Caribbean Examinations Council® Announces Strategy for the Administration of 2021 Regional Summer Examinations

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The Caribbean Examinations Council® (CXC®) has announced its strategy for the administration of the 2021 regional summer examinations, following a meeting with the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) – Education, on 26 February and 1 March 2021. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Hon. Jeffrey L. Lloyd, Minister of Education of the Bahamas. After reviewing CXC’s proposal, consensus was reached by the meeting’s attendees, which included Ministers of Education, senior Ministry of Education officials and pertinent stakeholders from across The Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

CXC’s proposal was formulated following extensive consultations, led by the Ministries of Education at the national level and inclusive of local stakeholders in education. The primary focus was to ensure that the administration of the regional examinations would not disenfranchise the region’s students, in light of the ongoing disruptions to the education system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COHSOD-Education has approved the following:

a) That CXC® will administer the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination® (CAPE®), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate® (CSEC®) and Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence® (CCLSC®) Examinations in their original format; that is, for CAPE® and CSEC® Papers 01, 02 and 031 (School-Based Assessments [SBA]) or Paper 032 for private candidates, and for CCSLC®, Papers 01 and 02;
b) That the examinations will be scheduled during the period June/July 2021, CSEC® and CAPE® written examinations commence on 14 June and end on 16 July 2021. Results will be made available to the Ministries of Education in the last week of September 2021;
c) That an extension will be given for the deadline by which students can decide to defer the sitting of the 2021 examinations. All Candidates will be required to indicate their intent for deferral by 1 May 2021; and
d) That taking into consideration the loss of learning many students experienced, that CXC® will share with Ministries of Education for communication to Candidates, the Broad topics to be assessed on Paper 02, five (5) weeks in advance of the start of examinations.

COHSOD-Education also approved the dates of 27 - 28 May 2021 for the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment™ (CPEA™) examinations, 19 - 22 July 2021 for CCSLC® examinations and that the online Training and Assessment Quality Audits for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification* (CVQ*) will be conducted during the period May to August 2021, with dates determined by individual participating territories. Timetables for all examinations are available on CXC’s website, www.cxc.org.

Candidates experiencing hardships may seek approval from their school (in-school candidates) or from the CXC® Local Registrar (private candidates), to defer their examinations until the January CSEC® 2022 sitting or May/June CAPE®, CSEC® or CCSCLC® 2022 sitting, for any subject offered for which they were previously registered, in the June/July 2021 examination session. Candidates must indicate their intent for deferral by 1 May 2021. Once an indication of intent to defer to an alternative exam cycle is received, the candidate’s current registration will be put on hold. Submitted SBAs and scores can also be deferred for use in the next examination sitting. There will be no fee charged for the deferral of examinations, even if the deferred subjects are spanned across the January and May/June 2022 examination sessions.

There have been calls for CXC® to consider the revision of requirements for syllabus coverage due to disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it was determined that any change, at any level, to the programme of studies offered by CXC® can prove disadvantageous to stakeholders and impact CXC’s ability to compare results across years in terms of equivalence of certification. Therefore, the one-month delay in the schedule of this year’s examinations will allow for additional instructional time as teachers and students prepare for examinations. Additionally, submission deadlines for SBAs have been extended by one month.

Following consultations with external resource persons, representatives from the Ministries of Education, school administrators and teachers, it was also determined that rather than alter the syllabuses, changes would be made to the SBA requirements, that is, a reduction in the number of practicals/assignments and to the approach to the implementation of the SBA. CXC® will maintain the strategy of 100% SBA moderation, across all centres, for all subjects in 2021. Details of the modified SBA strategy were provided to CXC® Local Registrars in November 2020 and a handbook - “Treatment of Syllabuses and the School-Based Assessment for Administration of Examinations in 2021 Handbook for Students” was published on the CXC® website in December 2020.

CXC® and the University of the West Indies (UWI), also presented a joint strategy to address matriculation requirements for CAPE® applicants, applying for admission to the UWI in 2021. Students who have passed at least two (2) CAPE® subjects either at Unit 1 or 2 at Grades I - IV, who also have the requisite CSEC® subjects and who are currently registered for either Unit 1 or 2, can qualify as normal matriculants to the UWI.
The management and staff of CXC® have worked assiduously to develop an examination strategy that will minimise the disruption to the education system while ensuring that the region’s candidates are given the best opportunity to succeed. While a schedule has been set for the June/July 2021 examinations, CXC® continues to be guided by national protocols across the region.

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