CXC grades issue ‘could end in lawsuit’

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After weeks of delay, the Caribbean Examination Council ( CXC) has completed the majority of the much-anticipated review process, but scores of Barbadian students are not happy with the grades released by the regional examining body.

And outspoken student advocate Khaleel Kothdiwala has warned that the examination body could face legal action as a result.

In a press release on its website yesterday, CXC revealed that it had finished reviewing 80 per cent of the papers which had been submitted for remarking.

“At this time 80 per cent of requests for reviews have been completed and we are working assiduously to complete the remainder,” CXC posted on its website.

It announced that grades would have been released yesterday via its online student portal.

However, in an interview with Barbados TODAY, Kothdiwala said from what he had been hearing from other students, CXC had made very few changes to grades.

“I have been trying to gather as much information as possible from as many students and a number of students have received the results of their reviews.

“In many instances that I am aware of they have been very incremental and sporadic in the sense that if a student might have queried all four of their subjects only one might have been changed and it might have been changed from a 4 to a 3,” Kothdiwala said.

“I have not observed any changes by more than one grade point upward. Of course, we are very happy for all of those students who have finally gotten those subjects back, but by and large, there still remains a major problem with many students receiving only partially that which they deserve and some students have gotten all of their reviews back without any changes.”

He said what was also concerning was the fact that some students had received changes to their grades despite not submitting them to be reviewed.

Dissatisfied with the minor changes, Kothdiwala said students would be seeking legal advice on how to proceed with the matter.

He said students were very disappointed that CXC had chosen not to communicate with them before declaring final results.

“We remain deeply concerned with the actions of CXC, particularly their method of communication.

“We will see whether there are any legal consequences coming out of the latest action of CXC to seek to declare final results without adequate communication with stakeholders but I am not really at liberty to discuss those legal matters,” Kothdiwala said.

The Queen’s College student said there were also some concerns regarding the hosting of the 2021 CXC exams.

He said even with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the 2020 exams, it seemed as if plans were afoot by CXC to hold this year’s exams in May and June.

“We are hearing a lot of worrying plans for this year’s examination. Clearly, we see now in Barbados that the return to school has been delayed by two weeks and in other countries in the Caribbean like Grenada they are experiencing problems and in other territories also.

“The idea that CXC might wish to host a full exam as per usual as in any other normal year in the same May-June timeframe is obviously unacceptable. If they host the same structure exam in June or July as they wish to, then that further sets back next academic year going into 2021-2022 academic year and we will continue to have dislocation in the education system,” Kothdiwala said.

He said recommendations had been made to CXC to introduce an element of “optional questions” that would allow teachers and students not to feel strained to complete a syllabus that they cannot finish in less time.

On its website, CXC said it was “currently in dialogue” with the ministries of education across the region to finalize details for the administration of the region’s exams in 2021.

(randybennett@barbadostoday.bb)

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