Changes to external exams due to COVID-19

| 28/03/2020

The Department of Education Services (DES) has announced a number of changes made to external examinations scheduled for this year for secondary-level students. While the City and Guilds examinations currently remain on schedule, examinations previously scheduled by Cambridge, AQA, WJEC and Pearson are all cancelled, as indicated by their respective boards.

Examination centres are awaiting the process for awarding grades for the above mentioned exams. Further to a regional press release issued by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) on 26 March, a number of changes have also been announced in relation to the May/June 2020 examinations schedule for CXC.

The following key points should be noted with regard to the examinations process:

  • CXC has revised the exams schedule to July 2020
  • CXC continues to be guided by the protocols set by the governments in the region
  • In person or on-site moderation across all practical subjects is suspended until further notice
  • Paper 1 for all exams will be delivered electronically, and the results will be used in conjunction with School Based Assessments (SBAs) to provide students with an assessed grade. The exceptions to this are Modern Languages, Visual Arts and Human and Social Biology
  • Completion of SBA practicals have been rescheduled and schools will be advised of the revised deadline for submission
  • Online resources geared towards exam preparation are available at the CXC Learning Hub here. In addition, DES and the Ministry of Education are working with FLOW and One on One Educational Services Ltd in Jamaica, to provide access to additional content

In addition to the new measures for CXC exams, secondary school graduation dates will be rescheduled to ensure final exam grade reports are taken into consideration and recognised.

“Without question it is extremely unfortunate that several of our locally administered, external exams have been cancelled. From the onset of the drastic upset to all our lives, we have been actively engaged in fact-finding activities and discussions with the various examination bodies,” said DES Acting Director Tammy Banks-DaCosta. “This includes meetings facilitated by CXC which included other Ministries of Education across the region, to deliberate the best scenario for our students as it relates to the administration of examinations.”

She added, “While the changes CXC has implemented are different and may cause inconvenience, the takeaway is that examinations are still going ahead. In moving forward, DES staff, principals and teachers will continue their hard work to collaboratively adapt and make provisions to limit further disruption to our student’s education, whilst prioritizing their health and safety in line with the current protocols.”

Schools will continue to provide more to details to parents and students. The Ministry of Education continues in its commitment to keep schools, parents and students informed.

Government secondary school leaders also shared their sentiments to the affected students.

“This has been an unprecedented year. We all need to continue to work in the best interest of our community,” said Jon Clark, Principal of John Gray High. “This is not an easy situation for all our students and especially, Year 11 students. Nonetheless, we will find ways to support them and maintain our positivity. The extended date for SBAs means that this must still be a priority and they must not stop working. The Paper 1 multiple choice paper being completed electronically can be managed. We have already trialed this and have completed exam work for CXC over the past two years.”

Dr Richard Wildman, Principal of Clifton Hunter High, said, “Understandably, our students may be anxious about external examinations and the changes proposed. We encourage you to remain focused and positive. You have been taught to be resilient and to demonstrate a growth mindset. This is the time to tap into your inner resolve and press on. Your parents and teachers are with you, guiding you towards the best outcomes. Finally, see each new day as one filled with God’s new mercies. Rest assured our teachers will continue to actively engage with our students every day using the different distance learning modes.”

Devon Bowen, Acting Principal for Layman E. Scott High, said, “We are cognizant of the anxieties surrounding the way forward. Students, be reassured in knowing that teachers, parents and the entire education fraternity are working to ensure continuity of your education journey. The provisions are in place to assist all our students with preparations for the scheduled external examinations. In this time utilize what works best for you, stay on top by being organized and, most importantly, take the very best care of your mental health and well-being in these challenging times.”

Delores Thompson, Director of Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) also shared some encouraging words: “At the beginning of the school year we shared with you that the biggest determinant of a person’s success isn’t IQ, family structure, income or participation in extra curricula activities. It is grit! Now is the time to demonstrate that grit. Team CIFEC, we’ve got this! Stay engaged with your teachers, keep working and reach out to us if you need anything. We are praying for you, we love you and together, with grit, we are going to get through this!”


Category: COVID-19 Notice Board, Education, Local News

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