Glitch in CXC Math paper leaves students on edge

An administrative glitch in the May/June Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Mathematics paper has left some students and parents on edge.

However, the Barbados-based examination body said there was no need for concern, as the problem would not affect their grades.

Barbados TODAY understands that students were flustered after realizing that the Mathematics papers in this year’s CXC were incorrectly stapled.

One parent who complained that her son was “distraught” when he came out of the examination room, said he did not complete the paper because it was “numbered incorrectly”.

“It was out of order, and when he put up his hand to ask the invigilator a question she asked him if he was slow. So I contacted parents that I know who had students also did it [wrote the Math paper] from other schools and everybody had the same thing that the paper was in a mess,” she said.

“It got him frustrated because to get settled it took him about half hour before he could start the paper. The instruction was in the middle of the booklet, then it would ask you to do two questions from section two and because it didn’t start with number one you don’t know if that comes from 1b or 2b or 3,” she explained, adding that the CXC referred her to the Ministry of Education when she called to inquire about the problem.

“I wrote letters to CXC and to the Ministry of Education, but I have not been contacted back as yet,” the concern parent said.

In an emailed response to queries from Barbados TODAY, CXC acknowledged that there have been “some issues” with the administration of some of its examinations during the May/June 2017 sitting.

However, it assured “all concerned that no candidate will be disadvantaged as a result of any issue with the administration of any of the CXC examinations”.

“CXC further assures the region that it will take the necessary steps to ensure all candidates receive the grade earned for each examination taken. CXC’s robust measurement and evaluation policies and procedures will be applied to maintain the integrity of the examinations, and irregularities and hardship considerations will be applied in circumstances where warranted,” the CXC said.

The regional institution said the procedure for reporting challenges encountered during examinations was for the supervisor of the examination centre to file a report to the local registrar, who forwards it to the examination body.

The CXC said it remained committed to providing the region with examinations of the highest quality that withstand international scrutiny.

There was also anxiety among some private candidates who sat the May 10 examination at the New Dimensions Ministries, where a shortage of desks caused a late start.

The Ministry of Education apologized to the candidates, saying it had sought “another suitable alternative in the Springer Memorial Secondary School that would accommodate the excess candidates”.

The ministry explained that “no candidate was disadvantaged in any way” and that they were given the two hours and 40 minutes to write the exam. Babados Today


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