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The CXC results – Congratulations and concerns

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Our heartiest congratulations go out to the students who were successful in this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations and the Certificate of Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), the results of which were released last week. Congratulations are in order too for the support mechanisms which made this possible – parents and guardians, teachers and the Ministry of Education.{{more}}

The results, reported in last Friday’s issue of the SEARCHLIGHT and followed up today and on Friday, make very encouraging reading. Clear improvements have been recorded vis-à-vis results in the last few years. Indeed, the CAPE results for 2015 are the best since 2008, according to a release from the Ministry of Education and the CSEC results indicate better performances as compared with the two preceding years.

One ought to be especially happy to note the performances of rural schools in the CSEC exams, given the challenges they face. While the top five schools, in terms of pass rates, were Kingstown-based (this by no means indicates students living in Kingstown since the majority of students come from the rural areas), definite improvements were recorded by rural schools.

Of these, the Buccament Bay Secondary School was the most improved, its pass rate climbing from 50 per cent to 70 per cent. There were also promising returns from schools such as the Bequia Seventh-Day Adventist and the Union Island Secondary in the Grenadines, the St Joseph’s Convent and Mountain View Academy in the Marriaqua valley, the St Clair Dacon Secondary in Carapan and the West St George Secondary. It is also pleasing to note the continuing progress of the Thomas Secondary Secondary, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

There were many individual success stories, with 108 students recording passes in 10 subjects or more each at the CSEC level. One student, Abigail Scott, had 15 passes while two others had 13 each. In the CAPE exams, Kyle James repeated the outstanding success that he achieved at both the Common Entrance (2008) and CSEC (2013) levels, with four straight

Grade 1 passes. Our special congratulations to these exceptional performers and our best wishes for continued excellent academic achievements.

This by no means indicates that there are no areas of concern or room for improvement. One must be careful, for instance, of the degree to which our students are subjected to pressure from parents and teachers to maintain high standards and “reputations” of their families or schools. Parents, teachers and academic institutions may easily forget that the ultimate goal is the long-term development of the young ones and place prestige above all else.

We have received a report of a secondary school student who sat and passed six subjects in the CSEC examination, but was denied the opportunity by the school to write either Mathematics or English, ostensibly because it was felt the student could not pass these. We are not sure how widespread this practice is among our secondary schools, but was this decision not to sign the child up for Math and English to “protect” the pass rate of the school?

Now despite having six subjects, this student stands little chance of getting a job or being accepted into Community College, as there is no recorded attempt at these two key subjects. Should Math and English A not be compulsory for students writing the CSEC, once they get to Form Five?

So, as we savour the 2015 results, we still have a lot on which to ponder and discuss and there is still room for improvement. It is pleasing to note impressive results, but they are not the be-all and end-all of everything. Above all, it is the future of the students, their preparation to make meaningful contributions to the development of themselves, their families, the society and country which count most. Let us never forget that.

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