Performance in Science Subjects Improves in January Sitting

Performance in all three natural science subjects offered in the January 2017 sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination improved when compared with 2016.

The most significant improvement was on Physics with 65 per cent of the entries achieving Grades I-III, the acceptable grades at CSEC. This is a seven percentage improvement when compared with performance in 2016 when 57 per cent of entries achieved similar grades.

Performance on Biology and Chemistry improved over last year, but still remains below the fifty per cent threshold. For Biology, there was a four-per cent improvement with 47 per cent of entries achieving Grades I-III compared with 39 per cent in 2016. Chemistry saw a three-per cent improvement with 39 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades compared with 36 per cent in 2016.

Listen to Mr Stephen Savoury, Director of Operations speaking about the performance in the January CSEC sitting

Information Technology also saw improved performance this year, with 63 per cent of entries achieving Grades I-III, compared with 60 per cent in 2016. Just over 14 per cent of the entries achieved Grade I this year. The Subject Awards Committee noted that performance in the programming section of the examination continues to be poor even though more candidates are attempting the related questions.

The two English subjects returned mixed results. English B performance remained the same as in 2016, that is 57 per cent of entries in both years achieved acceptable grades. For English A, there was a decline in performance after five years of continual improvement. Fifty-six per cent of entries achieved Grades I-III this year compared with 62 per cent in 2016.

Principles of Business returned the best overall results in the January sitting, with 85 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades. This was the same level of performance in 2016. It was also the subject with the highest percent of Grade Is- some 23 per cent.

Performance on Principles of Accounts improved marginally with 42 per cent of entries achieving Grades I-III compared with 41 per cent in 2016.

Of the 13 subjects offered in the January sitting, performance increased on five subjects, declined on six and remained the same on two subjects. Subjects with declining performance included English A, Mathematics, Office Administration, Social Studies, Spanish and Human and Social Biology.

First E-test

All multiple choice papers in the January sitting were offered as electronic test for the first time this year. Five hundred candidates from seven countries participated in the first live e-tests. The countries offering candidates for e-testing were Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Monserrat and St. Lucia.

Announcement of e-testing success

Let’s Talk episode #2 on e-testing

Declining Entries

Both subject entries and candidate entries declined this year for the January CSEC sitting. Overall subject entries declined by 14 per cent, with 34, 560 entries submitted this year compared with 39, 614 entries last year. All subjects had a decline except Chemistry and Physics. The most significant levels of decline were experienced in Human and Social Biology, which declined by 22 per cent and English A, which declined by 19 per cent.

The number of candidates writing the examination this year declined from 18, 534 in 2016 to 16, 568 candidates this year, a decline of 11 per cent.

Mathematics continues to be largest subject with 11,112 entries, followed by English with 9,253 entries and Social Studies with 3010 entries.

The January CSEC is written by predominantly by candidates who are out of school. Of the sixteen thousand candidates, more than half (9, 052) are over 18-years old.

Tribute to Dr Broomes

Members of the Final Awards Committee (FAC), which met on Tuesday 21 February to approve the grades for the January 2017 CSEC sitting, paid sterling tribute to Dr Desmond Broomes, former consultant, who served on the Final Awards Committee for many years as Chairman or as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). Among those paying tribute to Dr Broomes were Dr Gordon Harewood, former Senior Assistant Registrar for the Examinations Development and Production Division; The Most Honourable Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, former Chairman of CXC; and Professor Stafford Griffith, former Pro Registrar of CXC and who worked with Dr Broomes on TAC.

Dr Marcia Potter, Deputy Chair of CXC summed up the tribute, “colleagues, he will be missed here at CXC and elsewhere.”