CXC’s Options

Grenville Phillips, leader of Solutions Barbados and candidate for St. George North

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is a Caribbean institution. As Caribbean nationals, we should insist that the integrity of Caribbean institutions be protected. If our institutions provide a high-quality product, their integrity is automatically protected.

CXC has one main product – its examinations. There are three basic components of that product. Namely, a syllabus of information for students to understand, an examination that tests the students’ understanding of that syllabus, and correcting and scoring the examinations.

The students are responsible for understanding the syllabus of information, and doing the examination.

The most critically important part of CXC’s product, is correcting and scoring the exams. Therefore, CXC’s integrity is measured by the quality of its examiners.


Qualified examiners provide confidence in the integrity of CXC’s product, on which its reputation is sustained. The minimum academic qualification required to correct and score CXC examinations, is a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

Students studying for a Bachelor’s degree may assist teachers to present and correct tutorials. But they are not qualified to correct CXC secondary school examinations. If they did, then that is the root cause of the current dissatisfaction, and no confidence can be placed in the results of those examinations.

If the CXC Board approved the use of first-degree university student examiners, then that is a regional scandal that can damage CXC’s reputation as a provider of quality examinations.

The obvious solutions are two-fold. First, qualified examiners must review all the examinations corrected and scored by unqualified examiners. Second, CXC should mandate that they will never use unqualified examiners to correct or score CXC examinations in the future.

If CXC maintains its secrecy on whether they used first-degree student examiners, and if they insist on using unqualified examiners in the future, then they would have damaged the integrity of the CXC examinations, and the reputation of the regional institution.

The Ministry of Education needs to tell the CXC Board to come clean. If they do not, then another examination body, with more integrity, should be used until they do.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at

113 thoughts on “CXC’s Options

  1. Voices of the future, not a bunch of corrupt ass old demon worshipping middle aged losers, thieves and parasites in the people’s lives still believing they will continue their 60 year old crimes of disenfranchising our young and ROBBING EVERYBODY..

  2. Parents’ group suggests CXC use teacher-predicted grades

    SPOKESPERSON for the Concerned Parents of Barbados Group, Paula-Anne Moore, has put forward a solution to the ongoing dispute between the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and students whose grades were “unsatisfactory” following this year’s CXC and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).
    In a press release yesterday, Moore suggested CXC use teacher-predicted grades, already in possession by the examination body, as was done by Scotland and England this year.
    She said students with university application deadlines of October 15 could be identified and their grades reviewed and reassessed first by CXC, by Saturday the latest.
    “[This] would be a reasonable solution to correct clearly erroneous 2020 CXC preliminary grades as identified by the respective schools to the ministries of education, in view of the time-sensitive nature of the issue, and the unprecedented context of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the logistical challenges of the 2020 CXC exams,” she said.
    Moore suggested the CXC review process be amended to reflect final grades in line with teacher-predicted grades, CXC review fees be waived or refunded if already paid, a guarantee by CXC that no downgrades would be given, and an extension of the October 16 deadline for review if necessary, for all affected students whose grades were significantly
    lower than their teacher-predicted grades.
    She added the reassessment be completed and made public no later than October 16, as part of the report being prepared by the independent review panel as set out by CXC chairman, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.
    “We [also] propose, in view of the extraordinary circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the other category of students, those students who find their grades from the 2020 CXC exams acceptable, be allowed to keep their grades.” (RA/PR)

    Source: Nation

  3. Not sure if to put too much emphasis/weight on “teacher predicted grades”.

    Going back a few years, I know of a child at QC that was given a “predicted grade” of “C” for her CAPE II exam after gaining an “A” in CAPE I in the particular subject.

    It affected her university accepted choice of degree program!

    Lo and behold, when the results came back, the child gained an overall “A” grade WITH DISTINCTION…… so much for “teacher predicted grades”!!!

  4. CXC offers solution


    DISGRUNTLED PARENTS AND STUDENTS say while the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has not accepted full responsibility for its “errors” in the exam results controversy, they have given it the thumbs up for some of the recommendations made to help fix the problem.
    This was the reaction after a near three-hour online press conference by CXC yesterday, at which the regional body announced there would be a reduction in review fees, that the review results were expected to be completed in a week’s time, and there would be no downgrades.
    In addition, the deadline for making requests was extended from October 23 to November 6.
    This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, CXC scrapped the extensive Paper II in many cases and students were only asked to do a multiple choice Paper I and submit schoolbased assessments (SBAs). However, after the results were released on September 22, both teachers and students said there were discrepancies, and questioned CXC’s marking system.
    Students, who were predicted to do well by their teachers, said they saw reduction in their marks and protested on several occasions.
    CXC chairman Sir Hilary Beckles led the online press conference yesterday, where he announced that the Independent Review Team (IRT) he set up earlier this month had made 27 recommendations after it assessed the controversial 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) processes.
    Registrar and chief executive officer of CXC, Dr Wayne Wesley, revealed yesterday that requests for reviews would now cost US$15, down from US$30, and anyone who paid the full price would be refunded.
    “I understand and appreciate the concerns of the candidates who were using their SBA grades as given to them by their teacher and using that as their final grade. However, the moderation process would first be completed before the final determination of the grade awarded to the student for that SBA in accordance with the standard as outlined,” he said.
    Fresh measures
    So far there were 2 353 requests for review for CAPE and 2 550 at CSEC, and he promised that measures would be put in place to speed up the process.
    “So there would be an agreement in some instances and leniency would be detected in some instances, and in some instances the grade remains, so it is only after the process of examination is completed where the final grade is determined,” Wesley added.
    “It is also important to note the review process will include a remark of the review script. If the resulting grade remains the same, the candidate will be advised and if the resulting grade is increased, the candidate will be advised as well as a full refund of the review fee.
    “This week that capacity will be put in place to ensure that candidates can get almost an immediate response to the query they have raised. The backlog should be cleared by this week. Those who are seeking to have a direct contact with CXC, the provision will be put in place by the end of this week for persons to interact directly with CXC online for a review request, thus shortening the time between request for review and the return for results,” he noted.
    Sir Hilary revealed the full report would be released tomorrow after a meeting with the various ministries of education.
    He also reported that the IRT gave CXC’s modified approach the thumbs up. He added there challenges within the ecosystem, some technical challenges at some institutions and that communication in some areas was lacking.
    “It’s not simply a matter that the students did not do as well as expected. In many instances, it’s because there were communications challenges with statistics, with grades that now need to be fixed. We are not concerned with where there is a break in the system, we are concerned that there is a break in the system, so we can fix it and put it all together,” he said.
    Thanked CXC
    In response to the session, spokesperson for the Group of Concerned Parents, Paula-Anne Moore, thanked CXC for consulting with them.
    “We further thank and salute the IRT empanelled by Sir Hilary to review the 2020 revised exams and methodology, for treating this crisis with the urgency it required, and for inviting our group to present our position paper as part of their engagement.
    “We are pleased that the CXC has agreed with our recommendation that the review process will be revised on an urgent basis, and will be a full remarking and not the standard retabulation,” Moore said.
    However, both Moore and student advocate Khaleel Kothdiwala said further clarity was needed after, in their view, teachers were thrown under the bus.
    “There was no admission of fault nor any acceptance of responsibility by the Council for the inconvenience, anxiety, agony and heartache caused by the clearly defective results,” Kothdiwala said.
    “Instead, CXC blamed four factors for this crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic, Internet connectivity in the territories of the region, implied teacher corruption and unmerited high student expectations.”

    Source: Nation

  5. Very good article.
    Very measured response by CXC..
    We should all wait and see.

    Regardless of the outcome, some will still have their feelings hurt.

  6. The Barbados-based Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has released the report of an Independent Review Team (IRT) which investigated this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam (CAPE).

    According to the report, fraudulent School Based Assessment (SBA) submissions from teachers and leaked examination questions were among a number of potentially damning infractions emerging from the review into this year exams…..(Quote)

    If this is true, then the crisis at the CXC is even bigger than we thought. It is not just about failing clever children, but of school teachers, and by implication the heads, conspiring to leak exam questions and to commit fraud.
    Who were the parents of the suspect children? Did education officials know about this alleged fraud and the leaking of papers? Is this one reason why certain people get in to certain school and get national scholarships?
    This is the real scandal.

  7. Wales’ GCSE, AS and A-level exams in summer 2021 are to be cancelled, with grades based on classroom assessments.

    Education Minister Kirsty Williams said it was impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams due to the ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic.

    Head teachers would work on a “national approach” to ensure consistency, she said.

    Assessments will be done under teacher supervision, and will begin in the second half of the spring term.

    They will be externally set and marked but delivered within the classroom….(Quote)

Leave a comment, join the discussion.