Jamaica: Principals Reject New CXC Exam Proposals

(JAMAICA GLEANER) – The proposal by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to use School-Based Assessment (SBA) and multiple-choice examination, possibly to be administered online, as its 2020 examination has not found favour with the Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (JAPPS).

Linvern Wright, the president of JAPPS, thinks the proposal would shortchange students, arguing that the better option would be to have the students sit actual examination papers in the traditional way.

“If the online modality is used, schools and students will not be included. My suggestion is that if they should be able to test, then students should have the option to sit actual papers in the normal way, bearing in mind recommendations for social distancing,” he said.

Wright, who is slated to become the new principal of his alma mater, William Knibb Memorial High School, on May 1, said it is the consensus of the various groups in the educational sector that the proposed approach is not suitable.

“Any modality used should not disenfranchise any of the usually 50,000 students who sit the annual exam,” said Wright. “I am calling on the Government to ensure that schools are equipped if the Ministry of Education endorses the CXC proposal.”

“There is general consensus among JAPSS, the Jamaica Teachers’ Association and the Association of Principals and Vice Principals that the proposal from CXC cannot work, especially in its online stipulations, as many schools do not have sufficient infrastructure to allow for all students to have a fair chance at participating in the proposed sitting,” added Wright.

In regard to the suggestion that grade-11 students should be given an extra year in school to compensate for the COVID-19 dislocation, Wright said that would be difficult.

“It is a difficult, if not impossible, proposal,” declared Wright. “Other feasible suggestions are needed, but we should not be premature in making suggestions that are logistic nightmares before we know how this COVID-19 pans out.

“If there are many more infections, schools may not be able to open for a long time. This would mean that there should be discussions on a strategic plan for effective online teaching,” Wright added.