CXC

IN trying to understand why there seems to be so many problems with the 2020 Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) results I can only think of two areas of discomfort.

The first is the submission of School Based Assessments (SBAs) by all pupils. In previous years all pupils were expected to complete SBAs. But CXC only called for samples from each school to be marked. What many teachers did was to prepare the samples especially for marking.

When CXC called for all SBAs this year, many were caught off-guard and the Covid-19 lockdown afforded few the time monitor and fix their SBAs (even though the deadline had gone). Invariably some pupils were learning for the first time about the investigative methods, readings and presentation (among other things) of SBAs.

It would therefore be no surprise to find that this year SBA marks would be less than the usual, because CXC would have been more thorough in dealing with SBAs.

As a former principal myself, SBA is left almost entirely to the subject teacher and the department head. There is little or no input by principals in this process which may have shortcuts. It would therefore be interesting to see which schools have the most problems with the marks, and what the reasons are for the lower than normal marks.

The other area of concern must be CXC’s reliance on performance in Paper I which in most cases is multiple-choice. For obvious reasons the better pupils perform best in the Paper II which require essays and short answers. This requires a longer period of marking but is a more reliable form of assessment for most subject areas.

As one who has been involved in traditional CXC marking for over 30 years, generally standardisation of markers and marking of papers have presented few problems.

With the introduction of online marking I can see some problems in standardisation of markers, but every effort should have been made to have a Paper II.

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I have noted the response of the Honourable Prime Minister to Monday’s ruling of the High Court in the TTFA v FIFA matter in which the PM said, among other things: “So now United TTFA has ‘won’ and FIFA has lost. The matter is settled in local court. We are now free of the ‘colonial’ FIFA. We, boys and girls, men and women, are free to play by ourselves and against ourselves because nobody will be allowed to play with or against us. Oh. That’s it! I finally understand it. That means we can never lose and will always win because we will only be playing by ourselves.”

Minister Sinanan, you can’t be a very bright fellow. You mean, it has taken you five years as a minister to become aware that most of the roads in this country are not suitable for driving?

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It is a fact of human nature that nothing focuses our collective consciousness on our fundamental needs more than a crisis. World War II and its immediate aftermath brought humanity face-to-face with an existential crisis like no other in modern history.

There is too much delay in acting on the FSO Nabarima. This ship poses an unacceptable risk to Trinidad and Tobago, to the environment at large, and to shipping traffic.