Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says the Ministry has been in dialogue with the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) and has conducted consultations with key local stakeholders on the five options suggested as modifications to the administration of the 2021 examinations.
Mrs. Williams noted that the consultations were held against the background of the issues surrounding the examinations last year and “what may lie ahead”.
“The options were evaluated as valid and reliable and should not affect the credibility of the grade attained by the students. It will, however, require more work on the part of CXC for the preparation and administration of the exams,” she noted.
Mrs. Williams was addressing the Jamaica Independent Schools Association’s (JISA) – National Parent and Guardian Association Conference, which was held via Zoom on Thursday (January 21).
The first option being considered is full administration of the exam (in its original format) in May/June 2021, and for candidates who are not able to sit in 2021 to be accommodated in 2022. The second option is full administration in June/July 2021 and candidates who are not able to sit in 2021, to be accommodated in 2022.
Option three is a modified approach, which would take place in June/July 2021 (Paper One, moderated School-based Assessments (SBAs) or Paper 032, psychometric modelling and teacher predicted scores where necessary), and for candidates who are not able to sit in 2021, to be accommodated in 2022.
Meanwhile, the fourth option, which Mrs. Williams indicated, is the preferred choice for Jamaica, is the administration of Paper One, Paper Two (with optional questions), and the SBAs offered in June/July. Candidates who are not able to sit in 2021 will be accommodated in 2022.
Option five involves the administration of one paper to include both multiple-choice and essay type questions in June/July 2021. Candidates who are not able to sit in 2021 will be accommodated in 2022.
All options were evaluated against four variables. The first is logistical management, which involves paper custody management, invigilation, marking, and grading; the second is administration, including marking and results in release processing time; the third is integrity preservation, which entails maintaining trust and confidence in the award of valid grades.
The final variable considered is education system disruption, which looks at matriculation/progression, and the start of the academic year.
Mrs. Williams assured stakeholders that the Ministry continues to assist CXC as well as the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) students to prepare for the examinations by providing audio-visual learning opportunities, learning kits, online learning, and access to the Ministry’s App.
“There is a continuous thrust to get more schools to offer face-to-face learning focused primarily on our exam students,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Williams lauded JISA for staging the conference, which brought together, representatives from private schools with parents and guardians, to discuss matters relating to these institutions.