By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd has said the public “doesn’t seem to understand” how examination results are graded - in response to criticism over this year’s poor national results.
Speaking to reporters outside Cabinet yesterday, Mr Lloyd insisted the nation’s students are competent and doing very well - despite a drop in the number of students sitting BGCSEs and in the number of students securing at least a C grade. Mr Lloyd said as far as the future is concerned, the game plan is the same the government has always had and that it “wasn’t fair” that students were being criticised.
He said: “It’s not fair that our students are continuously being whipped by a public who doesn’t seem to understand that we have a new legend, a new assessment tool called the BGCSE and they should examine it and criticise it on its own merit and not on the GCE merit because if you look at a D on the GCE, yes it’s a failure, a D under the BGCSE is a passing grade, a grade of competence.”
This is the 28th year that the BGCSE has been sat in The Bahamas.
Mr Lloyd added: “We redouble our efforts in applying our students, encouraging our parents and certainly making the best of our resources, which we are undertaking right now in terms of curriculum reform. But I need to make this very clear and I think it is unfair to our students who perform extremely well, the majority of them. We have a society which has transported a GCE understanding of these external and exit exams into now the BGSCE era and it’s unfair because in the GCE era there were only 15 to 20 percent of our students who were being assessed by way of exit exams. We had five grade points - ABCDF. Today, the mid-point is a D.”
“That midpoint, if you look at the legend, clearly identifies that the student who achieves A-D grade is competent (and) that the student is responsive, that the student has demonstrated adequate sufficient skills. But yet we continue to transcribe our D from the GCE years, which was a failure, into the BGCSE era and it’s not fair. Now students who get E, F and G on this scale, they are failing, and we have those as well, but in that category we have less than any other previous year, number one. Number two, again what I sent you all you would see from A to D, the percentage of students taking the exam have actually increased in both the BJCs and BGCSEs.
“Our graduation rates have gone from 46 percent in 2017 to 60 percent in 2019. That’s excellent. We have 100 percent more students at BTVI than we had two years ago. We have 65 percent of our students at BTVI are now certified in their various disciplines compared to only 20 percent a year ago. We are doing very well.”
He added: “He said the virtual school was also now helping students in the family islands whether it’s Acklins and Crooked Island and Rum Cay who would not have had the benefit of science of math or foreign language teachers who now have that. ‘Are we great?’ We are getting better. ‘Are we perfect?’ We are being perfected.”
Earlier this week, PLP Senator Dr Michael Darville said Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd has a “duty to address this decline” after this year’s poor examination results.
Dr Darville, PLP shadow minister of health and education, said Mr Lloyd’s poor leadership as well as his attempts at intimidating and threatening educators have created a toxic mix in the public school system that have adversely impacted scholastic performance and education outcomes.
“Fewer students have reportedly sat the core BGCSE subjects of maths, English and science and there was a decrease in the number of students who secured at least a grade of C in these core subjects.”
Last week, the newly released results of this year’s BJC and BGCSE were released which showed fewer students scored at least a C grade in score subjects Mathematics, English and Science. A total of 484 candidates fell into this category. This represented a decrease of 1.22 percent when compared with 2018. That year, 490 students scored at least a C.
The scores have got progressively worse and were released much later than is customary. Additionally, the number of candidates receiving a minimum or five subjects or more with a D grade or higher decreased.
This year 1,213 candidates attained a minimum of D in at least five subjects, representing a 9.34 percent decrease from the results of 2018.
The Bahamas Junior Certificate scores were not better with an 18.36 percent decrease in the number of students who scored at least a C grade in math, English language and science.
In 2018, 1,552 candidates scored at least a C and 1,326 were in 2017.
Those who achieved a D grade in five or more subjects were also lower.
This year, 2,176 candidates achieved a minimum of D, a 6.17 percent decrease when compared with 2018’s 2,319.
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