Pushed back to July: CXC to use online exam, SBAs for final grades amid coronavirus outbreak

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), considering the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the region, has pushed its summer exams online and much later that the regular May/June cycle.

In a statement on Thursday (March 26), as the CXC watched the outbreak unfold, it made a policy decision to administer an online, multiple-choice exam in July as well as utilise school-based assessments (SBAs) to shape final grades for this cohort of students.

The regional body said that in its consultations with ministries of education and tertiary institutions a consensus was needed.

“The council recognises the impact of COVID-19 on the education system in general and, more specifically, on the schedule of CXC’s examinations. Accordingly, the council has proposed a revised examination strategy to yield valid grades and minimise the disruption to the education system during these unprecedented times,” CXC explained.

“Consequently, the council has made the policy decision to offer a modified examination process,” the regional agency added.

At least one common paper as a multiple-choice assessment will be administered to students; SBAs and Paper 032s, the SBA alternative for private candidates will be combined and a final grade awarded based on the moderated criteria.

What’s more, the CXC noted that there would be exceptions to the online testing process for Modern Languages (French, Spanish and Portuguese), Human and Social Biology and the Visual Arts—as “candidates will be required to complete additional components”.

The strategy of e-testing, the CXC continued, will employ both online and offline modalities to “reduce the examination administration processing time resulting in the shortest turn-around time for making and the release of examination results”.

“In addition, it will provide an opportunity for the timely presentation of grades to facilitate matriculation to higher education or to access employment. This also minimised disruption to the 2020/21 academic year,” the organisation stated.

The CXC explained that while the revised timeline for the exams is in July, it will continue to monitor the situation and be guided national protocols across the Caribbean.