CXC- Time to Get it Right!

Tennyson Joseph, UWI lecturer and political scientist shared a personal experience in his recent weekly column. While it is a personal experience, it scrutinises and exposes decision making at the highest level by education planners in the region. We must do better if we are to compete on the world stage, especially being able to cover-off rudimentary decisions.

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Another CXC mis-step 

I WRITE IN MY capacity as a concerned and frustrated parent, in response to an incident which occurred during the conduct of the CSEC English B (English Literature) multiple choice exam on Friday May 27, 2022.

Originally intended to be a two-hour exam (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m), my daughter exited the exam room at 5:30 p.m., with other students having streamed out a few minutes before, this is on a day when they had already had a morning paper from 9 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Essentially, therefore, the affected students were kept under examinations conditions for seven hours.

What was the issue? It appears that a decision was taken to conduct all CXC multiple-choice examinations online without ensuring that the necessary IT infrastructure to support such examinations was in place. Given that English B is compulsory for all students at my daughter’s school, the demand overload proved overwhelming, and many students had to sit for hours waiting, without success, for the exam App to open. Some were successful at various periods after the start, while others’ systems crashed mid-exam.

My daughter was one of the unfortunate ones whose apps failed to open, and she reported to me that after two hours of waiting, and going through a range of negative emotions, a decision was taken to allow the examination to be done in the old fashioned, but reliable way.

My aim is not to question the judgement of the onsite invigilators and decision-makers. What is concerning is the poor judgment of CXC decision makers, who, by insisting on online multiplechoice examinations, appear to be operating on the assumption that “man is made for technology rather than technology made for man”.

Two issues are of concern here. The first is that, after the loud public outcry and loss of goodwill experienced by CXC over the conduct of examinations during the 2019 COVID period, that CXC did not consider it prudent to put a pause on all “experimentation” to allow for a period of cooling off period and a return to normalcy.

Secondly, given the importance of assessments as measurements of student quality and as a determinant of life chances, great care should be taken to ensure that there is nothing intrinsic to an examination environment that can negatively affect student performance. CXC ought to have assured itself of near 100 per cent success prior to utilising new technology in examinations.

CXC is too important to allow these constant hints of weakness. It should be airtight and the least problematic of our institutions. My recommendation to CXC is that it should perfect the basic aspects of its mandate, before venturing off into new territory, especially at a time when the stench of recent failures still pollute the atmosphere. For the sake of our children and the educational “ecosystem”, let us get it right.

Tennyson Joseph is a political scientist at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, specialising in regional affairs. Email

131 thoughts on “CXC- Time to Get it Right!

  1. Let me make myself clearER! My recent comment was calling for patience with average Bajans, commonly known on this site as “BRASS BOWLS”. I suggested that THE PEOPLE need time and patient coaching to come into the fulness of their identity as the descendants of Africans. They need time and coaching to put away their fake and forced “Little Englandness” and retrieve their fighting spirit.

    I would expect those who rise to political leadership to be smart enough to have long rid themselves of the eurocentric folly as I did while still a child watching Saturday morning cowboy and “indian” movies. They should be ready to govern FOR THEIR PEOPLE, recognising that they will remain NOBODIES and JOKES on the worldstage, mere puppets to be played with until they access the true power that comes with fighting “righteous” causes for the right reasons.

    THAT is the way to earn the respect of those who would write you off as insignificant.

    Now, go back and see that my comment was in response to somebody berating the Bajan people for not responding forcefully enough to being ripped off!

    Or…continue to get your jollies by calling me whatever pleases you today.

    I, however, will be engaged in more pleasant pursuits.

  2. TheO,

    The last thing we need if for us to stop voting and youall to start.

    If we don’t vote there is a chance, however slight, that the duopoly will get the message and will realise that “dum en mek dumselves”.

    Why would we want overseas voters to cloud that message?

  3. Baje,

    What I meant was that not everybody is strong enough to do what you have done. Some just go with the flow or follow the leader.



    a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.

    Let me try to understand something here.

    Black people is who live in the slums and them is the MAJORITY GROUP bout here.

    So what is it that you really trying to say? You like you is the real ass here yuh, because it look like you ain’t really apply commonsense to this thing.

  5. Rudder: Backup to CXC e-testing in place
    There are avenues for those who had difficulties with the recent Caribbean Examinations Council e-testing, said Deputy Chief Education Officer Dr Roderick Rudder.
    The platform and CXC in general, came under severe criticism by Paula-Anne Moore, spokesperson/co-ordinator of the Caribbean Coalition of Exam Redress and the Group of Concerned Parents of Barbados as well as from University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus lecturer Dr Tennyson Joseph.
    On Wednesday, Rudder said: “With regard to e-testing, provisions have been used for the use of the backup paper-based examination. In instances where there are challenges with the technology, whether it be bandwidth, connectivity or faulty devices, the provision for the backup paper based examination is activated immediately.
    “Therefore for those who started off pursuing the e-testing platform and they experienced any technological challenges, the resort was to the backup,” he said.
    However, this backup was apparently not utilised in all cases, resulting in some students possibly not performing as well. To this, Rudder said all hope was still not lost.
    “Under CXC’s guidelines there is provision for hardship consideration and the appropriate action will be taken between the Ministry of Education and CXC with regard to those candidates who would have had some challenges with regard to the technology,” he said.
    ‘Exams ill-timed’
    Reports indicate there were extreme issues with the online examinations, with some taking hours to begin. Joseph, in his Daily Nation column last Thursday titled Another CXC Mis-step, wrote: “CXC is too important to allow these constant hints of weakness. It should be airtight and the least problematic
    of our institutions. My recommendation to CXC is that it should perfect the basic aspects of its mandate, before venturing off into new territory, especially at a time when the stench of recent failures still pollute the atmosphere.
    For her part, Moore said the online examinations were ill-timed and called for them to be stopped. She also queried why Barbados allowed CXC e-testing to take place when the information technology infrastructure could not handle it.
    “The Barbadian public needs to ask the question as to why a national decision was made to go ahead with e-testing . . . Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago refused to implement national e-testing, as they recognised that their national infrastructure was not ready, so why pursue it [here]? And why continue to force this issue?”
    To this, CXC said it was not accurate to say Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago had refused e-testing as they were all doing it this year, adding it was not compulsory for subjects such as English, Maths and chemistry and it was up to the various ministries of education to decide if they were prepared to utilise e-testing.

    Source: Nation

  6. I continue to struggle to understand CXC.
    From BT
    “The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is seeking to reduce the numbers of students leaving secondary school without any certification.”

    This is an admirable stance, but how does an examination council ‘increase’ the number of subject leaving school with a certification?
    Does this fall within the purview of the CXC or should this be the goal of the various Ministry of Education.

    CXC needs to maintain/increase the quality of its product.

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