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Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment

Do you know about Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA), which will replace the variations of primary exit examinations, commonly known as common entrance in the region? What do think about this change?

Forums: 

This replacement is long over due....

I feel this is an excellent initiative as the MOE, Trinidad and Tobago is moving towards a seamless curriculum.
Also, the CPEA will level the playing field for our Caribbean students.

This is an occasion for CXC to demonstrate insightful leadership. It will not be sufficient to 'replace' the CE (in whatever 'reformed' conditions they exist in our different territories). It will be absolutely important to anchor the testing mechanisms at primary level in the foundation competencies required for success in the modern world, not in the existing secondary school system. This will mean that the primary exit assessment should serve as a fundamental rethinking exercise for secondary schooling to be transformed. In the process of forming the CPEA, CXC should be prepared to allow stakeholders (from parents to politicians) to move beyond merely providing a platform for them to make demands but to recognise the limited rootedness of their demands and make them aware of the incapacities of the existing school structure to meet the needs of universal secondary education and social efficiency in the modern world. This is a challenging task that requires tact, courage, knowledge and compassion. It should also be evident that CXC ain't get it right, yet. This does not mean the process should not continue (in fact it's long overdue) but CXC must be prepared to demonstrate that it's learning as it's doing and so provide a model of the institutional transformation process for all its stakeholders (especially Ministers of Education). I hope CXC goes as brave on this one as it did when CXC was first initiated. The stakes now are greater than they were then.
Martin Jones

Thank you for your insightful and forthright comments Martin... we deeply appreciate them and i assure you that we are prepared to be in a learning mode to get this right. The establishment of this portal is one indication of our commitment to ensuring that we pull on the collective wisdom of teachers, parents and other stakeholders in shaping the final program.
Like you pointed out, the stakes are VERY high and we cannot afford to fall short. We would be grateful for concrete, specific feedback from you as we post up successive iterations of this program. Note that we are referring to it as program rather than an exam because this new assessment will not be a simple replacement of national exams with a regional one - it will require a fundamental shift in how we develop core competencies in our primary level children to ensure future success at secondary level and beyond.
Didacus Jules - Registrar

I hope that this will level the playing field for all primary school leavers with respect to secondary school placement. Sometimes it seems like children are placed in secondary schools according to the primary schools from which they sat the GSAT and their social backgrounds rather than their actual test results.

This is exciting for me. I need some more information on the CPEA to make an informed comment.

Kindly educate me on the difference between the new system and the old one and why the need for change at this particular time.

In Saint Luca, prior to the Common Entrance Examination, there was the scholarship examination which saw students being handpicked to attend the presteigous Secondary Schools. The Common Entrance revolutionized this exit exam to the extent that parents and the gemeral public had developed greater confidence in the exam. After about three decades parents are now beginning to express doubts about the placement of their children at Secondary Schools with indiviodual countries of the Caribbean preparing and administering those exit exams. This will be the dawning of a new day to see thr CXC preparing, administering and analysing the results of a regional exit exam. As to whether CXC will succeed in getting teachers to teach in methods which are exciting and stimulating is something I will be eager to experience.Indeed, the CPEA must change the variations in Caribbean Primary School Examination to correctly assess the performance of indididual countries.

Would my kid be able to go to the top school in the Caribbean if he/she gets top marks?

How recent is this forum? The initial post speaks of children writing the CPEA in "another year or two", however, in Grenada, the Ministry of Education has announced that 2011 was the last year for Common Entrance Exams and that students will write the CPEA in 2012. Will CXC be ready with this exam by then? If yes, will schools receive the curiculum by September 2011 in order to prepare the new Grade 6's for this exam in about 7-8 months? Is 7-8 months enough time to prepare kids for this exam since they were forcusing on the national Common Entrance Exams up to last week when school closed? Grateful for your response.

Claudette - Concerned Grade 6 Parent

The retraining/sensitization of teachers to become more open minded and creative in the teaching-learning process will be a critical element in the success of the programme. What matters most to many parents is not the type of exit assessment but how their children will be assigned to selected schools.
Already the children from some of the fee paying primary schools in the urban areas perform higher and get into the schools which are perceived as being more prestigious. Fortunately or unfortunately those children are not usually the ones who perform best at the secondary level. Check the statistics! I think parents need to be made aware of the selection process and be convinced that it will be fair and transparent. At present, in Grenada, the parents know that their child has 5 choices in order of preference and the child will be placed by the computer according to how he or she performed. Those placed manually where there are vacancies are usually the ones who had not performed sufficiently well to be placed in one of their 5 choices. We have grown to accept that.
There is also talk about zoning which can work if everything is equal and all the schools are seen as being able to deliver on par or almost on par. On the other hand zoning can be used to further entrench the inequalities that already exist in the society. This system like any other cannot be decreed. The dialogue must begin in earnest so that parents, pupils and teachers would have a better understanding of the new system. On paper it sounds good. The education system needs to become more relevant, creative etc. The bottom line is how does my child get into the school of his/her choice?

Can the new system help in curbing the mistrust that already exists? Would there be a rush for spaces in the public primary schools in the capital city? Would the parents be forced to send their children to private primary schools even if they can hardly bear the cost? Will distrust in the public system influence more parents to send their children to the private secondary school?

The new exit exam needs to be given a chance. It can help us to have a common curriculum, which is something the OECS has been pursuing for some time now. As promised we can have "better" educated children. However we need more information at the local level.

The retraining/sensitization of teachers to become more open minded and creative in the teaching-learning process will be a critical element in the success of the programme. What matters most to many parents is not the type of exit assessment but how their children will be assigned to selected schools.
Already the children from some of the fee paying primary schools in the urban areas perform higher and get into the schools which are perceived as being more prestigious. Fortunately or unfortunately those children are not usually the ones who perform best at the secondary level. Check the statistics! I think parents need to be made aware of the selection process and be convinced that it will be fair and transparent. At present, in Grenada, the parents know that their child has 5 choices in order of preference and the child will be placed by the computer according to how he or she performed. Those placed manually where there are vacancies are usually the ones who had not performed sufficiently well to be placed in one of their 5 choices. We have grown to accept that.
There is also talk about zoning which can work if everything is equal and all the schools are seen as being able to deliver on par or almost on par. On the other hand zoning can be used to further entrench the inequalities that already exist in the society. This system like any other cannot be decreed. The dialogue must begin in earnest so that parents, pupils and teachers would have a better understanding of the new system. On paper it sounds good. The education system needs to become more relevant, creative etc. The bottom line is how does my child get into the school of his/her choice?

Can the new system help in curbing the mistrust that already exists? Would there be a rush for spaces in the public primary schools in the capital city? Would the parents be forced to send their children to private primary schools even if they can hardly bear the cost? Will distrust in the public system influence more parents to send their children to the private secondary school?

The new exit exam needs to be given a chance. It can help us to have a common curriculum, which is something the OECS has been pursuing for some time now. As promised we can have "better" educated children. However we need more information at the local level.

If my child is attending a private school how is this assessment going to affect her. Will the private schools also have access to this assessment and if so how. I notice that ONLY the public schools get invitations to the CPEA discussions for parents and teachers. They are all Caribbean children, private or public.

In Grenada all schools will be sitting the CPEA, both private and public. The Ministry of Education invited parents, students, school administrators and teachers to attend these consultations. Find out from your Ministry of Education if your country will be participating in the examination.

How exactly will this level the playing field for all Caribbean students? Where can we access the syllabus for the CPEA?

The CPEA will assess a core set of literacies of students across the region. These literacies are the key set of knowledge and skills and abilities that students need to function at the next level of the education system as well as in life. The CPEA will level the playing field of pupils in the region as they will be assessed using a common measure and will be provided similar opportunites to do well. There are no syllabuses for the CPEA. Individual territories will continue to use their primary school curriculum.

I am a young teacher in Grenada and I have to say that I thought the CPEA would be a great replacement for the Common Entrance Exams. However I am very disappointed in the way it has been implemented. I thought it would have been piloted in a couple of schools or at least be properly introduced to teachers before eveyrthing got underway for the 2011-2012 school year. but all I have seen is misunderstanding by both teachers and students(understandably so), Ministry officials who have no idea what they are talking about or how to help teachers, new "must-dos" popping up occasionally, among others. There are many things to complete with no limit given, so how do we know when to stop, or when we have enough scores or such? How do we know how many tests per term or overall for the year? Do we send home this new report or do things remain the same? What happens to extremely slow children who need our attention and its taken away all the time? Our time is not into preparing assessments, marking them, marking portfolios and written pieces, helping groups with projects, planning our own work and extra-curricular activities....WHEN DO WE BREATHE? Was it introduced to us more difficult than it actually is or am I busting my butt only for someone to say everything was ok 25 assessments ago! And yes I have voiced my complaints but do you know what I was told? Oh, we can HANDLE it. It's not that hard. Really! I was fine until this came along and if it doesn't get easier I need to trade classes or quit. I am not a horse!

Dear Teacher,

We understand your concerns and we appreciate your contribution to this exciting new approach to assessment at primary school. We do strongly believe in the principles of CPEA and that focusing on the literacies enhance the preparation of our students for the next level of their education.

We have provided guidelines and resources on our website to facilitate the approach that the CPEA programme recommends (http://www.cxc.org/node/7513). We are also working to create a primary portal on the Notesmaster interactive learning website (www.notesmaster.com) which will allow primary teachers to share resources and material, and access open source content that can be used to make the classroom interactions more dynamic

We will be back in Grenada in a few weeks from now evaluate the progress of the programme and to engage in discussions with teachers involved in its implementation. We certainly hope that we can meet to address your concerns.

Thanks for your honest feedback.

This is good news!

But is CPEA compulsory?
and which countries have decided to action this?

I am looking forward to this change. it is long overdue. We need to keep abreast teachers of all that is occurring in the 21st century. Changes are hard to accept but they are inevitable.

I'm a concern parent in Dominica. I'm interesting in finding out what are the criterias and what should my child know or prepare herself for next year exam. She's in grade 5 now. How soon will information be given? My child is a little slow so I want to be able to prepare her starting summer on things she must know.

Hi, CXC’s best advice is to follow the syllabus closely, for further information please consult with your daughter's teacher for guidance as she goes through the process of preparing for examinations.

In addition, you may need to purchase resource materials for your daughter to practice on, see link: http://www.ianrandlepublishers.com/cxc or contact the local bookstores

i love this subject so much

I REALLY THINK THAT THE CHILDREN ARE REALLY TRYING FOR THIS LEVEL THEY ARE AT SO I WILL TRY TO CONTINUNE

i think this is a much higher standard of entering high school and this will show who is ready to leave primary and go higher. this will help the studens to fully understand how to do project and assist themselfs and other .............good job P.S my little sister passed and now she is going to anglican high she worked hard for were she is now and were she is moving on to

The success of the CPEA will rest on the extent to which it is accepted as a valid and reliable assessment of student learning. That is the key issue. The new approach to using school-based assessment as part of the overall assessment of student learning brings with it concerns of quality control. The main concern will be whether the scores awarded to a student in one school by the teacher is valid as a score awarded by a teacher in another school. That will be based on the extent to which there are adequate mechanisms and processes in the school to ensure that those assessments are of a consistent quality. What is the validation/moderation process like, and has it worked? If it has, then this will be a very powerful means of keeping student learning at the centre of the assessment regime. However, the key test will not the pass rate in the CPEA. Rather it will be whether students are perceived or shown - within Form 1 in secondary schools - to have the competencies and learning outcomes as reported by the CPEA results. That analysis should be done.

Thank you for your feedback.

From Grenada- My daughter sat the very 1st CPEA Exams for the Island in 2012 at the end of which all the students were rated (scored) out of 100%. In 2013 CXC method of rating (scoring)changed and students were assessed out of a grand total of 500%. What will the final scoring line be in 2014? Will it be another change or has CXC come to a final format or formula,which will be regionally accepted across the Caribbean region for the final scores of the CPEA? From my personal perspective I will like to see the final tally being done out of a score of 200%, let the External component be responsible for 150% of the points seeing that there are 150 multiple choice questions and the Internal or Teacher based be responsible for 50%. I don't know how feasible my idea is seeing that I'm not a mathematician, but as a concerned Caribbean parent I will like to put my two(2)cents on the table too. I will also like to add that I did love the CPEA and the amount of work and work ethics that it brought to my daughter and other Grenadian students, the CPEA did challenge them. Thank you CXC for throwing out the old Common Entrance Exams.

All examinations are rated out of a total of 100 per cent.  The score of 500 to which you refer is actually the maximum raw score from all the components.  This total has been in use since the first examination.  However, in 2012 when we converted the raw score out of 500 to a percentage out of 100, some parents requested more detailed information.  As a result, in 2013, we reported on both raw scores (out of 500) and a percentage (out of 100).  This will be done again in 2014.
 
 
Thank you for your comments and support of the CPEA.

I welcomed this exam...my child sat the exam on the 16th of May in St.Vincent and I am quite anxious for the result. Is there a way we can view the results on line?

Hi good day,
Kindly contact your Local Registrar at the Ministry of Education or your child's school for that information.

Is there provision for home-schooled children (in St. Vincent & the Grenadines) to take the CPEA exams, or would they need to be attending a primary school in order to be allowed to take the exams? The group work component and other aspects of the assessment seem to suggest that the assessment would only be allowed in a school setting. We would appreciate your response. Thanks

All arrangements for the CPEA are made with the local Ministry of Education.  The ministry would make the decision whether the candidates could be registered for the CPEA.  With respect to the project which is primarily a group activity, it may be done by an individual although some of the objectives of this component include working in teams and cultivating interpersonal and intrapersonal behaviors.
 

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