JULY 2020 EXAMINATION ADMINISTRATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1.What is Electronic Testing?
Electronic Testing replicates or replaces paper-based tests using either a programme set-up on a computer or an online system.

2. Where will candidates take the e-test?
As usual, the Ministries of Education in the territories will determine the testing centres.

3. How will the Caribbean Examinations Council® ensure social distancing is observed during the examination?
We will continue to rely on local officials in each territory, to ensure that public health guidelines on distancing are maintained.

4. Is there a solution in place for centres with inadequate internet access?
E-tests can be administered either online (connected to the internet) or offline (without internet connection). If a candidate begins an online e-test and there are WIFI issues, the test can be successfully completed offline.

5. Will e-testing be done at school or at home?
Each Ministry of Education will determine the examination testing centres.

6. Do students need to provide their own headphones for the French Paper 1 examination in order to respond to the listening comprehension? If so, are specific headphones required?
Yes, headphones are required. Centres should advise on the type of equipment that can be accommodated.

7. How will the French orals take place if close contact is not advised?
Orals will be scheduled in conjunction with the local authorities. Some persons may allow for teleconferencing while others will provide face–to-face rooms, paying attention to the public health guidelines.

8. Will the e-test format definitely be used or is there a chance that the paper-based examination format will be used?
Ministries of Education will advise the Caribbean Examinations Council® (CXC ®) about the candidates who are using the e-testing mode. The paper-based format is also being utilised.

9. Are students expected to be in special environments while taking the e-test, for example, a room with no posters, bookshelves etc?
Ministries of Education will determine testing centres. Each examination room must meet CXC’s examination condition requirements for the administration of examinations.

10. How can CXC guarantee that e-testing is fair to all students?
CXC utilises the same rigorous process in the development of the e-tests as used in the paper-based tests. E-tests also permit the incorporation of images, video and audio which enhances the test-taking experience and also facilitates candidates with different learning styles.

11. How does CXC ensure that e-tests are valid and reliable?
CXC utilises the same rigorous process in the development of the e-tests as used in the paper-based tests.

12. Why can’t I see the correct answers or my score after completing the e-tests on the CXC website?
As we introduce e-testing, we have developed this demo testing facility to replicate the experience of an online test. It is designed to help candidates understand what is required during the examination process. The focus is on familiarising yourself with the e-testing conditions and not on arriving at the correct answer. Therefore, scores are not tabulated at this time.

13. Will connection interruptions be factored into the time allotted for the e-test?
The facility is in place that should any challenges arise, candidates may be given additional time. Persons monitoring the examinations are trained to administer this time.

14. Is there a possibility that the e-testing system may crash due to the high volume of users taking the examination at the same time?
We have done a large number of load-bearing tests in order to investigate this possibility. We have not had any challenges thus far.

15. How will cheating be monitored?
Supervisors and invigilators monitor candidates in the examination room and report cases of irregularity. For Multiple Choice examinations, CXC produces reports of candidates who should be investigated for possible collusion. During marking, checks are also conducted for plagiarism and collusion.

16. Does CXC intend to proceed with the e-test examination despite increases in COVID-19 cases across the region?
CXC continues to discuss timelines with the Ministries of Education to ensure that the examinations are scheduled when it is safe for candidates. We continue to meet with Ministries and take guidance from Public Health protocols.

17. Will all students, of all subjects, in all districts and in both public and private institutions have to do their examinations online in July?
Ministries of Education in the territories will advise CXC on the candidates taking their examinations electronically.

18. Will candidates doing e-tests, be given paper to work out answers?
Yes. Supervisors are directed to provide scrap paper/working paper. However, candidates are not allowed to bring their own stationery and are NOT allowed to leave the examination with the working papers.

19. How is the e-test done? i.e., what site will the examination be posted on?
Will students need special software? Candidates will all log onto the CXC electronic testing platform. Centres will need to download Safe Examination Browser to secure the device being used.

EXAMINATION FORMAT

20. Will the weighting be 50/50 for SBAs and the Paper 1 examinations?
Assessments will be based on requirements of syllabuses and grades will be awarded in accordance with CXC regulations.

21. What is the criteria for the Paper 1 examination?
Will it be the same as previous Paper 1 examinations or will it have criteria from Paper 2 as well? The format for Paper 1 remains the same as prescribed in the syllabus.

22. Should students expect the nature of the questions to be similar to examination questions from previous years?
Questions have been set as per the syllabus.

23. Will Paper 1 now have more questions and be a longer examination.
The format of the Paper 01 examinations will be as prescribed in the syllabus.

24. Wouldn’t it be easier to use predictive scoring instead of the examination or just mark SBAs and use that as the final grade?
The School Based Assessment (SBA) may not cover all skills. As a public body operating across several territories and needing to have standards across years, we need a common assessment (in this case the Multiple Choice examination) to make the required judgement. Therefore, we are unable to use SBAs alone.

25. What are the repercussions of CXC cancelling the examinations and using predicted grades from teachers? Is this a measure that is being considered?
CXC has proposed a revised examination strategy to yield valid grades and minimise the disruption to the education system. Many candidates still need to be assessed in order to move on to tertiary education or employment. Many tertiary institutions have indicated tentative plans to begin their September semester. As a public body, operating across several territories, and needing to have standards across years, we need a common assessment (in this case the Multiple Choice examination) to make the required judgement.

26. Was consideration given to calculating grades from a Paper 2 examination and SBAs?
Given the shortened time for the administration of the examination and the disruption that has been caused, CXC cannot necessarily test all syllabus content but it is critical for us to focus on those skills and competencies students ought to display, having completed their syllabus. The SBA and Paper 1 were proposed after reviewing the syllabuses and being satisfied that we can make a valid judgement of the students’ skills and competencies using these components. For subjects where it is difficult to make a full assessment, additional components will be required.

27. Will the format for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Communications Studies examination remain the same?
The format remains the same as prescribed in the syllabus, however for the electronic administration of the examination, headphones will be required.

28. The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) English B Paper 1 examination usually contains multiple choice questions based on unseen passages, while Paper 2 examines the texts students have been studying. Has the proposed format been changed so that Paper 1 now includes set texts as well?
The format of the English B Paper 01 examination will be as prescribed in the syllabus.

29. With no Paper 2, will multiple choice for Mathematics adequately reflect the range of topics on the syllabus and those higher order questions usually tested in Paper 2?
After reviewing the syllabuses we are satisfied that we can make a valid judgement of the students’ skills and competencies using the Paper 01 examination and SBA.

30. How will examinations for CSEC Visual Arts be administered?
Visual Arts examinations are being administered as prescribed in the syllabus

31. What is the new format for the CSEC Theatre Arts and CAPE Performing Arts examination?
The format of these examinations is detailed in the syllabus.

32. Are the CAPE Art and Design candidates still required to create hard copy journals?
Or would they do it soft copy? Candidates may continue to create physical (hard copy) journals.

33. SYLLABUS AND CURRICULUM

34. If schools that have not finished the syllabus and are unable to finish it, will CXC change the examination structure to address this?
The format of the examination will be as prescribed in the syllabus.

SCHOOL-BASED ASSESSMENT (SBA)

35. What is the deadline for SBA submissions?
Principals and teachers will set the dates in order to meet the deadlines stipulated by the CXC Local Registrar in the territory.

36. Can SBAs (labs) be sent electronically given the current situation? If so what format should be used?
It is expected that laboratory practicals completed in previous terms would have been submitted to teachers in the lab book and marked accordingly. We are not requiring that labs be rewritten for electronic submission. If, there are labs where the write-up is incomplete, their electronic submission should be discussed with the teacher.

TIMETABLES

37. When are examinations taking place and when will timetables be available?
Examinations are currently scheduled to take place in July 2020 (Timetable Page); however, CXC continues to consult with governments across the region as it relates to the status of COVID-19 and the impact of national protocols.

Further information any revisions to the examination timetable and the proposed structure for examinations will be shared as regional discussions continue.

You are encouraged to check our website and social media pages as this is where we will post official updates.

38. When are oral examinations taking place?
The current provisional timetable is available on the CXC website (Timetable Page). As regional discussions continue, revised examination timetables will be shared if necessary.

GENERAL QUERIES

39. Is CXC concerned about students’ deteriorating mental health and their performance in the coming examinations?
Our first priority is the health and well-being of all our stakeholders. We continue to have discussions with the regional Ministries of Education as it relates to public health guidelines and timelines for examinations.

40. What measures are in place in the event that the COVID-19 pandemic worsens?
We continue to be guided by national protocols across the region regarding the progression of the COVID-19 virus. Based on prevailing circumstances, examination dates may need to be revisited again as our first priority is the well-being of our stakeholders.

41. If the CAPE and CSEC examinations have to be tested in the September to December term, will only Paper 1 (multiple choice) be tested?
The modified approach proposed by CXC will be administered.

42. Given the truncated 2020-2021 academic year, will students writing the May/June 2021 CAPE and CSEC examinations be assessed via SBAs and Paper 1 only?
Is another option being considered? Our current focus is on 2020 examinations, we have not considered any adjustments to 2021 examinations.

43. When will Candidate Credentials be made available in the ORS?
CXC continues to consult with governments across the region as it relates to the status of COVID-19 and the impact of national protocols. As a result, Candidate Credentials have not been uploaded to our ORS database for security purposes.