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By Anthony Stewart, PhD

Many are questioning the June 2020 CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) results but their query may be without foundation as the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), has a reputation for fairness since its establishment more than 40 years ago. We should not let the current uproar distract us from analysing the results and preparing to do better the next time around. The exam is structured in a way to place the student at an advantage.

The school based assessment component gives students the opportunity to practice skills to perfection. They can make improvements to their work to the extent where they obtain the highest grade. Knowledge of the subject matter is indispensable. To aid them in their quest students may use texts, study guides, libraries, and the internet. How well they are able to use their knowledge of the subject studied is another area that is assessed.

This year CXC deployed and gave more weight to multiple choice, the most objective form of testing.

Across all subject areas, CXC values reading, writing, reasoning, and practice. Consequently, all students should read widely using their texts, public library, the internet, and the local newspapers.

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Journaling is one way to improve writing skills. Students should write at least one page per day to hone their writing skills.

Reasoning skills can be improved by discussing what was read with others, composing and answering questions.

Engaging in practical activities allows students to link knowledge and understanding of the subject with its use.

The Bible says that knowledge shall increase and this is true. We have more books than we have had before. The Book Loan Scheme allows students access to most texts at minimal cost but they must read them to benefit. Additional knowledge can be gained by specifically researching relevant materials from the library, internet, and interacting with experts in the various fields.

As we strive to create a knowledge-based society, school administrators and staff should model habits of reading, writing, reasoning, and practice, and organize students to do the same. Many students want school to be more relevant by teaching them what they need to learn to allow them to better function in the society. In this way schooling would help us to do what we do better.

Let us not underestimate the power of a multiple-choice objective test. Perhaps it is an indicator of how students have been spending their time. Was it done reading the Bible, books, newspapers, Khan Academy, Wikipedia, Text books or on Facebook, liming on the block, playing video games, watching movies?

Daniel 1:17 says, “God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated.”

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