2015 CSEC results show increase in mathematics passes

2015 CSEC results show increase in mathematics passes

— while English language declines

BY KIMONE THOMPSON Associate editor - features thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 13, 2015

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THE contentious subject of mathematics continues to trend upwards in terms of pass rate at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level in public schools.

According to the results of the May/June 2015 sitting of the exams, 62 per cent of the 23,639 public school students who sat passed. That’s an increase of 6.5 percentage points over last year’s 55.5 per cent pass rate, and 20 percentage points above the 2013 results.

English language, meanwhile, recorded a decline of 1.4 percentage points when compared with 2014, when 66 per cent of those who sat passed. Interestingly, the 2014 figure was two percentage points higher than that recorded in 2013.

The CSEC is administered by the Caribbean Examinations Council. It awards grades one to six, but only one to three are accepted as passes. Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, following release of the 2015 results by his ministry at its Heroes’ Circle, Kingston, head office yesterday, said there were encouraging signs overall, but argued that there is room for improvement.

Of the 35 subjects sat, 14 showed improved pass rates over 2014 — agricultural science (single and double award), building technology (woods), economics, electrical and electronic technology, electronic document preparation and management, English B, information technology, maths, office administration, physical education and sport, principles of business, social studies, and Spanish.

Among those, agriculture, principles of business, and physical education and sport recorded the highest figures. "Overall, the highest percentage increases were in agricultural science (double award), 16.7 per cent, and principles of business, 12.6 per cent. In addition, three subjects had average pass rates of over 90 per cent. These were agricultural science (double award), principles of business and physical education and sport.

"As was the case in 2014, the highest average pass rate — 97.6 per cent — was in physical education and sport, representing a slight increase of 0.4 percentage points," Thwaites said. With the exception of maths, there was a general decline in performance in the sciencerelated subjects. "Both additional mathematics and integrated science declined by 7.7 percentage points, biology declined by 9.0 percentage points, chemistry by 13.5, physics by 15.5, and human and social biology by 17.5 percentage points," the minister pointed out.

Of the total number of students who sat the exams, 71 per cent, or 133,171 were awarded grades one to three. Thirty-four per cent of the grade 11 cohort was not recommended to sit CSEC subjects. They were, however, allowed to sit papers offered by City & Guilds and the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ).

"The ministry has been providing other examinations to ensure that these students get an opportunity to sit an exit examination," Thwaites said. He reported that 70.9 per cent of the grade 11 students who did City & Guilds mathematics got passing grades, while the figure for those from the Career Advancement Programme was 83.6 per cent. For English language, the figures are 60.6 per cent and 78.3 per cent, respectively.

"These students now have a certificate in their hand that can be used as building blocks for other levels of certification and for other programmes," Thwaites said.

As for the NVQJ, the ministry reported that, of the 5,712 students who sat the exams, 42 per cent obtained certification.Twenty-seven subjects were sat, 20 at Level 1 and the others at Level 2. "The highest percentage certification for Level 1 was for customer service, which is 86 per cent, followed by Cosmetology, with 60 per cent," said Minister Thwaites.

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