Education Minister Not Happy About Math Test Results

Minister of Education - Nigel Carty

Minister of Education – Nigel Carty

Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 23, 2012 (CUOPM)

The pass rate for St. Kitts and Nevis students writing the Caribbean Secondary Level Certificate (CSEC) or CXC O’ Level in 2012 remain relatively constant over the past four years.

But Minister of Education, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty has expressed disappointment with the reduced pass rate in English from 83 percent in 2011 to 58 percent in 2012.

Although not happy with the 47.1 percent pass rate in mathematics, it was pointed out that it was slightly higher than the rate in 2011 and even better than the regional pass rate of 33 percent.

CSEC or CXC O ‘Level is usually taken at the General and Technical Proficiency Levels by students in Form 5 of secondary schools although in recent years there have been entries from students at lower forms as well.

“The total number of candidates across all our schools sitting the 2012 June CSEC Examinations was 672.  Exams were written in 32 subjects across all schools in both Nevis and St. Kitts. There were 3,947 subject entries with 3,078 entries returning passing grades for a national average pass rate at CSEC for 2012 of 78%, which equals the average pass rate over the three preceding years,” said Minister of Education, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty.

In a national address on the performance of students who wrote the CXC for the academic year ending 2012, Minister Carty said there were 100 percent pass rate in Building and Construction Technology, Clothing and Textile, Mechanical Engineering and Physical Education & Sports.

Pass rates of 90% and above were additionally realized in Agricultural Science, Biology, Economics, Electrical & Electronic Technology, Food & Nutrition, French, Home Economics, Office Administration, Physics, Principles of Business and Technical Drawing.

“School Departments responsible for these subjects ought to be highly commended for this outstanding achievement,” the Minister said.

He noted that over the last three years, there has been gradual and steady improvement in the subjects of History, English Literature, Technical Drawing and Visual Arts.

“Our disappointment with a pass rate of 58.3% in English Language, down from 83% in 2011, must be loudly registered, and my Ministry will seek to uncover the variables which led to this significant slippage,” said Mr. Carty in his report to the nation.

He noted that much has been said recently about students’ performance in Mathematics as the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) itself registered its alarm at the declining performance in the subject throughout the entire Caribbean Region, and in the process provided some guidelines for the improvement of the teaching and learning of the subject.

“While here in St. Kitts, we are not satisfied with our students’ performance in the CSEC Mathematics examination, it must be pointed out factually that our pass rate in the subject for 2012 is 47.1% compared with 46.9% in 2011 and 47.8% in 2010. In other words, our performance has held relatively constant over the past three years. While we must continue to exert every effort to improve our standards where the subject of Mathematics is concerned, St. Kitts and Nevis was fortunate to have exceeded the regional pass rate of 33% by some 14 percentage points,” said Minister Carty, who quickly pointed out:

“This does not give us any comfort, but some measure of hope that we can in fact do much better in the future.”

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