CSEC Results A Mixed Bag

Can Local Educators Do More?


With schools opening their doors to the new school year yesterday, greater emphasis will no doubt need to be placed on the overall performance of students sitting next year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

This year’s overall pass rate for Saint Lucian students at the May/June sitting of the exams proves that despite the advent of technology being touted as a blessing for students, the grades continue to not impress.

For instance, this year’s overall pass rate at the General and Technical Proficiency levels was 73.19%, representing a 1.81% increase over last year’s overall performance of 71.38%. The overall pass rate in 2013 was 67.63%.

Candidates from 24 secondary schools sat 34 subjects this year, compared to last year when candidates from 25 secondary schools sat 33 subjects. Fifteen schools recorded declines in performance this year compared to five last year.

This year, pass rates for subjects ranged from 34.02% (Visual Arts) to 100% (Mechanical Engineering and Additional Mathematics), compared to last year when the pass rate ranged from 50% (Mathematics) to 98.65% (Physical Education and Sports).

St. Joseph’s Convent recorded the best pass rate (98.82%) with Bonne Terre Preparatory (93.75%) and St. Mary’s College (93.07%) rounding out the top three spots. The worst performances came from AnseGer Secondary School (29.45%), Bocage Secondary School (38.31%) and Piaye Secondary School (42.62%).

Core subjects English A and Mathematics recorded increased pass rates of 66.15% and 55.16% respectively. Past rates for the two subjects at last year’s sitting were 64.45% and 50.00% respectively.

Since 2011, students’ overall performance in Mathematics at the CSEC examinations has been less than favourable. Performances range as follows: 29.91% (2011), 29.89% (2012), 31.63% (2013), 50.00% (2014) and 55.16% (2015). In the case of English A, the range was as follows: 68.63% (2011), 51.76% (2012), 60.85% (2013), 64.45% (2014) and 66.15 (2015).

Responding to questions posed to him by reporters regarding this year’s CSEC results, Minister for Education, Dr. Robert Lewis, said that while Mathematics continued to be a challenging subject for many people worldwide, the right essentials need to be invested to ensure the subject adds up to better results.

“I think that with time and continued encouragement, our students should do better in Mathematics,” Dr. Lewis said.

With joblessness among young people being a major concern, the job market has become increasingly competitive. While the past norm of having at least five CSEC passes to qualify for employment, today’s reality sees students sitting as many as 20 subjects.

But just what can local educators do in order to ensure that students are competitive not just locally but internationally?

A retired long-serving principal told The VOICE that free after-school lessons for core subjects Mathematics and English A should be mandatory from Form Three. She believes that getting students to appreciate the purposefulness of the two subjects at an early age gives them a better chance at performing at the CSEC examinations.
“The students need to do more practice and drills in these subjects,” the educator, who had over four decades in the education system, said.

The question as whether government will be able to foot that extra bill and whether teachers would be willing to extend their classrooms hours would be for local educators to ponder. However, with a strong demand for high academic performance being a requirement in the global workforce, future crops of students sitting the CSEC examinations would definitely need to brush up on their performances.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

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