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New exam will ensure students are ready for secondary school

Dr. Didacus Jules, registrar of CXC.

Dr. Didacus Jules, registrar of CXC.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 15, IWN – The test that will replace the Common Entrance Examination will ensure that students have the skills needed to succeed at secondary school.

The test, the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA), is an evaluation of the literacies required by all pupils exiting the primary school system.

It will be administered through the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).

It is anticipated that the CPEA, as a regional assessment offered by CXC, will provide the foundations for a seamless transition to secondary education

“We can no longer afford the situation when the Common Entrance Exam is marked that a Ministry [of Education] should discover that there are 100, 200 kids who are literally illiterate…a” Dr. Didacus Jules, registrar of CXC said on radio on Wednesday.

Jules said that with universal access to secondary education, the “big challenge” is maintaining quality and ensuring that students are able to make full use of the opportunity to move into secondary school.

And that is why this whole new change from the Common Entrance to the Caribbean Primary Exit has come about. Because, what we are doing is ensuring by the nature of the process we put in place that every child who goes through that process will show the necessary competencies in order to succeed at secondary level.

“The new examination tries to address some of the core issues associated with the old Common Entrance — the question of poor performance, weak parental participation, the one-shot and highly pressured nature of the exam, and the limited and over burdened curriculum,” Jules further said.

“So, what we have come with is a system which involves a lot of work being done in the school, as what we call formative assessment, where students are helped to develop their competencies, … richer feedback to pupils.”

The CXC says that the focus of the CEPA is on a set of literacies that are common to all primary curricula across the region and are necessary for students to achieve at higher levels of education.

These include mathematical, language, civic and scientific literacies.

The CPEA will therefore focus on the assessment of literacies and not individual subjects as is the case with traditional end-of-primary examinations, CXC says.

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