 2021 CXC CSEC and CAPE Results

We are in the process of gathering further information, nationally and regionally, and will defer a more fulsome comment on the 2021 CXC Results until that process is complete.

We also are pleased to have been invited by the Minister of Education and her CEO to attend an innovative and unprecedented post-mortem meeting of relevant stakeholders including parents and students, re the 2021 CXC results, which can only add value and insight to the Ministry’s representation of our students’ best interests. We thank the Ministry for that recognition of our constructive advocacy for our nation’s children .

Immediate top line assessment:

  1. There are subjects where grades are again significantly depressed, though nowhere near the widespread scale of 2020. That does not lessen the distress of those children negatively affected. There are some grades which are still outstanding, which the children were not aware would be further delayed. That adds to their stress.
  2. We are concerned, re – the emotional and mental effects of all the candidates, and especially these adversely affected children, if again not satisfactorily addressed by CXC. The children are numb, demoralised. The anxiety resulting from the delay and manner in which the results were released was profound for many, on top of the 2020 – 2021 exams, results and all within the context of the prevailing pandemic conditions . What message are we sending: there is no point trying to excel? Are we demonstrating that we care for our children? What will be the effects on our children, our future: our national and regional growth and development? Brain flight? The diminution of our regional brand and credibility?
  3. We are comforted that any grades reviewed by CXC will not be downgraded. That is a significant concession for which we lobbied the (Independent Review Team) ‘IRT’, was so recommended and CXC adopted, effective 2020.
  4. CXC needs to significantly improve its transparency, stakeholder engagement and communication to the public it serves, as we have consistently insisted, and as the IRT recommended. We further reiterate that it is fundamentally unfair that in this difficult financial condition that parents will be asked to pay for reviews of grades flawed due to system challenges, whether they emanate from CXC or the ‘regional education ecosystem’.

We congratulate all the exam candidates, their teachers and parents for persevering with 2 years of high stakes in-person school exit exams, a unique situation when compared internationally.

We further thank the staff at CXC who try their best, particularly in these uniquely challenging times. We are proud of the international reputation that CXC has earned, as a regional institution, and wish to assist it in living up to that legacy.

We need to ask ourselves why our national and regional love affair with high stakes exams is so intense that we are prepared to subject our children to such stress *twice* during a pandemic, when most other countries have found alternatives, which may not be pedagogically perfect, but, in fundamental recognition of and response to the pandemic stressors and context, keep children safer physically and mentally.

This imperative: to protect our children, should be the North Star of us all as a modern caring society.

  • Ms. Paula-Anne Moore – Parent Advocate Spokesperson/Coordinator,┬áThe Group of Concerned Parents, Barbados (he Caribbean Coalition for Exam Redress)
  • Mr. Khaleel Kothdiwala – Student Advocate, Barbados
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