(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) – Caribbean students sitting exams this year will be faced with temporary changes to the exam to accommodate testing in the time of COVID-19. The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) is offering three forms of testing to allow testing during the covid19 pandemic. This was announced last week during a a CXC webinar.
CXC is offering either fully online exams where students are connected to the exam portal for the duration of the test, partially online exams where students can begin the exam with internet, lose connection, then reconnect to submit their responses or offline exams where students will be given a paper-based exam which the exam invigilator will manually upload.
Each country’s ministry of education will determine what centres will be used for exams, as well as the best exam mode for each centre. There is no intention or infrastructure for students to take exams at home. Students must sit the exam at an approved centre.
The Ministry of Education will determine if schools or students will provide exam devices. CXC recommends laptops or desktops with Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. If a computer crashes, has power loss, or any disruption, the CXC invigilators are trained to handle the situation and have the power to extend time for a candidate to complete the exam, as well as manually uploading the student’s responses. Most subjects will be graded only by the paper one and school based assessments (SBAs) except for human and social biology and subjects with an oral or practical component such as French or Art. The format of the paper one exam will not be different from previous years, nor will it have extra time allotted. However, officials from CXC cannot comment on how much weight each exam component will weigh but assured that “appropriate weighting” will be administered.
“CXC cannot necessarily test all syllabus content but will work towards focusing on skills students ought to display having completed the syllabus. CXC believes that the SBA and Paper 1 is enough to determine a valid grade for a candidate (for the subjects aforementioned),” a synopsis of the webinar stated.CXC is working towards administering these exams in July 2020. A final timetable will be published by next week, before the original start of the May/June exams.
Schools can request a demo session to acclimatise students with the new online format. Demo e-tests are available on CXC’s website and learninghub. CXC has no receipt system in place for the exams.
“However, students can rest assured that the council has put many measures in place to ensure that all responses are received.”
It is advised that schools should have a minimum of one backup computer per 15 students in the event it is needed. There will be no sampling of SBAs as all must be submitted to CXC. The council is yet to determine what will be done about unfinished SBAs, but will examine each issue on a case by case basis.
CXC will announce confirmed decisions on all aspects of the exam process, in the coming weeks.
Stakeholders can contact CXC at email@example.com.