An e-learning hub and on-demand testing are among innovations the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has announced, as it moves ahead with the full digital transformation of regional secondary education next year.
And the regional exam body continues to tout the benefits of its fledgling primary-school exit assessment in the Eastern Caribbean.
Speaking in Montserrat at the official release of the results of this year’s exams, new CXC registrar Wayne Wesley said the change was expected to take effect in 2020, and would also involve transforming operations at the Barbados-based examining body.
“After all, most of our young people growing up right now are more adept at the use of technology than us older folk. And so we need to get into their space so that we can maximise learning.”
The change will see students having access to on-demand testing, scheduling and an e-learning hub.
Wesley said one of the things CXC wanted to ensure was that the infrastructure would be in place so the system would be made available to everyone on the learning hub.
All multiple choice papers and several other paper tools will be made available electronically. The British Virgin Islands is the first territory to administer all exams electronically.
Test preparation will also be done automatically.
“And this is what is going to be able to allow us to offer tests on demand, because we are now robustly building a huge database electronically so at the click of a button we can generate an examination meeting all the specifications required from the syllabus.
“Script marking, that’s what we’re engaged in now. All our exams, except for a few which we’re still working through, are being marked electronically online to speed up the process and to ensure that we can quickly collate and make grades available to you in time.”
Students will also be able to access their exam results electronically, Wesley said, as CXC has piloted e-certificates to candidates who registered last year, and they will soon be receiving their results and certificates online.
CXC is advising employers of the new system, so that they will accept the e-certificates. This will also a safeguard against damage from disasters.
Wesley also praised the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) exams – CXC’s common entrance exam, currently administered in the Eastern Caribbean states – as proving to be of great benefit to students.
He said Montserrat serves as the best example in the region in administering the "11-plus" test, and encouraged other countries to follow suit, as it lays a sound foundation for students leaving primary school.
“It tells us that the foundation from the CPEA and the CCSLC (Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Competence) is really causing students to do better, because we’re building on the principles established.”
He also encouraged the modification of the CPEA to allow students to learn a foreign language early in their education.
“One of the modifications that I’m thinking about is that it is important for this new generation that they are bilingual. And the best way to get a generation bilingual is to start from kindergarten."