To strengthen our business model through diversification of our examinations and services portfolio, segment profile and geographic markets

Syllabus and Curriculum Development

The Syllabus and Curriculum Development (SCD) Unit continues to focus on the development of new products and the revision of existing products to assure relevance and consistence with developing trends both regionally and internationally. The CSEC® Agricultural Science, Economics, Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business syllabuses, along with the CAPE® Law and Literatures in English syllabuses were redesigned to ensure accuracy, relevance, and that they meet the needs of the region and conform to regional and international standards.

The CAPE® Animation and Game Design, Financial Services and Green Engineering syllabuses were launched in 2016 to reflect the unit’s continued commitment to developing products that are labour market driven and meet twenty-first century learning needs. The Financial Services Studies is scheduled to be launched later this year. These three syllabuses were made available for teaching in September 2016.

Examinations Administration and Security


In 2016, the Council continued to cater to candidates with special needs, providing modified question papers and permitting the use of assistance, such as, Word Processors, Amanuenses, Readers and Signers for the Hearing Impaired. The table below captures the range of services which were accessed by candidates sitting CPEA, CCSLC, CSEC and CAPE examinations.

The Council has noted that visually-impaired candidates are tending to request more Enlarged Print question papers and electronic question papers than Braille question papers.

The Council is in the process of developing a web-based application to permit candidates to request special assessment arrangements online at the point of registration. It is expected that this will improve the efficiency of the process and enhance the experience of the users.

Examinations Development and Production Division

Copy Flow
The initial flow of copy met the printers’ deadline but saw some slippage from the 2015 position; all January papers were approved for printing by 15 November compared with 24 October in 2015 and 9 November in 2013.

The printers’ schedule provided respectively for 80% of the 2017 June CSEC question papers and 50% of the 2017 June CAPE papers being approved for print by the 19th December, 2016, and at the end of October, because of a later start of the 2017 production cycle, some slippage was anticipated from the 2015 position when 84% of the total print volume was supplied before the Christmas break.

The total number CAPE papers increased, from 165 in 2015, to 177 in 2016. The increase in papers was due to 3 new/revised syllabuses being examined at CAPE level – Logistics (6 papers), Integrated Mathematics (3 papers), Building and Mechanical Engineering Drawing (BMED), 3 additional papers.

Preparing Question Papers for E-Marking
EDPD continues to increase the number of subjects and examination papers being converted for electronic marking. This process started with two CSEC papers in May-June 2013 and continued through to 60 CSEC (51 examinations and 9 SBAs), and 92 CAPE (65 examinations and 27 SBAs) components in May-June 2016. In 2017, all external papers will be marked online and this has necessitated the conversion of 116 Papers in 2016.

This positive flow of copy remained with 64%, 98 of 155 papers, being supplied by the Christmas break. It should be noted however, that with 51 of the 98 papers being supplied during the week leading up to the Christmas break, this had resulted in only 365 of the total print volume being available at that time.

Syllabus and Curriculum Development
The Unit increased the use of relevant ICT tools in the collection of data to inform syllabus maintenance and the development of syllabuses and other learning support resources. To this end, at least six meetings for syllabus development and maintenance were conducted online in 2016.

In an effort to increase the amount and quality of data used to inform syllabus maintenance, a number of electronic tools were used by syllabus officers to collect data on their syllabuses. Additionally, each officer conducted Review Committee and Panel meetings using various ICT tools.

For the 2017 period, the Unit will focus on the development of Digital Toolkits which will include learning support resources for both teachers and students to support the delivery of CXC products; and ensuring a more systematic approach to the use of Virtual Subject Associations (VSAs).

Examinations Development and Production Division

Thirteen CSEC subjects (22 papers) were e-marked in January-February 2016, and 25 CSEC subjects (46 components), and 47 CAPE subjects (110 papers) were e-marked from the May-June examinations.

Seven CSEC and 5 CAPE subjects were marked using our traditional residential marking modality. This is last time that CXC will be conducting residential marking, as it is expected that all subjects will be electronically marked beginning in 2017. The Table below indicates the growth in the number of papers which have been e-marked since January 2013:

The year 2016 also saw the introduction of a greater use of technology to enhance our quality assurance processes in marking. This involved closer surveillance of marking which was not within the accepted tolerance level, as well as an intensification of the some of the standardization mechanisms used in e-marking.

Grading Activities
In 2016, as in 2015, except for the Final Award Committee meeting, all other grading activities for CSEC and CAPE were conducted using teleconference between TAC members gathered at CXC Headquarters and Examining Committees in their homes or offices.

Paper Setting Meetings in 2016
The Paper setting meetings during 2016 budget period were conducted virtually and were intended to develop the examination papers to be used in 2018. However, a number of these meetings have been delayed due to lack of, or late appointment of Examining Committees. The breakdown by programme of the papers set in 2016 is as follows:

Development and launching of e-authoring system
A major strategic focus for the 2015-2017 period is the development and commissioning of an e-authoring testing system that seamlessly integrates browser-based item writing, item banking and online testing features to support CXC’s assessment programs. By October 2016 the following related activities were completed (i) digitizing and recoding 34 CAPE, 29 CSEC and 7 CCSLC syllabuses, (ii) converting 11 specimen papers for loading into GradeMaker (iii) authoring items for one paper (Biology) for the January 2017 examinations (iv) supplying necessary specifications to ISD to facilitate the migration of other items by paper when the migration program is ready and (v) training 10 internal trainers to train staff and resource persons.

Related to the commissioning of the e-authoring software was the thrust to extend the CXC item banks. Via short contracts, and at a cost of $32,380, by October 15, the bank has been augmented with 1146 multiple choice items and 333 extended response questions. Most of these will be used in the construction of papers for 2017 to 2019. RFPs issued from October are expected to generate an additional 65,100 multiple choice items and 16,500 extended response questions over the next 5 years.

Information Systems Division

In keeping with the strategic agenda, led by Andre Blair in April, the Division supported the Council’s march to e-Testing with the electronic delivery of Pre-tests. The exercise was used not only to validate internal operations, but also to gather invaluable data on the readiness of stakeholders for the transition from paper-based examinations. Advancing the adoption of new technologies, e-SBA was introduced on 1 June 2016, and, beyond the initial teething problems, worked relatively well. The e-SBA components were integrated seamlessly with the existing e-Marking and processing infrastructure and effectively reduced processing time.

To secure financial stability through sustainable revenue growth; increased efficiency and expense management

Examinations Administration and Security

Except for our January examinations in which Subject Entries declined by 851, registration increased in all programmes in 2016. The decline in CSEC January subject entries was attributed to a decline in the number of candidates sitting the sciences from Trinidad and Tobago, consequent on that territory’s indicating that it would no longer support the laboratory component of the Paper 032 component for private candidates. All other examinations saw a moderate growth in subject entries. The table below captures the relevant data:

In keeping with the organisation’s strategic objectives, the Division undertook the following processes:
The Division continued to offer management and administration services for national primary examinations to ministries of education, and, offered consultancy services to two regional professional bodies.

Finance and Office Management

The main areas of focus of the Finance and Office Management Division are as follows:

  • Accounting
  • Compliance
  • Management and Control
  • Strategy and Risk Management
  • Funding
  • Property Management
  • Timely and Efficient Delivery of Goods and Services
  • Procurement

This is done with emphasis on adhering to generally accepted accounting standards and practices and ensuring prudence in the management of CXC’s finances. Part of the financial reporting function also includes the implementation and monitoring of internal controls, ensuring that there is adequate segregation of duties and approval for all transactions.

The Finance and Office Management Division continues to provide financial direction to the organisation to ensure that the strategic objectives are achieved. With little growth in the candidate and subject entries and decreases in some areas, the focus has been on expense management and improving processes to create greater efficiencies.

One of the areas of expense management has been cost containment which will be achieved through rigorous review of existing processes. With the various process changes which has impacted the method of doing business, there is a need to adapt existing processes to the new programs to ensure efficiencies are realised. Compliance with procurement guidelines and ensuring that the best price is obtained for items of expenditure continue to be critical along with a review of major cost drivers.

Data is critical to effective decision making and as a result the emphasis has been on utilising business intelligent tools. Greater use of ICT tools to improve operational efficiency continues to be an area of focus. The emphasis has been on utilising the online banking facility and as a result banking relationships have been established with various institutions across the region. This will need to continue to ensure that resource persons are paid timely since there are still some territories where there is no direct banking relationship.

The availability of funds is critical to ensuring that the strategic objectives of the organisation are met along with the daily financial requirements. This starts with a robust budgeting process; the actual inflow of cash is critical to managing the resource requirements of the organisation. However, the collection of outstanding receivables is critical to ensuring that there are adequate resources. This has become critical given the current economic conditions and requires frequent follow up especially where the terms of payment are not followed.

Examinations Development and Production Division

CXC’s consulting service
Examinations Development and Production Division developed and provided support to all examination programmes that CXC is contracted by other organizations to develop. In 2016, the Division developed the following examination papers:

(a) BSSEE – 2 subjects (6 papers); and 16 pretest forms
(b) TTSEA – 2 subjects; (4 papers); and 16 pretest forms
(c) St Maarten Assessment – 4 subjects;
(d) Guyana 2-4-6 – 8 examinations (17 papers) and 66 pretest forms
(e) Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR) – 2 examinations, 6 papers
(f) Belize Teacher Professional Examination – one examination; two papers

For 2016, the Division continued to provided professional consultancy to new opportunities being pursued by CXC, including new programs, like:

The OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme

  • Barbados Nursing Council Examinations
  • Caribbean Association of Security Professionals (W.I.) Inc. examinations

To deliver an enhanced stakeholder experience through investment in the right people, consistent use of technology and adherence to quality standards.

Examinations Administration and Security

Past candidates continued to take advantage of the facility of having certifying statements of performance (transcripts) sent to educational institutions or prospective employers. From January to September 2016, a total of approximately 1600 transcripts were issued.

Replacement certificates were also issued on request to past candidates who lost or damaged their original certificates. A total of 600 certificates were re-issued during the January to September 2016 period.

Finance and Office Management Division

The Office Management section of the Division is responsible for all aspects relating to the plant and equipment. This includes managing the accommodation needs of CXC, provision of travel for staff and resource personnel and the management of courier services and ensuring that the plant and equipment is properly maintained. The Division also assists managers in ensuring that CXC complies with Health and Safety regulations. The delivery of services with respect to office accommodation remains critical and the ways these services have been delivered continues to be reviewed.

In 2016, significant resources are being invested into selecting a platform to facilitate electronic testing. Electronic testing is intended to complete the seamless end to end electronic system from development of examinations to the publishing of results. It affords three main benefits of interest to the candidates: the potential for (i) improved performance; (ii) more authentic examinations; and (iii) improved fit of candidate IT literacy with the technology to be used for receiving and responding to examination tasks. Several platforms were investigated and in April 37 multiple choice test forms across 11 CAPE and 8 CSEC subjects were pretested. Preparations are also being made for the electronic administration of 11 multiple choice papers for the January 2017 CSEC examinations, 32 for June CSEC examinations, and 73 for CAPE.

Secure Printing of question papers
As a critical partner in the Council’s drive to deliver an enhanced stakeholder experience through improved quality, service and customer satisfaction, the Printery continues to produce work for internal and external clients. The jobs undertaken by this area covered included examination papers, promotional materials for new subject offerings, other marketing materials, and examination results. These products are categorized as secure, semi-secure and unsecure materials.

Professional Development
In 2016, principal staff of the EDPD made two presentations at the 2016 Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination CSEC and CAPE Inaugural Performing Arts Conference. These were as follows: Young J. and & Boodoo-Murray, S. (2016) The “Arts” through the Years: Candidates’ Performance in CSEC and CAPE ‘Arts’ Examinations; and Young J. & and Boodoo-Murray, S. (2016). Item Writing for Theatre Arts.

Two staff of the division attended the 2016 conferences of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP Innovation Conference, and E-ATP). These staff, with colleagues from other key divisions, also participated in a study tour to ETS (Educational Testing Services) to increase conversance with e-authoring and e-testing. These were in an effort to build awareness and capacity in preparation for electronic item banking and e-testing.

Continuous Improvement
As a service division, customer service is critical and has been identified as an area for improvement. The use of internal surveys to obtain feedback on the quality of service provided will be used in the future. The FOM division is currently developing a Customer Service Charter which would define the framework for delivering the Customer Service Standards.

With this the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be used to measure and monitor performance. The elimination of manual processes will also help to improve the timely delivery of services.

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