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The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 3
IN THIS ISSUE
THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER is a publication of the CARIBBEAN EXAMI...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 5
CSEC 30TH ANNIVERSARY: 1979 – 2009
Celebrating30Yearsof
CSECExaminations:197...
The Caribbean Examiner
6 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Celebrating30Yearsof CSEC
borrowed a lot of their best practices,” Hercules
...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 7
At two sittings of large scale examinations in 2008, the Caribbean Examinati...
The Caribbean Examiner
8 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
1979 CSEC Experience
TheRegistrar’sPerspective
By Wilfred Beckles
I am grate...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 9
Soon after the start of operations,CXC took
two crucial steps by:
1) forging...
The Caribbean Examiner
10 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Western Zone Office engaged in radio and
television presentations and discu...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 11
colleague,resident in Guyana,that CXC appeared
to have placed the overseas ...
The Caribbean Examiner
12 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
solved the difficulty, but time had still been
lost. There were problems wi...
ARTICLE TO STRETCH
TO FILL THIS SPACE
The Caribbean Examiner
14 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
THE 1979 EXPERIENCE
THE CLASS OF 1979
PRE-TESTED! TESTED!
PROVEN!
By Astrid...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 15
and in at least one case, each proficiency had at
least five test forms, be...
The Caribbean Examiner
16 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
In 1979 a group
o f M a t h e m a t i c s
teachers were invited
by Mr Leo O...
The Caribbean Examiner
18 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Wherearetheynow?
CSEC CLASS OF 1979
Debbie Gurley-Rivers
St Vincent Girls’ ...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 19
sort of grade they might receive. The English
Language component was challe...
The Caribbean Examiner
20 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979
Portia Compton-James
St Joseph’s Convent...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 21
Dr Camille Nicholls
St Vincent Girls’ High School
The Girls’ High School Cl...
The Caribbean Examiner
22 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979
Jennifer Hoad-King
Queen’s College
Barba...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 23
Earl Bennette
St Vincent Grammar School
1979 is a year that has gone down i...
The Caribbean Examiner
24 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979
Pauline Wolff
St Joseph’s Convent
St Luc...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 25
Trudy Leonce-Joseph
St Joseph’s Convent
St Lucia 		
This was truly a histor...
The Caribbean Examiner
26 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org
The revised English B Syllabus for 2012 to
2017 examinations reintroduces t...
The Caribbean Examiner
www.cxc.org MAY 2009 27
TEXTS PRESCIBED FOR THE
2012 - 2014 EXAMINATIONS
DRAMA
Four Questions will ...
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
The CXC Examiner -  Celebrating 30 years of CSEC
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The CXC Examiner - Celebrating 30 years of CSEC

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The year 1979 was a turbulent one for the Caribbean region in general and the world in particular. It was the year Maurice Bishop carried out a blood-less coup in Grenada; there was the
Union Island uprising and the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

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The CXC Examiner - Celebrating 30 years of CSEC

  1. 1. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 3 IN THIS ISSUE THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER is a publication of the CARIBBEAN EXAMINATIONS COUNCIL (CXC) Editor-in-Chief: Dr Didacus Jules • EDITOR: CLEVELAND SAM • LINE EDITOR: MAUREEN GRAZETTE Please send your comments to: THE CARIBBEAN EXAMINER, CXC, THE GARRISON, ST. MICHAEL, BARBADOS E-mail: cxcezo@cxc.org • YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFDDmH7oHzg CSEC 30TH ANNIVERSARY: 1979 – 2009 05 Celebrating 30 Years of CSEC THE 1979 EXPERIENCE 08 The Registrar’s Perspective 14 The Class Of 1979 16 30 Years of CSEC Mathematics CSEC CLASS OF 1979 18 Where are they Now? CXC NEWS 26 Selecting English B Texts For 2012 – 2017 27 CXC Joins JAMCOPY 28 Visual Arts Exhibition 29 CSEC January 2009 30 CAPE Qualification 34 Made for Mathematics 36 Knowledge Cruise P16 P41 P30 P38 Jordanna Deane P08 P36 CXC NEWS 38 Top CAPE Students 40 CSEC Top Awards 41 Teach a Computer to Learn 42 In Their Own Words 44 Yana-Marisa Edwards 45 e-Learning Jamaica 46 Progress Towards a New Vision 53 “Air CXC”
  2. 2. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 5 CSEC 30TH ANNIVERSARY: 1979 – 2009 Celebrating30Yearsof CSECExaminations:1979-2009 By Cleveland Sam The year 1979 was a turbulent one for the Caribbean region in general and the world in particular.It was the year Maurice Bishop carried out a blood-less coup in Grenada; there was the Union Island uprising and the eruption of the La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent and the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. But 1979 is perhaps one of the most significant years in the history of regional education development. It was during May/June 1979 that for the first time Caribbean secondary school students wrote an examination prepared by Caribbean people, for Caribbean people and marked and graded by Caribbean people! Thirty thousand,two hundred and seventy- six (30 276) candidates from the region were part of this historic occasion as they wrote the first sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, CSEC, commonly called CXCs. Though the operation experienced some challenges,it signaled the entry of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) unto the global examination landscape, and more importantly the beginning of the region’s break from the UK examination boards. It was a proud moment in Caribbean history. For this first sitting,the Council offered five subjects for the CSEC; four at the General and BasicProficienciesandoneatGeneralProficiency only. The five subjects were English Language, Geography,Caribbean History and Mathematics at General and Basic, and Integrated Science as a pilot at General only.Fifty-eight thousand,seven hundred and eight (58708) subject entries were received. The breakdown by subject was: • English Basic................................ 14747 • English General........................... 12056 • Geography Basic............................ 4866 • Geography General....................... 5409 • History Basic................................... 942 • History General............................. 1571 • Mathematics Basic...................... 12844 • Mathematics General.................... 5822 • Integrated Science........................... 451 Thirteen of the then 14 Participating Territories submitted entries for those examinations. The registration process was far from smooth. “A number of entries were submitted long after the closing date for registration,” wrote then CXC Registrar Wilfred Beckles in his Report to Council. “The reasons for the late entries were understandable, but the dislocation in the schedules inevitably increased pressure on the Registry to complete each phase on time and affected the entire process.” There was good news with respect to the shipping and clearance of the scripts at the various ports of entries. This was as a result of discussions the Council held with airlines, customs and airport authorities in the Participating Territories. Beckles reported, “CXC materials were handled with expedition and the Registry was able to ship materials to Local Registrars in good time for the administration and to have the scripts returned to Headquarters and the Western Zone Office for the marking exercise to begin on schedule…” ThemarkingwasconductedinBarbadosand Jamaica,the two territories in which the Council has offices. English and Integrated Science were markedinJamaicaandMathematics,Historyand Geography were marked in Barbados. Some three hundred and thirty-seven (337) markers participated in the exercise. They were selected from all the Participating Territories and marked for a two-week period starting on July 16. However, a lot of preparations went into getting the process to that stage. Members of CXC staff went on study visits to examinations boards in Scotland and England. Then Assistant Registrar, later Senior Assistant Registrar for Examinations Administration, Baldwin Hercules, benefited from such visits. “I was privileged to go to the majorexaminationboardsintheUK,Cambridge, LondonandtheJointMatriculationBoard(JMB) in Manchester to observe the practises,” he said. “In fact, that certainly helped me to perform the duties in the Examination Division. We CSEC Mathematics markers in the early years pose outside Short Wood Teachers’ College in Jamaica. L to R: Leslie Clouden (Grenada/Barbados), Ronan Antoine (Trinidad and Tobago), Terry Bodkin (Dominica), unidentified, Judith DeFour (Trinidad and Tobago), Cynthia Anderson (Jamaica), and Clement Derrell (Guyana/Barbados)
  3. 3. The Caribbean Examiner 6 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Celebrating30Yearsof CSEC borrowed a lot of their best practices,” Hercules pointed out. Elma Licorish, one of the Council’s first employees also recalled visiting examination boards in Scotland and England, including Cambridge. “Cambridge provided assistance to ensure that the standard of the examinations the Council was offering was maintained,” she stated. In addition to the study visits, training was a significant aspect of the Council’s work prior to the 1979 examinations. “We had a lot of training courses in Guyana, TrinidadandBarbados,”shesaid. “Peopleapplied to be markers and we trained them.”Additionally, consultants from overseas examination boards visited CXC to train staff and resource persons. “Those were very exciting times,” quipped Mr Hercules. “We were determined to make it happen because there were a lot of people on the outside who doubted that we could do it and they were very sceptical.” Scepticism aside, the team at CXC pressed and delivered the first examinations. The marking exercise was not as smooth as the examination administration. “I remember we did the first marking at Windsor Hotel (Barbados) and I was in charge of Maths Basic,”Bernadine Parris recalled. “The first morning we went there like pigeons without heads,” Mrs Parris joked. It took them some time before they figured out the routing of the scripts and this caused a back up of scripts she recalled. “We were told to route these scripts to these tables, you would know to yourself that you had to get a finished folder or get the scripts marked fast, so you had to design a pattern for routing, and we got it done.” Ms Licorish said they underestimated the number of people needed to complete the operation. “At first they had been marking at Windsor Hotel and they had envisaged having a couple people up there grading these mark sheets but it didn’t work… “It was a Sunday morning when we had to gather everybody who could see and hold a pencil to come and set up this operation and then they were shipped to Examination Testing Service (ETS) in New Jersey, USA. For Ms Licorish,the ETS story is one she will not forget! The Council had not yet established an examination processing system and an arrangement was made with ETS to process the results for CXC. She was charged with going to ETS and bringing back the results.When ETS was finished the processing of the results Ms Licorish had 29 boxes to contend with. “Twenty-nine boxes of it!” she exclaimed. “The plane had been delayed and I got a lot of hassle from BWIA staff at JFK Airport about why I was carrying so many boxes,”she said as she recounted the experience. She explained to the staff that the boxes contained CXC examination results, but nobody knew of CXC at that time. However, Ms Licorish and the boxes were eventually allowed on the flight. But the greatest drama with the results was yet to come. “The way ETS had packed the results, they were all jumbled up,” she stated with a sigh. “I have vivid memories of people like Prunella King (former staff member) sitting down on the floor in the vault at 2:00 am trying to sort out these things,” she continued. The cause of the mix up? Think 1979, 30 years ago; there were no faxes, no e-mail and certainly no Internet facilities,far less cell phones. In those days cables were used to communicate changes to ETS. As it turned out, the final set of changes which CXC sent never reached ETS. “I had to check every one of them manually,” Ms Licorish said. And if you thought no fax and e-mail sound stone-age,there were no computers either, only typewriters and Gestetiner machines. The provisional certificates had to be typewritten and that task also fell on Ms Licorish. With a good laugh, she also remembered that the date was left off the certificates and a rubber stamp was used to put it on. “It is amazing now to see that everything is computerised,” remarked Mrs Parris. “You can just press buttons and get things out, but I remember the days when I use to do the examiners’tickets with my hand.I use to write all those names (markers) for tickets by hand.” E-tickets were light years away. “The students who took those first examinations in 1979 are the managers of companies today, your doctors, principals of schools, Ministers of Government, lecturers at universities, lawyers, leaders of nations and are making their mark not just in the region, but around the world.” Archaic technological aside, “we came through; the results were late, but they came out nevertheless,”Mr Hercules said.The results were issued on September 15th that year, one week behind the scheduled date.These days results are issued a month ahead of this 1979 date. The students who took those first examinations in 1979 are the managers of companies today, your doctors, principals of schools, Ministers of Government, lecturers at universities, lawyers, leaders of nations and are making their mark not just in the region, but around the world. Honouring the Class of‘79 To celebrate the milestone CXC will be honouring the CXC Class of ’79 in July this year during the marking exercise. The Class of ’79 includes all the staff who worked at the Council in 1979 to make the first examination administration a success; the members of the five Subject Panels; members of the five Examining Committees; members of the Final Awards Committee and markers who marked then and are still marking in 2009.Two awards ceremonies will be hosted; one in Barbados on July 10th and the other in Jamaica on July 15th . CXC will also be featuring the 30 in 30 years- a look at 30 persons from across the region who, through their contribution to CXC has significantly influenced the development of CSEC in its 30-year history.These persons will be profiled in CXC’s Caribbean Examiner magazine and on www.cxc.org throughout the year. Ministries of education will also be publishing a newspaper supplement in June to commemorate the historic milestone. Moving Forward Over the last 30 years,CSEC has seen major improvements and increases in all aspects of the examination.Candidate entries have grown from just over 30,000 candidates in 1979 to almost 150,000 now; subjects entries increased from 58,000 in 1979 to over half a million today. From offering only five subjects in 1979, CXC now offers 33 CSEC subjects. Critical to any examination board is the acceptance of CSEC by universities in the region and abroad. Caribbean students get into universities with their CSEC qualifications and many schools do not require them to take SAT or any other entrance test,except for scholarship or advanced placement purposes. The Council’s new Strategic Visions calls for the review of all its examinations and “ the recognition of the utility of CXC examinations in relation to knowledge and competence certification as well as applicability to the world of work.”
  4. 4. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 7 At two sittings of large scale examinations in 2008, the Caribbean Examinations Council offered a totalof 102examinationsacrossthreelevels:CAPE,CSECandCCSLC.Theseexaminations comprisedatotalof178writtenpapers(i.e.excludingmultiple-choice,practicalandoralpapers) whichgenerated662,000subject-entriesandapproximately1,300,000 scripts.Thesescriptsweremanuallymarkedby4,800teachersfromthe16Participating Territories:Anguilla;AntiguaandBarbuda;Barbados;Belize;BritishVirginIslands;CaymanIslands; Commonwealth of Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; Montserrat; St Kitts and Nevis; St.Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; and two External Territories,SabaandSt.Maarten.Approximately94%ofthe1,300,000scripts from the two 2008 sittings were marked over a fiveweek period in June/July and necessitated the transporting and accommodating of 2,100teachers to a total of eight marking centres acrossfourterritories:Barbados,Jamaica,TrinidadandTobagoandGuyana. Didyou knowC X C E xaminations S tatistics
  5. 5. The Caribbean Examiner 8 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org 1979 CSEC Experience TheRegistrar’sPerspective By Wilfred Beckles I am grateful to CXC for the invitation to join in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and am happy to respond. In what follows I have tried to be faithful to the remit of recounting “the 1979 experience from the Registrar’s perspective” including fact and anecdote. I must thank the CXC Records and Human Resources staff for material which helped to confirm some of my recollections. Some former colleagues, to whom I am also grateful, gave me the benefit of their recollections and allowed me to check mine against theirs. The success of CXC’s first examinations was, to many across the region, a welcome surprise. To the staff of CXC, whom I had the privilege of leading at the time, it was no surprise. Taken in perspective 1979,was,after all,the culmination of several years of activity under the policy-making guidanceof theCXCCouncilanditsCommittees, and the distinguished Chairmanship,firstly of Sir Roy Marshall, Vice Chancellor of the University of theWest Indies (UWI),and then of Dr Dennis Irvine, Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana. Four of the five years since the start of full operations in 1974 had been spent in active preparation. The final year was therefore one of reviewing progress, assessing deficiencies and weaknesses and of putting in place what would be necessary to clear the final hurdle. CXC had recruited a core of competent full-time staff under Major Rudolph Daniel, its first Registrar based at Headquarters (HQ) in Barbados, Mrs Irene Walter, Pro Registrar based at the Western Zone Office (WZO) in Jamaica, and for a few short months early in 1978, Mr J Urqhart who served as interim Consultant Registrar until I assumed duties in June, 1978 with Dr Irvine as Chairman. THE 1979 EXPERIENCE Mr Wilfred Beckles in earlier times
  6. 6. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 9 Soon after the start of operations,CXC took two crucial steps by: 1) forging links with a number of well established examining bodies in the United Kingdom (UK), notably the Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate, the University of London Schools Examination Board and the Joint Matriculation Board (JMB), and with Educational Testing Services (ETS) of Princeton, New Jersey in the United States of America ( USA) to provide training for staff, 2) entering into partnership with funding agencies such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC) to secure much needed developmental assistance,and to obtain the services of a number of consultants with technical expertise in assessment, who would work along with CXC’s less experienced staff. CXC thereafter laid the groundwork towards the first five subjects to be written in 1979. In a series of careful steps the Council proceeded to: 1.) appoint Subject Panels which, after extensive deliberation and interaction with a School Examinations Committee, prepared and issued syllabuses and specimen question papers; 2.) appoint Examining Committees of experienced academics and senior teachers who were not involved in the school system to prepare question papers and mark schemes; 3.) mount item-writing workshops for teachers across the region to prepare draft items (multiple choice) and essay questions which were then pretested in the schools; 4.) train, with the help of Chief Examiners from the Cambridge Syndicate,a sufficient cadre of markers. That training involved marking “live”GCE O’Level scripts written by Caribbean students in the fifth form – CXC’s target age group; 5.) secure the services of Caribbean and British Moderators to vet its question papers the Caribbean to ensure the relevance of the questions to the region, the British to ensure the quality of the examining processes and comparability with similar examinations at age 16 plus; contract with ETS to supply services in areas in which the Council was deficient until it made its own arrangements – i.e., question paper printing, statistical and data processing services. These would be specific to the 1979 examinations while the Council prepared for its own future capability. Inmid-1977,theCouncilalsocommissioned, from an experienced official of the Scottish Certificate of Education Examination Board, an external assessment of its work,of progress made on the groundwork referred to above, and of the steps remaining for its first examinations. The report of that assessment expressed satisfaction with the procedures established and progress made. It concluded with cautious optimism that with some additional work and attention to certain areas, CXC could look forward with a measure of confidence, to successful examinations in 1979. At my interview for the post of Registrar, I had expressed concern that little was known about CXC across the region. That concern was obviously present among CXC stakeholders and clients in early 1978. When the likely candidate entry for 1979 was considered, it emerged that only about 60 percent of the candidates in the region who would normally have entered for O’ Levels had registered to write CXC’s examinations. The Council’s first offerings were likely to be optional in most contributing territories and might not be offered by two of them. Clearly, there was a crisis of confidence in the examination across the region. That external lack of confidence in the CXC product was not reflected internally by the CXC staff nor did they doubt their ability to deliver the examinations. That was my impression when I took up office. Major Daniel’s contract had ended in December,1977 and the Council’s 1977 Consultant had returned as Consultant Registrar for a part of the period between Major Daniel’s tenure and mine. The Consultant, on his earlier visit, had found staff morale to be ‘surprisingly good considering the difficulties under which they worked.’ – a finding which suggested to me that staff did have a problem of confidence, but of a different kind from that which prevailed externally. CXC’s first order of business when I assumed duties was therefore one of building confidence both externally and internally. The Council abandoned its earlier idea of a costly public relations campaign by a professional firm. CXC now began an intensive public relations effort to promote its product externally. This included information targeted to educators in the region, to encourage them to embrace new ideas in assessment. For the first time, CXC explained and discussed publicly and in detail, concepts such as: criterion-referencing instead of norm-referencing, utilising profiles to indicate student strengths and weaknesses, School Based Assessment, Basic as distinct from General Proficiency and finally table,rather than individual marking. The homegrown CXC public relations campaign included wide dissemination of a Fact Sheet aimed at prospective users and holders of the CSEC and the general public, as well as regular publication of information bulletins to governments and the media. Two teams of Committee members undertook promotional visits to territories where there had been little publicity previously. Members of National Committees, the Chairman, Registrar, Pro Registrar and staff of both Headquarters and “AtmyinterviewforthepostofRegistrar,Ihadexpressed concern that little was known about CXC across the region. That concern was obviously present among CXC stakeholders and clients in early 1978.” TheRegistrar’sPerspective
  7. 7. The Caribbean Examiner 10 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Western Zone Office engaged in radio and television presentations and discussions. In one major territory a specially designed Publicity Committee worked with the Government Information Services in a CXC promotion campaign. One example of the impact of this PR campaign was the comment by a Barbadian resident on the effort by Headquarters staff that “CXC seemed to want to be famous in a few short months.” CXC also acquired its distinctive logo in 1978. It had been developed by a Barbadian firm which had intended to bid for CXC’s PR campaign. An approach to the firm suggested a measure of frustration with CXC and a willingness to part with the logo if the Council was indeed financially unable to meet the cost of a professional campaign. After some candid discussion about the Council’s finances, brief negotiations, and an exchange of letters, the head of the firm decided to release the logo and copyright to the Council for a token “piece of silver”, that is, one Barbados silver dollar. I am convinced that in the end it was his sympathy rather than his frustration with CXC which influenced the head of the firm to make the final, generous decision in CXC’s favour. Internally, we concentrated on providing additional resources and reviewing what needed to be done towards success in 1979. We also took steps to win the confidence of Council and its Committeesbyalevelof servicethatcommanded attention, by thoroughness in preparation and presentation, and by punctiliousness in following up and reporting on decisions. It was accepted that even if we made mistakes we were responsible for managing the organization and were therefore accountable. Four recollections have stayed with me: 1.) a remark by Dr Irvine that we seemed to know precisely what to bring to the Council and its Committees and when; 2.) the comment of a CFTC visitor on the thoroughness, conviction and passion of a presentation by the Pro Registrar; 3.) a heated discussion on an issue and a committee member’s interjection to the effect that ‘if we substitute our opinions for theirs we can not hold them accountable when things go wrong;’ 4.) a staff meeting in late 1978 and an assessment by our newest recruit that “there are many who think CXC is going to fail but we will prove them wrong”. A review of our resources towards 1979 found favour with Council which agreed to add a substantial number of staff. CXC’s establishment was increased by 17 in one year – seven senior and eight supporting staff at HQ and two senior staff at WZO. The matter of adequate space for the marking also had to be addressed. In both instances, considerations of time rather than CXC’slongtermneedsinfluencedthedecision.At HQ,refurbishment of BlockA,The Garrison,was preferred to relocating elsewhere and steps were taken to ensure that a first phase of refurbishment was completed by the host government by December and the second phase by April1979. The relocation of WZO from West Kingston to the Jamaica Teachers Association building in Church Street of downtown Kingston, subject to some minor refurbishing and partitioning, was accepted in the circumstances, but was less than ideal. In both instances the decisions were expedient and reflected CXC’s continuing need for custom-built accommodation at both HQ and WZO. By October, 1978, the Report to Council and the School Examinations Committee for the period November, 1977, to September, 1978, reinforced “the optimism expressed in the last two reports by the Registrar that CXC will conduct examinations of which we can be reasonably proud.” Eventually there were signs that the external crisis of confidence was lessening and a compromise decision could be reached on the matter of candidate entries. I would like to believe that when that decision was made, it too was influenced both by the diplomatic skills of our Chairman and the policy makers’ growing confidence in CXC, but I am unable to recall the exact timing of the decision. While one major territory provided its full candidate population, another decided that its students would be prepared for and would register to write both the Cambridge O’ Levels and the CSEC in the five subjects offered. These decisions alone represented a minimum entry of some 23, 000 candidates. Council willingly agreed to timetable its administration so as to avoid clashes with the overseas Boards in the CXC subjects and was thus assured of a significant population for 1979. Long before it became a buzzword, ‘multi- tasking’ was part of CXC’s stock in trade. While the focus in late 1978 and early 1979 was on the coming examinations, the normal work of the Council in syllabus development, item production, pretesting, paper setting and marker training for subsequent administrations continued. In addition, two key activities for 1980 were in train. The first was the development THE 1979 EXPERIENCE CXC Headquarters in earlier times
  8. 8. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 11 colleague,resident in Guyana,that CXC appeared to have placed the overseas Moderators in more commodious accommodation than its own Examiners! I noted that in future we should not only be, but be seen to be, evenhanded. Marking centres usually operate on three principles: 1.) that no matter how apparently good and careful the planning, there will be times when Murphy’s Law will prevail and solutions will have to be found, 2.) that every problem is simply a solution in search of a finder and 3.) that at marking, the organization is virtually turned on its head and all available resources and bodies, from the Chairman to the most junior staff member, are pressed into service. All three principles applied to both CXC centres in 1979 and we had the benefit of both Chairman and Pro Registrar at the Headquarters Centre, the latter when the marking at the Western Zone centre had been completed. The presence of the Chairman proved to be invaluable since he helped to clarify a policy decision which in turn resolved a major difficulty encountered in one subject. At Headquarters we experienced a full range of teething problems and I have no doubt that the Western Zone Office centre did the same. There were modifications to previously agreed schedules. This had started with an earlier decision to accept a number of late registrations. In that case, a joint effort by Local Registrars, CXC and ETS to deal with the amendments of CXC’s own data processing system,acquisition of software and training of staff in the use of scanning equipment towards the 1980 examinations. The second key activity was highly developmental and related to building the confidence of schools, teachers and potential markers in CXC’s offerings. Beginning in 1978, CXC, in consultation with Pro Vice Chancellor Rudolph Goodridge at the UWI Cave Hill, assisted in drafting a major regional project in Primary and Secondary Education for submission to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The CXC subproject was the Secondary component and focused on supporting CXC syllabuses and training teachers to make better use of them. The subproject was essentially in the area of curriculum development: That is not normally the business of an Examinations Board, but the Council recognized the likely benefit to CXC and gave its blessing to the effort. The result was a four-year project which was funded by USAID in the amount of US$2.6 million and which proved its worth to the region in both curriculum and materials development in subsequent years. Thirteen of the 14 contributing territories eventually presented some 30,000 candidates and just under 59,000 subject entries in the five subjects (English,History,Geography,Integrated Science,and Mathematics) for the 1979 marking. For reasons of security and confidentiality Council decided to implement a “residential marking system”and to establish marking centres in hotel accommodation at both Headquarters and Western Zone. Two subjects (English and Integrated Science) were marked in Jamaica,and three (History, Geography, and Mathematics) were marked in Barbados. One experienced staff member from the Examinations Administration Division at HQ was assigned to the WZO for the durationof themarking. Themarkingitself lasted for two weeks beginning on 16th July. It was a sustained effort by the CXC resource persons made up of Examining Committees appointed since 1977,markers drawn mainly from the cadre trained between 1975 and 1978, and British Moderators who were chief or senior Examiners from British Boards. These Moderators had been invited to attend the marking so as to assist the Council’s Examining Committees in setting and maintaining standards deemed comparable to GCE O’ Level standards. To deal with the sheer volume of material, CXC recruited a number of clerical assistants (called “aides” in 1979) to assist the full-time staff. A 1978 marker training and pretesting exercise had identified three persons at HQ and two atWZO to serve as chief aides. These helped to supervise the new recruits who had been selected on the basis of recommendations from senior staff who could attest to their reliability and confidentiality. The 1978 exercise had also served as a simulation for the “live” 1979 examinations and had taught us a number of valuable lessons. It had revealed delays in both postal and air communications, so regional cooperation was sought from airlines, customs and airport authorities and the scripts and other materials from the various territories reached HQ and WZO offices in good time for the marking to begin on schedule. Marker accommodation arrangements in 1978 had also proved to be unsatisfactory and had caused dissatisfaction. Council therefore decided to accept the cost implications and to house all 1979 resource persons in individual hotel accommodation. CXC made no attempt, as it did in succeeding years, to encourage resource persons to share accommodation. In Barbados, sequestered hotel marking maintained security of the examinations but did not isolate us from public curiosity. It did not prevent some resource persons from feeding back information to friends outside on our accommodation arrangements. I experienced the speed of the regional grapevine and the power of perception when I was told by a former TheRegistrar’sPerspective Reflections - L to R: Professor George Maxwell Richards, a former UWI Representative on Council, Honourable Erskine Sandiford, a former Minister of Education in Barbados, listen to the late Dr Dennis Irvine, then CXC Chairman
  9. 9. The Caribbean Examiner 12 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org solved the difficulty, but time had still been lost. There were problems with equipment; provisions for space proved inadequate and had to be adjusted; operations apparently well- planned for the Marking Centre (e.g.,completion or “gridding” of the OMR sheets) had to be shifted to the Headquarters Office; bottlenecks in the flow of information developed and had to be unclogged. One of them developed into a situation that was serious enough to require me to cut what was in danger of becoming a Gordian knot.There were the usual mopping up exercises requiring extra effort, but all concerned at both centres worked long and unsociable hours to complete their tasks. Scores from the marked question papers werecapturedusingOpticalMarkReader(OMR) or scanner technology. ETS had been contracted to read the OMR sheets completed by clerical staff; to collate the candidates’ marks; feedback statistical information and to provide grades in keeping with grade boundaries approved by the Council’s awarding committees in was kept in subsequent years and has been improved upon each year. One former staff member has already recounted in an earlier issue of the Caribbean Examiner, her role in accompanying the final examination results which had been processed by ETS. They came from Princeton to Barbados by air in some 29 boxes and she had to sort them all over again on her arrival. She also recalled the famous CXC decision to resort to a rubber date stamp for the 1979 Certificates since the printed Certificates had no date. That stamp alone must have rendered each 1979 certificate a priceless collector’s item! The 1979 results were first issued to candidates by way of preliminary results slips. Despite the rubber stamp, we had spent some time on the design of the Certificate but omitted to do the same for the results slip. The slips produced by ETS were small in size and a far cry from the present-day slips which contain many features of the Certificate. The inadequacy was soonpickedupbyoneinfluentialschoolprincipal 2.) Dr Dennis Irvine, of blessed memory, for his superb expertise and skills and his stature in regional and international education circles which he put to CXC’s use while serving as Chairman. 3.) the academics, administrators, educators and government representatives, appointed or co- opted, who believed that the time had come for the region to take charge of its own examinations and who ably gave of their knowledge, experience and guidance on the Council and its Committees. 4.) the CXC full-time and part-time clerical staff, the CXC consultants and all those resource persons who, whether as Subject Panellists, Examiners, Moderators, Workshop Participants, Item Writers, Markers, National Committee members or Local Registrars, took pride in being associated with CXC’s early development and operations and worked unstintingly to ensure the delivery of valid, reliable and secure examinations and results. 5.) The UK Examinations Boards which helped to train CXC staff and Markers and organizations and international donor agencies THE 1979 EXPERIENCE Mr Wilfred Beckles was the Registrar of CXC when the first CSEC examinations were administered in 1979. “...that no matter how apparently good and careful the planning, there will be times when Murphy’s Law will prevail and solutions will have to be found.” consultation with the British Moderators. The flow of this information between CXC and ETS was maintained in several ways. The initially completed OMR sheets were collected by the ETS representative from the marking centre in Barbados and added to those collected in Jamaica on his way back to ETS. CXC had also acquired its own set of scanners from National Computer Systems (NCS) of the USA and appointed and trained staff in their use toward self-sufficiency in 1980 and beyond. These too were pressed into service to supplement the ETS effort. Inevitably, after quality control checks had been made,additions or amendments were necessary. Transfer of these was done where possible by cable or telex. In at least one instance, it was necessary for a Headquarters staff member to carry by hand materials and data from the CXC scanners to ETS in the United States. Teething problems and delays in the data processing schedules between CXC and ETS resulted in the results being issued late,one week behind the planned schedule,on 15th September, 1979. That too was noted for remedial action and a promise was made to issue results in future by the end of August each year – a promise which who wrote to the Chairman, with a copy to the Registrar, rightly complaining that the quality of the results slips was below CXC’s standard. It therefore fell to me as Registrar to recognize the compliment underlying that reproach, i.e., that CXC had set high standards and was expected to live up to them in all respects. I replied, with a copy to the Chairman, that we had indeed erred but would do better in future. CXC has clearly been doing better from year to year: I must congratulate the Council and all the staff since the first marking for improving on the 1979 standard over the years. I am grateful to Registrar, Dr Jules and his staff for allowing me this opportunity to say thanks publicly once again to all staff who were involved in the inaugural effort. The Council itself owes a considerable debt of gratitude to a number of persons and organizations to whose service the successful launch of the 1979 examinations should be attributed: 1.) Sir Roy Marshall and the CARICOM Secretariat for their sterling work in getting the Council established and for the preparatory work leading up to 1974. such as CFTC, CIDA, ETS, and USAID who supplied the funding and the resource persons in assessment and data processing to assist and supplement CXC’s own technically trained manpower. 6.) the contributing governments who supplied the finances, made the initial regional commitment to the examinations and provided support through their officials in a variety of ways, thereby providing the Council with the opportunity to demonstrate to all the world that it was capable of developing and administering new and innovative examinations. On a final,personal note,my own gratitude must go to my former colleagues at CXC and to one former colleague and mentor at UWI, Mr Rudolph Goodridge, also of blessed memory. He persuaded me to consider a stint at CXC that became much more – but that is another experience and another story which falls outside my remit.
  10. 10. ARTICLE TO STRETCH TO FILL THIS SPACE
  11. 11. The Caribbean Examiner 14 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org THE 1979 EXPERIENCE THE CLASS OF 1979 PRE-TESTED! TESTED! PROVEN! By Astrid Waterman When I walked up the steps of the Caribbean Examinations Council on that first day of November 1977, I knew what I was going to do.I knew how it was going to be. After all, I had taken the decision that after spending over ten years in a position where I had responsibility and accountability for a work unit comprising ten persons in an office,an additional twelve in the field onsomedays,andwhich interfacedwithsomeother eleven persons working both in office and the field, all of whom were involved in a project with very tight to almost impossible deadlines, that I would now be taking on a job where I would just be one of the operatives; responsible for my own output only. Here at CXC I would prepare camera-ready copy for publications as directed by my supervisor. This task would have specific guidelines and procedures which I would follow. But, didn’t I get the shock of my life! It didn’t take me long to come to grips with the stark fact that the organization was on a mission.There was a task to be accomplished. It had to be accomplished. There could and would be no missing of that deadline of the administration of examinations in five subjects in 1979, and everyone concerned seemed committed to achieving that goal, despite the personal sacrifices that had to be made; and there were many. Wow! What was I to do? Well I knew that too. I had to get on board. After all, working to tight schedules and impossible deadlines was not new to me; and on hindsight I should have realized from the time I was interviewed for a position at CXC: a post which was advertised to be filled at either the Junior Assistant or Assistant Registrar level. During the interview, I had indicated that I was interested in the Junior level, and had been bold and I suppose brazen enough when asked to give my reason for wanting to leave what was a senior post in the government service, to respond that the major attraction was the salary level and less responsibility. With this response, I was sure that I had blown it, so one can imagine my surprise when in less than five hours after the interview, I received a telephone call offering the post at the higher level. I should have known that more was expected than I had envisioned. But as I said, the atmosphere was one of commitment and determination. One that said, we are going to get it done. We will do it for the Caribbean. So, I definitely was not going to be the odd man out. I caught the 1979 blast-off fever. My first three days were spent rather quietly. First I had to provide some personal data and then I was given some literature about the organization to read. I had read and understood the documentation from day one, but pored over it again and again on days two and three,because no one brought me any other tasks on those days. But when day four came, I was not prepared to sit on the sidelines anymore, so, I suppose, being bold and brazen once more, I approached the then Registrar and asked why had I been taken on at that time, if there was nothing for me to do. Well,toborrowalinefromPaulKeansDouglas, ‘Who tell me to ask he dat‘? Being the man of action that he was, within a couple of hours he had made contact with Educational Testing Services (ETS) in Princeton New Jersey and arranged an attachment for me so that I could have a firsthand look at their question paper production and printing procedures and undergo some relevant training. Little did I know how valuable this experience would be, for on return I found myself thrown in at the deep end with; (i) the preparation of pretest forms for a region-wide exercise which was to be conducted in a few weeks time and (ii) the preparation of draft question papers and marking schemes for the 1979 administration: both of which were already well behind schedule. And you know those specific guidelines and procedures that I spoke about earlier? They didn’t exist.So we literally had to develop them from scratch and on the trot. Fortunately,as it is always said some good comes out of every problem. I can certainly state that we were able to develop procedures and guidelines specific to the CXC which, with tweaking and revision as became necessary when demands and technology changed, saw us through those first years and many more to follow.I recall a Past Chairman saying to me one day,“You know Mrs Waterman,you have made our Production function what we never thought it could be in the Caribbean.” But did I say Production? Between 1977 and 1978 there was no Production Unit.These functions were allocated to the Examinations Division and to all intents and purposes much thought did not appear to have been given to how differently the preparation of camera-ready copy for the examination papers was to be handled from that of the general typing functions in the organization. Consequently, to ensure that my tasks got done, I found myself taking decisions and making recommendations which really belonged in the purview of the Divisional Head. Little did I know that this was being observed andsoon,adecisionwastakentotaketheProduction function out of the Examinations Division by the establishment of a small Unit. So here was I, that person who was going to be accountable and responsible for no one’s output but her own, back with the responsibility for a work-unit, and one which would be handling the most secure and confidential documents - the examination papers. It was time to prepare those numerous pretests forms with accompanying manuals and other administrative documentation as well as draft 1979 papers,and in the case of 1979,the Multiple Choice Paper was not just one question paper.Each subject Mrs Astrid Waterman
  12. 12. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 15 and in at least one case, each proficiency had at least five test forms, because in addition to being the examination question paper, each of these MC papers contained a pre-testing section aimed at providing more MC items for the item bank. The demand was great, staffing was minimal and equipment was problematic. There was an old typewriter and a first model Selectric composer, each of these with minimal memory capacity. Another of the same composers was on order and I had to agitate swiftly and forcefully to get that upgraded to one with maximum memory storage capacity which would make it easier to handle the numerous revisions and amendments that were being done to the documents. That took some doing, with even the supplier becoming very irate and demanding to come himself to CXC to see who was this Mrs Waterman that wanted to have a machine which was not yet released for the Caribbean market. But in the end good judgment prevailed and we got it; not as expeditiously as we would have liked, but we did. Meantime, there was a task to be done and we were determined to get it done. We worked assiduously, many times well into the night. Much midnight oil was burnt, and even though we were actually packaging the final pretest forms while the staff members travelling with them were either on their way to the airport or actually boarding their flights out of Barbados, we made it. Thefinal1979examinationpaperstoowerenot without the pressure of a late start,indecision about questions and all those unexpected things which create apprehension and delay, but we managed to reach our revised deadline for the dispatch of the camera-ready copy in all five subjects. Hey,wait,did I say all five? Well I guess I could say so now, but an incident with the Integrated Science Papers comes readily to mind. This had to do with Copyright permission for use of stimulus material in question papers. Given training which I in Copyright Law as it relates to publications, which I had undergone in my previous job, I had sought to advise the Examining Committee when they submitted a question in which they were using a clip from the famous comic strip PEANUTS, that permission would have to be sought for its use, but they were adamant that since it was being used in an examinations paper, they did not have to do so. The paper was developed, produced, completed and dispatched to be printed. Then along came Mr Ian Urquhart of The Scottish Examinations Board who was brought on to act as Advisor to the Registrar for the first administration. On the first day he visited the Production Unit, one of the first questionsheaskedwaswhetherallstimulusmaterial had been cleared for Copyright use. Of course he was told about PEANUTS.He immediately advised that permission be sought. This request was sent off post-haste and the reply was received post- post-haste, as follows.‘NO! Permission will not and cannot be granted for use of anything from PEANUTS. PEANUTS carries special Copyright use restrictions. We,however,enclose for your consideration,some clips from six other cartoons which in our view are based on a similar theme to that of the PEANUTS one you submitted with your request. You are free to use any of these if you so decide but not PEANUTS.’ Well,Well,Well.At this time Elma Licorish was on her way to ETS in the US to collect and bring the question papers back.So you can guess the mad scramble to get hold of the Chief Examiner who was at this time out of the region, to have the paper revised; ETS to put a hold on the packaging of that question paper which has already been printed. O Carambo! Stress and more stress. However, more midnight oil, determination and commitment saw us through. In respect of the question papers, another incident stands out in my mind.This has to do with the impact that late registrations and last minute switches of subject and proficiency entries by candidates had on our capacity to ensure that there wereadequatenumbersof questionpapersavailable. The order quantities were based on the preliminary registration figures with what was thought to be a sufficient percentage of extras. But when the final figures were in, it was immediately recognized that there would have been a significant shortfall in both proficiencies. A quiet unannounced, internal solution was found and some additional papers and OS maps were produced. When the problem was officially realized it was possible to respond – ‘already addressed.’ There were also some hiccups when persons “There was an old typewriter and a first model Selectric composer; each of these with minimal memory capacity...I had to agitate swiftly and forcefully to get that upgraded to one with maximum memory storage capacity which would make it easier to handle the numerous revisions and amendments that were being done to the documents.” identified as couriers for confidential materials sometimes did not notify us that due to a change in schedule they could not accommodate us as agreed. This resulted in delays and necessitated re-scheduling, but despite the fact that Murphy’s Law was very evident, the examinations were duly administered in 1979 as planned. Then came the marking exercise. How did I get involved in this? We were all involved. It was a collaborative effort of all CXC personnel, region- wide. But for me it was more than just general commitment. It was a responsibility. By this time I had been promoted to the position of Senior AssistantRegistrar,ExaminationsDivision(inclusive of the Production Function). Yes, this is the same person who was looking for no responsibility other than for her own output. We were now interfacing with other divisions and external agencies on all sorts of issues including the recruitment of markers and marker aides; the movement of people and materials throughout the region; identifying and securing suitable making venues and appropriate furniture; developing and producing relevant manuals and other administrative documents; making arrangements for marker accommodation; catering and local ground transportation. Of course Murphy was present, but we showed him that where there is a will there is a way. Yes, we were Pre-tested, Tested, and almost CERTIFIED, but we were PROVEN to be up to the task. The exercise was not without its bleeps and blunders,nor was it without its very tense moments, but seldom,if ever,was there any finger-pointing or temper-flaring.Instead,the spirit of determination, goal-centredness and cooperation pervaded every action. In 1977-78 there was no Production Unit. These functions were allocated to the Examinations Division and to all intents and purposes much thought did not appear to have been given to how differently the preparation of camera-ready copy for the examination papers was to be handled from that of the general typing functions in the organization. TheClassof 1979 At a marking centre in earlier times: Mr Baldwin Hercules and Mrs Edwina Griffith
  13. 13. The Caribbean Examiner 16 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org In 1979 a group o f M a t h e m a t i c s teachers were invited by Mr Leo Owen to assist in compiling a Mathematics Syllabus for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examination in Mathematics. We made our contribution and it was presumably submitted. Subsequently, three of us from Guyana were invited to participate in a series of workshops,two of which were held in Trinidad andoneinGuyanaattheCyrilPotterCollegeof Education. There we interacted with teachers from other Caribbean territories. In Trinidad I met Irene Walter, who was the Pro Registrar and who later became the Registrar. I also met James Halliday, who was a Measurement and Evaluation Officer. There was also Cecil Caruth, from Tobago, who always insisted that Trinidadians at the workshop introduce themselves as from Trinidad and Tobago. He and I became good friends and we roomed together at subsequent marking exercises. Marking in 1979 at the Windsor Hotel in Hastings,Barbadoswastraumatic. Theactivity was new to all and the planners certainly did not anticipate the problems which were created with the marking procedures. Suffice it to say that lessons from the first marking were learnt very quickly and today relatively efficient marking procedures have evolved. In1980IleftGuyanatomarkinBarbados. My family joined me in 1981. In 1981 marking was taken to Jamaica. What a gratifying experience that was! There, I renewed acquaintances (not seen since 1962) and made new ones from all over the Caribbean. This is one of the great ‘plusses’ coming out of CXC. Someone, somewhere, recognized talent, of which I was unaware, and I was promoted from Table Leader, now known as Examiner, to be a member of the Examining Team. As an Examiner you were required to be thoroughly familiar with the Mark Schemes of the two questions being marked at your table. As Team Assistant this was extended to all fourteen questions on the paper. WOW! In addition, you select questions for standardisation,assign Examiners and Assistant Examiners to tables, assist in rewriting Mark Schemes and teach the same to the Examiners. Further,you supervise a Marking Centre not only in your home territory.The supervision requires monitoring the rates and quality of the marking and ensuring that the marking is completed within the allotted time. The Mathematics Syllabus too has evolved. I look back in awe comparing the demand from candidates then and now. Today’s question papers and marking have moved in the right direction as they seek to identify and reward all mathematical knowledge of candidates. Ilookonmyinvolvementasacontribution to the Caribbean. While the marking exercise is often very demanding since unlike an Examiner, the team member invariably has ‘homework,’ I have always been happy to participate. 30 years of involvement with CSEC Mathematics By Clement Derrell THE 1979 EXPERIENCE “In 1981 marking was taken to Jamaica. What a gratifying experience that was! There, I renewed acquaintances (not seensince1962)andmadenewonesfromallovertheCaribbean. This is one of the great ‘plusses’ coming out of CXC.” Mr Clement Derrell
  14. 14. The Caribbean Examiner 18 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Wherearetheynow? CSEC CLASS OF 1979 Debbie Gurley-Rivers St Vincent Girls’ High School In a blink of an eye 30 years have gone by! 1979 conjures up images of the eruption of La Soufriere Volcano, CXC and of course the silver lining – graduation! I am so honored to have been part of this impressive Class of 1979 and to be one of the first Girls’ High School students to have participated in the CXC examinations. Diane Spencer St Joseph’s Convent St Lucia I am one of the students from St Joseph’s Convent, St Lucia who sat CXC’s first CSEC examinations in 1979. This year was a milestone for me because there was a significant event occurring in St Lucia and I was fortunate to have been selected as a liaison aid to overseas dignitaries attending St Lucia’s Independence celebrations. Over the past 30 years I have been employed in the Civil Service as a Secretary (after leaving Morne Technical College now Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in 1981) for approximately 11 years and a further 12 years as an Administrative Secretary at St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority. As an employee, I continued to educate myself on a part-time basis in preparation for university acceptance. During 1995 to 1997, I pursued a BSc in Management Studies at UWI, Mona Campus. After a break, I embarked on attaining an MBA in Project Management with Henley Management College/University of Reading and was awarded the MBA in Project Management in January 2009. From 2004, I have been self-employed and partner with my husband in running an autobody repair business –Mauricette’s Auto Repairs Inc. I am a proud mother of two boys, ages six and 10 years. I feel honoured to be a member of the Class of ‘79. Many of us are still in contact with each other and look forward to every occasion to mingle and reminisce and we are well advanced in preparations for celebrating our 30th Anniversary. MythankstoCXC,forincludingtheClass of ‘79 in celebrating CSEC’s 30th Anniversary. I view CXC as our own examination board advancing the cause for edifying and moulding the Caribbean’s young minds. Although it has been 30 years, I can vividly remember getting the news that CXC examination was introduced in the Caribbean and I was slated to be one of the guinea pigs to write the first exams. I had conflicting  feelings about this , thinking why bother about writing exams that may never materialized,so with those thoughts in mind I remembered deciding   to do a double header to  write both examinations, CXC  and GCE  in similar  subjects just in case one phased out I will still have  a bird in the hand . It was nerve racking – La Soufriere spurting ash and lava all over our beautiful Island of St Vincent and the Grenadines  and  me, secretly wishing that the exams would be postponed as I kept procrastinating  studying  for CXC; wishful thinking. Neverthelesstheexamswereonscheduleand even with all the misgivings and apprehensions of writing CXC I managed to score a Grade I in Caribbean History, II in Geography and III in Mathematics and English. In retrospect, I wish I had taken the exam more seriously and had prepared myself more diligently, than merely just writing it as a supplement to GCE. I would have gained better grades. To all our young brilliant Caribbean students,please remember what ever mission you undertake to do, be dedicated and discipline your mind to persevere. The CXC should be very proud to have maintained such a high standard of these exams with growth and diversity. I now reside in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, working as a Senior Independent Travel Counselor with the most prestigious CanadianVirtuoso Travel company –Vision 2000Travelgroup–winnerof theAtlasTravel Agency of the year award.I have achieved the number one position with Holland America Cruise line as a LBD.  
  15. 15. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 19 sort of grade they might receive. The English Language component was challenging, and from what I recall some persons felt it was more difficult than the GCE paper. Thereafter, in 1982 I pursued A’Levels at Barbados Community College, and then completed my Honours Degree in Biology at UWI Cave Hill in 1986. I felt it was important to have a different student experience, which required that I study abroad. I had developed an interest in applied marine sciences and fisheries while at Cave Hill and considered this to be an expanding area of interest for the island. So, I applied for a Student Revolving Loan to study Fisheries Biology and Management at the University College of North Wales – Bangor, Wales UK. I also received a partial scholarship from the British Council to assist with my studies. That programme was highly enlightening and provided me with direct hands-on exposure to mariculture studies and opportunities. I returned to Barbados with keen ideas of working in the Fisheries Division as this was my main interest – especially the field of mariculture and aquaculture. IstartedtoworkattheCoastalConservation Project Unit in 1989 as the Marine Biologist, and truly found my niche. I was fortunate to experiencetheexpansionanddevelopmentof the Unit over the years. In 1996, I was promoted to the post of Deputy Director and also took on the challenge to be the Project Manager for the Coastal Conservation Programme Phase 1 Study of the East Coast. This project resulted in the development of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for the island. I have been able to see the office develop into the Coastal Zone Management Unit in 1996, as well as the passage of the Coastal Zone Management Act in 1999. In 2000, I received a National Development Scholarship to pursue Doctoral Studies in Coastal Zone Management at Cardiff University in Wales, UK. That has been one of the greatest educational experiences of my professional career.I was able to complete my research and return to work in 2003, and graduated in 2005. I have been the Director of the Unit since 2004 and am glad to know that Barbados has a coast to be proud of! I wish to commend the Caribbean Examinations Council on its anniversary and its continued success especially as it branches out into different CXC and CAPE courses as well as CVQ courses. Madgerie Jameson St Joseph’s Convent St Lucia I graduated from the St. Joseph’s Convent in July 1979. I was one of the first students to write CSEC General English examination in 1979. It was a different experience for me because wepreparedforCambridgeEnglishexaminations as well as CXC English. The two examinations were different so we had to approach the subjects differently. I remember the examination was a difficult one because we had to change the ‘normal’way of doing things to cater for the‘the new exams’. We were not very receptive students because we thought that it was extra work. CXC has evolved over the 30 years and the standard of the examination is reputable. After my secondary educaton I became a trained Mathematics and Science Teacher. I worked as a primary school teacher for 14 years and a secondary teacher for eight years. I pursued a BSc in Psychology at the Univerisity of the West Indies, St. Augusitne. I was among the first students who graduated with a BSc in Psychology from the University of the West Indies.I was also among the first graduates of the Masters of Education offered by the University of Sheffield Caribbean programme in St. Lucia. Currently,I am on a Commonwealth Scholarship at the University of Otago, New Zealand. I have recently completed a PhD in Educational Dr Leo Brewster Harrison College – Barbados It was some 30 years ago, as a student at Harrison College, that I sat the Caribbean Examinations Council’s examinations as part of the first cohort of students across the island taking GEC O’ levels and CXC examinations. At that time, I remember it being a rather daunting and unnerving experience –as we were the first! The three subjects I sat at that time were History, English Language and Maths. I had a keen interest in Caribbean History and found that subject totally enjoyable.Maths had never been a favourite of mine so that proved a bit challenging, especially as there were no past papers to practice on.As a result, the class spent a lot of time going through the traditional GCE O’ Level papers for practice. I do remember that the paper was like granite! Even those class mates, who were very maths competent,left the exam questioning what Psychology. I submitted my thesis and am awaiting the result. The focus of my PhD is learning and instruction in higher education. My research interests are assessment for learning in higher education, high-stakes testing, lifelong learning, the first year univerisity experience,and transition issues in higher education. During my stay at the University of Otago, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the Educational Assessment Research Unit (EARU). My tenure at the unit was valuable as I gained a working knowledge of assessmentproceduresundertheguidance of Professors Terry Crooks and Jeffrey Smith. I returned to St Lucia at the end of April 2009. I intend to use the experiences I gained to help enhance learning and instruction in the region.
  16. 16. The Caribbean Examiner 20 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979 Portia Compton-James St Joseph’s Convent St Lucia 1979 and the CXC exams, a year I will never forget for many reasons. The final year of high school; the transitional year from childhood to womanhood; leaving the hallowed walls of our learning and sheltered institution;a time for decision making,do we go straight to work? Do we continue along our academic paths to higher learning? Do we remain in St Lucia or migrate overseas? Regardless of our dilemmas, the CXC exams were a jump-start for all that we hoped to achieve.  On receiving the news that we the students of Form five, graduating May 1979, would be the pilots for a new exam, there were mixed feelings. Some of us were upset that there would be yet another set of Cecile McKie St Vincent Grammar School Lifeisbutacontinuumof opportunities and challenges; it is our ability to turn the challenges into opportunities that will determine the degree of success/ accomplishment of each individual. If one is to use this simple premise in one’s approach to life and living, then life may not turn out to be the complicated process that we sometimes make it. The opportunity to have followed the CSEC Curriculum and sit the inaugural examinations in 1979 provided me with the exams; the over-zealous test takers were excited to get the opportunity to showoff the fruits of their obsessive labour; others hoped that these exams would be easier than the traditional GCE; yet others like myself thought this was a revolutionary move for the Caribbean to have its own exams. It was a very exciting time, something new and we saw in this the start of great possibilities for Caribbean students to reach higher levels within our own arenas. However, one of my concerns at the time was whether or not these exams would be recognized overseas, in the UK or in the United States. Would I need to be tested all over again if I decided to pursue my schooling outside of St Lucia? This brought about minor fears; can we really stand on our own? Therefore, I was especially happy to have the best of both worlds; a bigger part of the old and a little of the new, something to fall back on and something to look forward to in the future.  I believed at that time, like any normal teenager, that the CXC was just an exam, a test to study for, pass and move on. It produced additional stress, as the objective in proficiency was vital and a lot depended on our ability to cope.The CXC exams focused on core knowledge content and skills that would assist in diagnosing these tests to determine which features needed be further developed and modified. It is quite evident that the CXC exams have remained on the path towards success on standardized exams and our students have nothing to worry about when it comes to excelling.   CXC exams were motivational and helped shape my development. I am extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to set the stage, for the pioneering of a Caribbean exam, truly reinforcement of our abilities and capabilities as a Caribbean people. platform of choice and the wisdom of analysis to choose this simple premise to accomplish and to be success oriented. This platform allowed me to enter the field of Banking, a sojourn which occupied my time and energies from 4 June, 1980 to 31March, 2000 with the National Commercial Bank (SVG) Limited. During that period, I was able to progress through the ranks from a Teller to a Loan Officer, to Branch Manager for the Grenadines (Bequia,Union Island and Canouan) and finally to Manager of the Halifax Street Branch, Kingstown. This sojourn then allowed me to make the transfer from a Banking career to a Management position in the insurance field. This was effected on 17 April, 2000 when I joined the team at the St. Hill Insurance Company Limited, which I have managed from that time to present (March 2009), currently holding the position of Managing Director. Both attachments allowed me the opportunity for training in the particular fields (Banking and Insurance) and in the important area of Management. These included local and regional training programmes and certification seminars. This extended to the Diploma Programme in Management at the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity (BIMAP) in Barbados, the Association of Insurance Institute of the Caribbean (AIIC) Programme in Principles of Insurance and Legal Aspects of Insurance and exposure to the workings of the Re-insurance Markets in London (particularly Lloyds). I was called to do community and humanitarian work even prior to leaving school; this in preference to advancing my obvious outstanding skill in track and field, football and cricket. My Curriculum Vitae in this field includes: President of the Arnos Vale Educational Sports and Cultural Organisation (AVESCO), Vice President of both the SVG Athletics Association and SVG Football Federation, Chairman of the West St. George Area Council, Chairman of the National Sports Council, Member of various other national boards and President of the Rotary Club of Bequia as well as Rotary Club of St Vincent South. I am also the sitting President of the Insurance Association of St Vincent and the Grenadines (2nd year). Combined, these experiences in the world of work and in service have allowed me to be a rounded individual with a positive attitude and approach to all endeavours and a deep will to achieve and advance whatever the cause. Being a part of the ‘Class of ’79’ would, no doubt, have prepared me for this life of service. THANKS CSEC/CXC.
  17. 17. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 21 Dr Camille Nicholls St Vincent Girls’ High School The Girls’ High School Class of 1979 wrote both the GCE examination and the inauguralCXCexaminationssimultaneously. This was done at a time when the entire Ormond Williams St Vincent Grammar School Ormond Williams was one of the first batch of students attending the St Vincent Grammar School to sit the CXC CSEC examinations in 1979. Following his success at these exams, he went on to pursue his A’Level studies at his Alma Mater. In June 1981 he joined the staff country was thrown into a state of uncertainty and near panic as the La Soufriere Volcano sprang into life. Mock exams were written with volcanic ash falling on the papers even as students attempted to satisfy the examiners. During this period, the Girl Guides were required to be on duty at various centers to assist evacuees from Sandy Bay (a community in the north of the island) and surrounding areas. With cauliflower clouds of ash overhead,and balls of fire traversing the skies,we still continued with our preparation for exams. The fact that so many students of the class of 1979 were successful in both examinations despite trying conditions remains a testament to the sound basic education offered at the Girls’ High School 30 years ago. Dr Nicholls wrote A’Levels at the StVincent Grammar School. After A’Levels, she spent one year at the University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus in the Faculty of Natural Sciences. In 1984 she proceeded to St Georges University School of Medicine and graduated in 1989. Upon graduation, Dr. Nicholls returned to St Vincent and the Grenadines and served her five-year bond. During that time she completed her internship programme and worked as a District Medical Officer in Chateaubelair and Bequia. In 1996, she left for the United Kingdom to pursue post graduate studies in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Dr. Nicholls was successful in her examsin1998andbecameaMemberof theRoyal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG). She again returned home in 2000. In 2007 she was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FACOG). Today, Dr. Nicholls serves as a Consultant Obstetrician/Gynecologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital – a post she accepted in 2001 – and has a successful private practice at theVictoria Medical Centre. of Barclays Bank Plc in St Vincent and the Grenadines and made his way up the ranks to being selected to join the Barclays Management Development Programme (MDP) designed to fast track employees with high potential to senior management. To continue his MDP training, in 1994 he was transferred to Barclays’ Regional Headquarters in Barbados where he spent two years in various areas including Offshore Banking, Information Technology, Operations and Administration and Credit Risk Management. Whilst on the MDP in St Vincent & the Grenadines, Mr Williams completed his Certificate in Business Administration with the University of the West Indies and his Banking Certificate with the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) in the United Kingdom. To provide him with international experience, Mr Williams was seconded in 1996 to several of Barclays’ operations in the United Kingdom for 12 months. Areas covered included Human Resources, Operations, Retail Banking and Offshore Banking. During his stint in the UK, he completed his Diploma in Banking from the Chartered Institute of Bankers (now Institute of Financial Services,School of Finance) and was awarded his Associateship (ACIB). Mr Williams was transferred to Belize in 1997 to become Barclays Deputy Country Manager and Senior Corporate Manager. In 2000 he was transferred back to Barbados as Head of Offshore Banking and occupied a seat on the Bank’s Barbados Country Management Committee. In 2002 he resigned from Barclays and took up the post of Executive Vice President of Cayman National Bank (CNB). In 2003 he became President of CNB and continues in this role at present. He is also a Director on the Bank’s Board. Ormond is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Services and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute in the UK. He holds a Certificate in Management Studies from University of Manchester, UK. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors, Children and Youth Services, Cayman Islands; Director – Caribbean Association of Indigenous Banks, St Lucia; an Accredited Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and Americas and Elder in the John Gray United Church, Cayman Islands. He is married to Rachel, a Belizean national and they have one child, Joshua.
  18. 18. The Caribbean Examiner 22 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979 Jennifer Hoad-King Queen’s College Barbados Queen’s College was every bit a wonderful girls’ school and by fourth form we started seriouspreparationsforourGCEO’levels.Ichose Languages over Sciences. It was at this time that we were told we would be taking, for the first time, History at CXC (CSEC) level, taught by Mrs Roseanne Perkins. In 1979, on completion of my GCEs and CXC I was awarded an American Field Scholarship which afforded me the opportunity to spend a year in the small mid-western town of Strongsville, Ohio in the United States. I became part of a family who has remained just that to this day – family. It was an interesting, exciting and educational year that I will treasure always. On returning home in 1980, I immediately went to work in the computer division of an insurance company prior to taking a secretarial course at the Academy of Commerce and Technical Studies. My secretarial diploma led me to a position at a printing organization as SecretarytotheManagingDirector. Itwasduring this time that an opportunity opened in the tourism field – an area that I was very interested in, and I went to work as Group Manager for a destination management company. Following my position with the destination management company, I immigrated to the United States and spent the next 10 years there. I worked with an import/export organization,in Miami, as Executive Secretary to the President andVice President. This organization turned out to be a ‘home away from home’ as it was owned and operated by West Indians making ‘big city’ life a bit ‘smaller’. On returning to Barbados, I worked some six years with a diverse company group, initially with the administrative division, which evolved tomanagementof theBeverageSystemsDivision. It was during this time that I spent one year with the Centre for Management Development of the UWI and completed an Executive Diploma in Human Resource Management. In 2002, an opportunity opened for me to return to the area of tourism, albeit in a very different capacity and for the past seven years I have worked in villa management for a privately owned property on Barbados’ beautiful west coast. On the personal side,my interests continue to focus around my family, keeping physically healthy and my deep love for animals which is reflected in our dogs and our pet bird - all rescued in one way or another,and all very much a part of our family and truly sources of great joy. My faith in God and my personal relationship with my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ play a paramount role in my life. It is here that I find strength and courage for the challenges of life,grace and peace that truly pass all understanding in the midst of life’s storms and thankfulness for the many blessings in my life. CSECClass of1979
  19. 19. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 23 Earl Bennette St Vincent Grammar School 1979 is a year that has gone down in the annals of St Vincent and the Grenadines history as one of the most memorable for several significant events. The three major events that stuck in my mind were the eruption of La Soufriere, the introduction of CXC examinations in the Caribbean and the Uprising in Union Island (a Grenadine island). And then there was the overthrow of the Gairy Government in Grenada by the Maurice Bishop-led New Jewel Movement. My colleagues and I were‘preparing’for the inaugural CXC examinations and had to contend with these two traumatic events, which did our preparation no good, particularly yours truly. Our minds certainly were preoccupied with the La Soufriere eruption which had disrupted our lives and our main concern was survival. The CXC examinations were thrust upon us in 1978 when the Ministry of Education advised the nation of the introduction of a Caribbean- oriented examination. I was in all honesty not too enthused;in fact, my attitude was one of indifference.For the truth be told, I like most of my contemporaries, that the English- based GCE examinations were of a far superior standard especially as it was coming from a highly reputable university. On the other hand,we were at best skeptical of the CXC examination and deemed it to be an experiment, with us being the ‘guinea pigs.’ We were afraid that the examinations would not stand the test of time and as a consequence we would have been involved in a futile exercise. Themanifestationof myindifferentposition was borne out by the fact that subsequent to registering for my lone offering - Geography- I stopped attending Mrs Martin’s Geography classes much to her charging. Mrs Martin, however, did not give up on me and was relentless in her efforts to convince me to sit the examination, even if it meant that I had to do it on my own, as she firmly believed that I was doing an injustice to my mother, my teacher, my alma mater and myself. Her urgings coupled with that of my closest friends led me to sit the examination albeit armed with the unnerving knowledge that I was inadequately prepared. I had done so with one condition, that if I found the examination beyond me, I was not going to do it as I was not willing to suffer the indignity, humiliation and embarrassment of failing . On D-Day, I equipped myself with the necessary tools and journeyed to the school to be one of many persons across the Caribbean to sit the historic CXC examinations.On perusing the paper I was confident that I could attain a passing grade, so I remained in the room and did the Geography paper and obtained a Grade II much to my relief and the delight of my mom, teacher and friends. After graduating from school,I worked with the Central Water and Sewerage Authority [CWSA].My association with this institution lasted for six years. I next entered the teaching profession where I was assigned to the Calliaqua Anglican School.During my long stint at this school I pursued and attained the Teaching Certificate at the Teachers’ College. I was then transferred to the Sion Hill Government School where I worked for two years. My next port of call was the JP Eustace Memorial Secondary in 2006 where I am currently assigned as a Social Studies Teacher. Apart from my working life,I have been and still am a community activist, a sport administrator and a cultural organizer and participant. I have also had the distinct pleasure of serving in several positions on the StVincent and the Grenadines Football Federation of which I am currently General Secretary. My worst fears about the inaugural examinations were unfounded,as evidenced by the fact that the Council has grown from strength to strength and 30 years after stands tall in the Caribbean landscape. Happy 30th Anniversary and long live CXC and CSEC! Kathy-Ann Walkes nee Cadogan Queen’s College - Barbados I had the privilege of being one of the first persons to write a Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exam. This was in 1979 and the subject was History. It was somewhat challenging and different since we were not accustomed to having our assignments (School BasedAssessment) count towards our final exam marks. But at the same time, I thought that this was a big plus since,unlike the General Certificate of Education (GCE), which is a one-shot exam, you had the chance to go into the examination with marks. Therefore, if you were having an off day on the day of the exam, but you had a good enough grade going into the exam, then you would stand a good chance of success. I think this has contributed to the success of CXC examination over the years. Since completing my studies at Queen’s College in 1981,I entered UWI Cave Hill where I pursued a degree inAccounting with Computing, completing this programme in 1984 with Honours. In June 1985, I started work at Texaco where I held the position of Marine Clerk for six months. In August 1985, I was offered a position at IBM where I am still currently employed. I have held various positions at IBM including Distribution Specialist and Systems Engineer. I am also anAccredited Certified NovellAdministrator (CNA) and Certified Novell Engineer (CNE). I have two children, Lisa aged 12 and Christopher aged 9. My hobbies include swimming, karate and squash.
  20. 20. The Caribbean Examiner 24 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org Wherearetheynow?CSEC CLASS OF 1979 Pauline Wolff St Joseph’s Convent St Lucia 1979 for us marked a year of freedom; freedom from the walls of St Joseph’s Convent Secondary School where we spent five long years (of course looking back now it was indeed short) compared to now since we are celebrating 30 years of leaving these walls which shaped who and what we are today. I recall being in form five when our dearestPrincipalSrClaireaddressedusabout CXC and the English exam. She went through the grading system of I and II being passes for General Proficiency. One student blerted out “why are we the ‘guinea pigs?’What happens if we fail? How it will affect us?” But these concerns were soon abated since we were still doing the GCE subjects which we were prepared (through the syllabus) to do. I cannot recall all our grades, but I can safely say that we did exceptionally well or we would have recalled some negative reports in the newspapers. Today, because of my first daughter who sat CSEC, I was introduced to a lot of the other subjects such as Agricultural Science and Information Technology and I was able to appreciate, realize and recognize the direct impact that CXC has on the Caribbean. Comparing the days prior to CXC, I vividly recall having to study European History (boy!! do I remember how I tried to cram instead of understanding). I was also able to compare the subject areas that both she and I did like Geography (oh what a difference!). CXC has brought the Caribbean much closer and has been able to fulfill its mission and vision.The transition from GCE to CXC from my limited knowledge looked like a smooth one and Laverne Velox St Vincent Girls’ High School Time really does fly. Thirty years have elapsed and it seems like it was just yesterday that I wrote the first CXC exams under less than ideal conditions. The eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on April 13, 1979 had disrupted the completion of the syllabus. I remember having gone to St. Lucia to stay with relatives for a while and missing classes. Apart from that,the thought of a new exam by Caribbean educators for Caribbean students was not readily embraced by me. I worried about whether the results would be accredited by Colleges and Universities outside the region. I also was apprehensive about the format – essay and multiple choice questions. I did not see myself as a pioneer charting the course for future generations. I thought we were guinea pigs for CXC being used for the‘trial run’. Consequently, many of us wrote the same subjects at CXC and GCE concurrently – just in the event that CXC was not accredited.Back then, a Grade III was not recognized as a pass! We had to work hard for Grades I and II passes. Thirty years later, CXC is alive and well having metamorphosed into CSEC that my son will write in 2010 but which I do not recognize as the same exams I wrote in 1979. All my initial fears about CXC were without merit as it is now touted as one of the few successes of Caribbean people working together for the intellectual enrichment of the region. In 1981 I joined the First St Vincent Bank as a Savings Clerk and worked there until 1986 when I moved to NBC Radio 705. I spent two years at NBC Radio. In 1988 I returned to the First St Vincent Bank and moved through the ranks to the post of Manager, the position I currently occupy. was embraced by all. The Class of ‘79 from St Joseph’s Convent continues to re-unite ever so often.We celebrated our 25th Anniversary with a Church Service and breakfast and we had the honor and pleasure of having most of our teachers and families with us. This year, like CXC, we are planning quite a number of activities to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.In our midst we have a cross section of professionals, ranging from doctors, lawyers, nurses, bankers, business owners, agriculturists, teachers and the list goes on. CXC has empowered us to be more independent and self reliant. It is through that medium that programmes such as Young Leaders which emerged from Trinidad came into being. I had the honor and privilege of serving as the Coordinator for St Lucia where we saw young minds being positively shaped into future leaders. My colleagues and I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Registrar and the entire CXC for reaching this milestone. May God continue to be your guide. Happy 30th Anniversary CSEC!
  21. 21. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 25 Trudy Leonce-Joseph St Joseph’s Convent St Lucia This was truly a historic year in my life as I had the privilege of witnessing the raising of our national flag at midnight on February 22, 1979 during the ceremony on our attainment of Independence. There were some memorable events in my life during 1979 that included the celebrations and fireworks on Independence night in February, turning sweet sixteen and immediately obtaining my driver’s license, and writing the GCE O’ Level examinations and the CSEC examinations offered by CXC for the first time. I particularly appreciate the significance of being able to write the CXC examinations in 1979. Academically, one of the top students during my five years at the St. Joseph’s Convent, I excelled in all subject areas (except Art and Cookery).MysubjectsinFormFourwereEnglish Language, English Literature, History, French, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Since this was the first year of CXC, we also had to write the English Language. Usually I never worried about writing examinations; however, inevitably the results of these exams at the end of form five do determine a student’s future irrespective of the performance during the past five years of secondary school. I was nervous for my very first GCE examination which was the English Language. After that examination I had a nagging feeling that I almost blanked out while writing the essay and in general I knew my nerves had gotten the better of me. There was no time to dwell on that subject and I tackled the other subjects over the next few weeks and did not have any nerves or problems. I remember writing the CXC English examination and I felt great after and knew this was a better examination than the GCE English. My worse fear was confirmed with the release of the GCE results a few weeks later. I obtained one A, five B’s and one C in my other subjects. For English Language I obtained a D. This meant that despite my proven academic ability, I did not have the required entry mark in English Language to register at the Sir Arthur Lewis Advanced Level College. I was mortified and in shock. For about one to two weeks my whole future was a blur. My future studies now depended on my CSEC English Language Grade. Finally the CXC results were released- I obtained a Grade One. My family and I were so thankful that CXC was introduced that year. I registered for the Science courses at the Sir Arthur Lewis College. My tertiary education was completed at the Universityof GuelphinCanadawhenIgraduated with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 1985.I pursued a career in Clinical Microbiology and entered the field of Medical Laboratory Technology. I worked in the private sector as a Microbiology Medical Technologist at Medical Laboratories in the Greater Toronto region from 1985 to 1993. In May 1993, I returned to St Lucia and was appointed as the Acting Laboratory Superintendent (Manager) of the Ezra Long Laboratory at the Victoria Hospital. During my three years supervising this laboratory, I registered with the University of the West Indies Challenge Programme and obtained a Certificate in Public Administration. After three years in the public sector I got the opportunity to manage a laboratory in the private sector. I accepted the position of Laboratory Manager at Laboratory Services and Consultations Ltd. I am currently in my 12th year as Manager at Laboratory Services and Consultations Ltd. During this period I have attained a Graduate Certificate of Achievement – Clinical Laboratory Quality and Operational Management from The Michener Institute for Applied Health in Toronto Canada and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Leicester in England. Ihavehadaninterestingandchallenging career while balancing a well-rounded social and family life. I am currently actively involved in planning activities to celebrate the St Joseph’s Convent’s Class of 1979 30th Anniversary. I was therefore thrilled when we were invited to provide our profile for The Caribbean Examiner magazine and CXC website. In particular I felt this was a fitting time for me to write as my 16-year-old son is preparing to write his CSEC examinations this year. In particular I commend the CXC for the inclusion of the School Based Assessments towards the final grading, as based on my experience the consequence of a nervous examination day can result in a disappointing result.
  22. 22. The Caribbean Examiner 26 MAY 2009 www.cxc.org The revised English B Syllabus for 2012 to 2017 examinations reintroduces the comparative (Type B) question on two short stories. It also replaces the comparative question on West Indian and non-West Indian novels with a (Type A) question on a single novel. Most teachers would welcome this development, as successive School Reports have bemoaned the fact that candidates performed less than expected on the comparative or theme questions. Realistically, this task required candidates to apply higher order skills: analysis, evaluation and synthesis to their knowledge of two novels in approximately 40 minutes. These were quite advanced skills for the 16-year-old age cohort. The new format for testing students’ knowledge of Prose offers exciting opportunities for extending the study of English Literature to a wider cohort of our students and honing their skills in literary appreciation. Principals and the staff of English Departments should plan from now to exploit these opportunities. Moreover,theRevisedSyllabusandSpecimen Mark Scheme suggest overt encouragement of diverse interpretations – a feature which runs countertothepopular‘onecorrectinterpretation’ of set texts. They acknowledge the influence of readers’ feelings as a significant component of literary interpretation and appreciation. These new developments should lead us to reorganise the school’s Literature programme. These syllabus changes should encourage more vicarious recreations, greater discussion and differing interpretations of how artists try to influence our feeling.These discussions,based on the carefully selected prescribed texts will, over time,expandourvocabularyof feelingsandfoster the development of our emotional intelligence, ultimately leading to the affective skills and values expected of ‘the Ideal Caribbean Person.’ Controversial texts have the greatest potential to foster these outcomes, but it is the school and the teacher’s careful choice and treatment of texts that have the greatest impact. Some schools have avid readers as students, who may want to read all prescribed texts and then make a choice of what they will study for examination. There are other schools with struggling readers whose teachers select the text for the students. There we have an obligation to read all the novels and make a determination after considering the characteristics of our learners. Such students may even need to hear our repeated dramatic oral reading to understand what is involved in reading for pleasure. We must select the text that is most appropriate for our students to display their skills in literary appreciation. We must gauge the text’s potential to excite our students, and should be wary of the belief that we do students a favour by selecting ‘easy’ texts with which they do not connect. Fostering the intimate connection between student and text is our goal. Class discussions with subsequent projects and assignments generate this personal connection. These discussions and assignments must go way beyond the anticipated examination questions and marking schemes. Rather, in the sacred space of our classrooms, we must be open minded, confident and mature enough to encourage students to offer personal interpretations and responses to the events of the texts and challenge them to provide textual and experiential evidence in support of their interpretations. Authors relate many crucial events not through direct explanation but through inference. Argument over the different interpretations forces students to closely read the texts and gain intimate knowledge of it, which is eventually reflected in their examination responses. Using this strategy with the short stories first will pay significant dividends. Studying short stories prepares students to understand the writer’s craft in a novel, and in general it has the potential to heighten our students’ sensitivity to how writers manipulate words and form to influence our feelings and achieve their effects. In planning the scheme of work, we may recognise that we just do not have the time to devote a session to each story. If so, we need to select the short story that we can gain the maximum benefit from close study so that students can apply the skills and competencies to their independent reading and study of the other selections. Individual teacher style and interest will be the major determinant in this choice. Thereafter, we need to consider how the students can use the time to show their emerging mastery in application of these competencies. In doing so, students will chart the comparisons and contrasts in authors’treatment of technique and theme. We should be wary of using merely logical or common sense criteria for the sequence in the text, World of Prose. The editors warned that they did not have any organising principle in their sequencing of the stories. Stories for sophisticated readers are placed before those which are accessible to wider audiences.It would also be dangerous to assume that the shortest stories are the easiest. Some teachers or departments may decide to link the stories to events in the calendar, for example, to introduce ‘Septimus’ around Christmas time, or ‘The Boy Who Loved Ice Cream’around Harvest time.Others may see and use the potential of Literature to make a direct contribution to the lives of the students,through bibliotherapy. Thestoriesmayalsobesequencedaccording to formal elements of the short story form. There are stories where the point of view from which they are told carries the weight of their meaning. We may also select from, these approaches in sequencing the set poems from A World of Poetry. In the final analysis, our Literature programme should excite our students and foster appreciation and understanding of writers’craft that adroitly manipulate our minds and feelings. The prescribed texts for 2012 -2017 give us ample resources to do this (see pages 28-30 of the syllabus, CXC 01/G/SYLL 09). We must gauge the text’s potential to excite our students, and should be wary of the belief that we do students a favour by selecting ‘easy’ texts with which they do not connect. Fostering the intimate connection between student and text is our goal. CXC NEWS SELECTING TEXTS FOR 2012 – 2017 AND SEQUENCING THE SHORT STORIES FOR TEACHING the revised English B Syllabus By Martin Jones
  23. 23. The Caribbean Examiner www.cxc.org MAY 2009 27 TEXTS PRESCIBED FOR THE 2012 - 2014 EXAMINATIONS DRAMA Four Questions will be set A Midsummer Night’s Dream William Shakespeare Old Story Time Trevor Rhone POETRY Two Questions will be set Selections from World of Poetry (New Edition) Hazel Simmons-McDonald and Mark McWatt PROSE FICTION Novel Four Type A questions will be set. West Indian Songs of Silence Curdella Forbes The Wine of Astonishment Earl Lovelace Short Story Two Type B Questions will be set from the ten named short stories A World of Prose for CXC David Williams Hazel Simmons-McDonald TEXTS PRESCRIBED FOR THE 2015 – 2017 EXAMINATIONS DRAMA Four Type A Questions will be set Julius Caesar William Shakespeare The Lion and the Jewel Wole Soyinka POETRY Two Type B Questions will be set Selections from World of Poetry (New Edition) Hazel Simmons-McDonald and Mark McWatt PROSE FICTION Novel – Four Type A questions will be set. Frangipani House Beryl Gilroy Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe Short Story - Two Type B questions will be set from the ten named short stories. A World of Prose for CXC David Williams Hazel Simmons-McDonald The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is now an Affiliate of the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY). Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, Pro Registrar of CXC signed the Affiliation Agreement 23 April at a ceremony hosted by JAMCOPY at the Jamaica Trade and Invest Office in Kingston. JAMCOPY is a Collective Rights Agency which manages the reproductive rights of its members and issues licences to third parties to copy the work of right holders. JAMCOPY also acts on its rights holders’ behalf to prevent infringements of their rights, including taking legal action against violators. In 2005, CXC registered its logo, its name and its abbreviation, and the names of all its examinations as Trademarks to protect the integrity of the Council and its examinations. Last year, to further assert its ownershipof theTrademarks,CXCpublished an Intellectual Property Policy which governs the use of the Council’s Trademarks. “The Council is systematically considering the steps required for protecting, managing and enforcing its IP so as to avoid confusion in the market, ensure quality, and realize commercial results from its IP ownership,” the CXC IP Policy states. “The move to become an Affiliate of JAMCOPY re-enforces the Council’s seriousness about protecting its Intellectual Property and preventing violations of its copyright works.,” explained Dr Didacus Jules, CXC Registrar.“This will also protect the Council by ensuring that its name and image are not falsely associated with unauthorized products and services.” As a member of JAMCOPY CXC will enjoy several benefits. These include better management of the amount of copying that is done so that sales of its published works are not jeopardised by extensive illegal photocopying; CXC is assured of remuneration from the licence fees collected from users; and CXC also benefits from international protection of its works through JAMCOPY’s bilateral agreements with licensing agencies in other countries. CXC Joins JAMCOPY Mr Glenroy Cumberbatch, CXC Pro Registrar (centre) signing JAMCOPY Affiliation Agreement as Ms Carol Newman Manager of JAMCOPY (left) and Ms Shirley Carby, Chairman of JAMCOPY (right) look on

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