October 20, 2015:
JUST RELEASED data has shown that Jamaican students performed creditably in the latest City & Guilds mathematics and English examinations.
Last year the Ministry of Education decided to underwrite the cost for 10,000 students to write City & Guilds Maths and English in a move to expand the options for external examinations available to students.
Some 11,000 students enrolled in Grade 11 and the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) wrote these exams. Eighty-four percent of CAP students attained a pass in Maths and 78 per cent in English, while the Grade 11 cohort achieved a 71-per cent pass rate in Maths and 60 in English.
In 2011 the Ministry of Education signed a contract with City & Guilds for the delivery of examinations in Mathematics and English in all CAP centres island-wide. The partnership was strengthened in January 2012 when the Ministry named 150 public high schools as City and Guilds centres for registration of Grade 11 students in Maths and English. This is in keeping with the Ministry’s commitment to ensure that all Grade 11 students in Jamaica have the opportunity to write external examinations in Maths and English.
In September 2014 City & Guilds International launched two new qualifications in Maths and English. The qualifications facilitated a staged approach across three levels. Each stage is a free-standing single subject with its own certification, and is specifically designed to be a more “manageable” and self-gratifying approach for students.
Significantly, the English Skills qualification encompasses a unique assessment strategy. In addition to the usual written exam that is externally assessed, there is a new oral exam (Speaking and Listening) that is internally assessed. The Ministry of Education believes this approach will help to improve our students’ oral English competence.
Students must be proficient in both the written and oral assessments of the English Skills qualification to achieve the over-arching certification. Certificates of Unit Credit are given for each assessment, that is, Reading & Writing as well as Speaking & Listening. This certification strategy provides motivation for students to push forward and succeed.
Marva Duncanson, City & Guilds Representative for Jamaica believes the Ministry’s sponsorship of candidates “has levelled the playing field by giving students a viable certification option as Maths and English form the cornerstone on which all other learning is built so it is critical that students are certified in these areas.”
According to Duncanson, the main purpose of these globally recognized qualifications is to help learners develop skills at a level necessary to function and progress in life and work. It also provides a platform for further studies anywhere in the world. She further noted that City & Guilds is an examination body dedicated to vocational studies with leading market share in the United and delivering qualifications in over 100 countries. “City & Guilds exclusively offers competency-based qualifications. We recognize that there are different types of learners and that one size does not fit all.”