‘Modest’ improvement in school exam results

| 10/11/2020 | 17 Comments
At the CHHS Class of 2020 Graduation, CHHS Principal Dr Richard Wildman with high achieving students Diamond Chambers (left) and Joshua Peart

(CNS): Government officials said “modest gains” were made by Year 11 and 12 high school students in their external examination results this year. By the end of Year 12, 86% of the Class of 2020 had attained Level 2 passes (Grades I, II or III) in English, compared to just over 75% last year. Results for maths were much lower, with just 54% of students reaching the pass mark but still an improvement on 2019, when passes were below 50%. Overall, more than 70% of all students attained five or more Level 2 passes.

Under the Cayman Islands system, after Year 11, when students complete high school, they must then attend Year 12 elsewhere in order to graduate: they can go to UCCI to begin their associate degree, attend the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) to retake some external exams if necessary and/or take vocational courses, attend a private school offering A-Level courses, or they can attend some other approved educational facility.

The figures released by government on Tuesday show that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a very challenging and disruptive year for students in government schools, they continued the steady improvement in results that has emerged over the last four years.

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Acting Director of the Department of Education Services (DES) Tammy Banks-DaCosta said the improvement was a reflection of the strategies that have been being implemented. “Overall, we are showing modest gains from year-to-year attributed to strategies and interventions that have been implemented,” she stated in the release from the ministry about the results.

In the provisional results, some of which are under review by the external boards at the request of the Cayman Islands schools, the number of students achieving at least one science subject at Level 2 reached an “all-time high” of 71%, though the figures before 2016 were not provided.

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In October, 330 students successfully graduated from the government’s secondary school system, including the Lighthouse School. Overall, 157 (48%) of those graduates achieved their diploma with Level 2 ‘Honours’ or ‘High Honours’.

Level 2 ‘Honours’ indicates that a student achieved seven exam passes with Grade I, II or III, or the grade equivalent in accepted exams other than Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), which are the equivalent to the Ordinary Level (O-Level) examinations. Level 2 ‘High Honours’ indicates 9 passes at Grade I or II, or the grade equivalent in accepted exams other than CSEC. The subject area passes obtained must include English and mathematics.

The Layman Scott High School on Cayman Brac performed particularly well, with 13 out of 18 graduating students (72%) reaching these achievement levels, and 89% attaining Level 2, which is at least five exam passes with Grade I, II or III.

Preliminary graduation statistics

Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said the students had “performed exceptionally” in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown, with the move to remote learning and the exam schedule changes.

“This speaks volumes for the level of support provided by our government school educators, support staff and of course, their parents and guardians,” the minister stated. “The dedication that our students displayed in persevering through unchartered waters cannot be understated. The resilience and tenacity of our valiant students should be a source of pride for every Caymanian.”

Three students from the Clifton Hunter High School also achieved Top 10 Merit status regionally in the CSEC May – June 2019 examination series. Diamond Chambers ranked 9th in the region in Human and Social Biology and also tied with Joshua Peart for the 7th place rank in Integrated Science. Aaliyah Powell, who was an early entry in Year 10, ranked 9th in Electronic Document Preparation.

With the challenges presented to the examinations as a result of the pandemic, 69 results submitted by the Cayman Islands are currently under review by the relevant boards.

See the full release here.


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Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bad in math and English but they know each animal by name on the arch of noah.
    Typical christian fundamentalist society.
    Keep them dumb and uneducated.
    Thanks to juliana and anthony.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Time to make Cayman Great Again by reverting to a respected exam platform. Roy Bodden’s cut your own nose off to spite your face experiment has failed our children for long enough.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oh yes, school. What a waste of time. I wish I had never gone.
    Not a single accomplishment in my life can be attributed to the fact that I attended school and subsequently university.
    Oh yes, it was a nice family day out attending the graduation ceremony, but that is about all I care to remember.
    Life has taught me to use mental faculties in conjunction with physical labour to achieve desirable results.
    Any semi-intelligent person can learn pretty much anything they want.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Huge congrats to Diamond Chambers, Joshua Peart, Aaliyah Powell, and to their families! Everyone must be so proud of your wonderful accomplishments! Keep reaching for the stars!

  5. Anonymous says:

    The improvements in English are welcome, it is still a tragedy that only just over half of high school leavers have a basic knowledge of math. This effectively shuts them out of any STEM careers

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have seen first hand through the pandemic how much work teachers really do. As a parent on Cayman Brac I was incredibly impressed at the time, effort, and yes, cajoling, that teachers put in. The problem, in my eyes, seems to be motivation of the kids, including mine. And I dare say that more computer time is NOT the answer. Let’s get these kids off the screens in school, please!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lack of any comparison with other regional territories or not, this information is to be celebrated. When are we ever going to get to that place where some improvement is still better than no improvement and it should be celebrated.

    As a retired teacher of the public school system, I understand the hardships, the uncounted hours, the pleading, the cajoling, the begging, etc that goes into getting all students to do their very best.

    Rest assured, teachers, don’t get enough praise here in Cayman, and even if the results were 100%, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education Services, and the Administrators of schools would get all the praise as if what they contribute really has made the difference in these exam results.

    From a retired teacher to my fellow working colleagues, congrats!!! Keep up the fight amidst a lot of obstacles and let it be known there are many out in the community rejoicing with you including me, other parents, students, and other concerned citizens of this country.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “ Under the Cayman Islands system, after Year 11, when students complete high school, they must
    then attend Year 12 elsewhere in order to graduate “ . Is this really accurate? Certainly the
    private schools under the English system of education graduate at Year 11.

    CNS: Yes, it is accurate. The Cayman Islands has an additional compulsory year to the UK. The explanation is long.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congrats to you all wish you the best in life as your journey began

  10. Anonymous says:

    The CIG, esp. Education Min/Dept, need to learn to both congratulate and call for improvement in the same press release. Both are just as important and you’ll get less resistance to the former if you can recognise the later.

    Over 5 years, no significant improvement except maybe in English passes. And at least one science pass (which should have been the headline perhaps). And it was heartening to see that the predictions of a COVID-Grade-Crash has not materialised. So well done to all (teachers and students and parents and even the Min/Dept of Education) for that.

    But it avoids the question: are the passes good enough? It doesn’t matter if the Min/Dept Education think these results are better just because 2019 was a worse year. What matters is are these the best passes we can hope to generate?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that Cayman is reporting “modest gains” in the 2020 CXC results when the rest of the Caribbean is reeling from the disparity between the expected results and actual results. Top performers in other Caribbean islands were getting “U” grades in subjects they were expecting to get top grades. Both CSEC and CAPE have reported significant increases in requests for grade reviews when compared with 2019. Nice to see this is not an issue in Cayman.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Scary that education minister thinks these results are exceptional. That might be our first problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Minister needs them to be exceptional as she is running for election in 6 months. Coming out with a statement that the results were better than dreadful but still not good enough doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Would be interesting to see some type of regional comparison or at least a comparison to those countries/Islands that have a similar economic pillars (financial services and tourism.

    • Anonymous says:

      A comparison at this time would be foolish. The improvements experienced here in the CI is resulting from the fact that only multiple choice papers and SBA contributed to the final grade AND In other Caribbean islands students did not have the same luxury of online learning as the students here. If you want a fair comparison wait for 2022 or review passes from previous years.

      • Anonymous says:

        By your comment the implication is that you expect Cayman results to exceed the Caribbean average or that any such comparison would be unfair. I think you may be surprised.

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