Education Ministry blames ‘structural changes’ for poor Maths results this year

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Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson

The pass rate for Mathematics at this year’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination was well below 50 per cent and the Education Ministry has squarely blamed these results on a few structural changes in the papers.

Chief Education Officer Marcel Hutson said at a recent engagement that this ‘little shift’ directly affected the children and, thus, caused a mere 43 per cent overall pass percentage.

“Mathematics came in at 43 per cent, the same thing we had last year, but there was a little shift in terms of the structure of the paper. The concept was there and so the shift threw some of our children off track but you learn from lessons,” Hutson indicated.

The senior education official, however, informed that they will review these results and employ a newer approach to produce better results. He stated that teachers need additional training in content and methodology.

In just over eight months, students from across the country will sit the examinations again. In fact, preparations would have already begun with those who would enter their final year in September. As such, Hutson is convinced that the performance will develop.

“We believe that come next year, you will see an improved performance in Mathematics and…I think we will be better prepared to deal with the concepts…The improvement that we would have seen in many of those areas were as a result of workshops, training sessions and basically have to do with building capacity with our teachers and, so we have seen that”.

This year, some 11, 467 students were registered to sit the examinations this year with 67,000 subject entries. Apart from Mathematics, there was improvement for English Language, with a 77 per cent overall success as opposed to 67 per cent in 2018. The performance improved across 21 subject areas while seven showed constant figures. Seven subject areas demonstrated declines namely – Caribbean History, Economics, English B, Integrated Science, Human and Social Biology, Textiles and Clothing, and French.

For the science subjects, there were improvements in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, and both double and single awards Agricultural Science. This followed for the business subjects, being evident in Office Administration, Principles of Business and Principles of Accounts, whereas Electronic Documentation Preparation and Management (EDPM) maintained constant performance.