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Tuesday 20 February 2018
Letters to the Editor

‘Rightness’ on shaky grounds with CAPE

THE EDITOR: Allow me to offer a brief preamble to the now raging issue of CXC/CAPE grades by suggesting that when one hears of a reaction to some issue amounting to being shocked, disappointed, alarmed, inter alia, this usually arises from a natural juxtaposition of the above reaction against established standards of what is considered “right” under the particular circumstances.

Such codes of conduct will have been established over time and are usually underpinned by a sense of what is “right” and what is “wrong,” though admittedly, such concepts are now becoming more complicated and complex.

What may be right for some may not be so for others, especially from a cultural perspective, but even with such a nuanced situation, we still manage to get by what is generally regarded as a universal sense of right and wrong. Still “rightness” is on very shaky grounds and there is no clearer case in point than the debacle surrounding the CAPE results 2017.

From reports and responses through letters in the media, one gets a sense of the troubling uncertainty at present surrounding “grades” awarded, and with the precedent set with such previously awarded grades changed for one reason or another, there seems to be a universal cry against all grades whether good, bad or ugly.

From my over 50 years in the education system, notwithstanding the occasional query about grades, there has never been, to my knowledge, a situation where the whole issue of CXC/CAPE grades is cast into serious doubt. It would have been unthinkable that there is an iota of doubt surrounding the grade slip on such a scale, for that slip is, first and foremost, “life” for students, as well as parents, teachers and peers, inter alia.

It has to do with a student’s sense of worth, a parent’s sense of responsibility for a child’s education, a teacher’s sense of pride and continuing motivation in his/her calling, a peer’s estimation of a friend’s intellectual capacity, and, critically, a marker of what the future holds for the student involved. Which means that the grade slip has always been sacred, sacrosanct, and, above all else, should be inviolate, beyond compromise.

CXC’s explanation that the adjustments made are part of the process, howsoever genuine that may be, betrays a sad lack of understanding of the psychology surrounding the grade slip and the negative fallout that may arise if the perception is that the results have been compromised.

Consider the speculation arising about conspiracy, collusion and corruption and the effects in terms of matriculation and employment. But maybe my concern is misplaced, for this indifference to what is sacred is perhaps the new norm, as if we have lost our moral compass, and what is wrong, so irrevocably wrong as in this instance, no longer matters. Just let it be.

Maybe this helps to explain the killings without remorse as with Dr Claire Broadbridge and Ramdevi Singh, the corruption and the nepotism without shame in the politics, how inept the leadership is with little or no concern, for that moral sense which makes us human has dissipated and now we stare at the “wrong” and just smile.




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Letters to the Editor