CXC results: Cayman beats Caribbean average in English, Maths

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Cayman Islands Year 11 students outperformed their regional peers on the English A and Mathematics portions of the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations (CSECs).

While Cayman’s public school students post better scores in English than Mathematics (83% Level 2 passes in English compared to 57% in Maths), that accords with a similar disparity in Caribbean regional scores (82% English passes, 52% Maths passes).

The result is that Cayman’s Maths scores exceed the regional average by 5 percentage points, whereas Cayman’s English scores exceed the regional average by only 1 percentage point.

Regionally, the closest CSEC results to Cayman’s were posted by Cayman’s closest geographic neighbour, Jamaica, where 84% of students passed English and 56% passed Maths.

Several jurisdictions have not yet released their English and Maths scores, including larger countries such as Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

(Interestingly, of the countries that have released their CSEC results — at least, the ones the Cayman Current was able to locate at the time of publication — none scored below the regional average in English.)

British Virgin Islands students achieved a 91% pass rate in English, the highest rate in the Caribbean (next to Montserrat), while St. Kitts and Nevis students achieved the best pass rate in Maths at 60% (also second to Montserrat).

Montserrat (not pictured on the chart above) achieved the best pass rates in both English and Maths in the region, with 94% of students passing English and 66% passing Maths. However,  the small size of the Montserrat cohort (48 students, compared to Cayman’s typical Year 11 cohort size of about 400 students) leads to great variability in scores from year to year. (In 2019, Montserrat’s pass rate in English was 51% and in Maths was 44%.)

Regional CSEC results, 2020

 EnglishMathsEnglish (+/- Region)Maths (+/- Region)
St Kitts and Nevis86%60%+4+8
Cayman Islands83%57%+1+5
St Vincent87%53%+5+1
British Virgin Islands91%52%+90
St Lucia84%44%+2-8

The results for the CSECs and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPEs) are preliminary, as CXC is reviewing individual exams when requested. According to Acting Director of Department of Education Services Tammy Banks-DaCosta, Cayman public schools have lodged 69 requests for review, which would be a small fraction of the thousands of CXC exams typically administered here each year.

This year, CXC will not decrease the scores of exams that have been reviewed, meaning scores will only stay the same or increase as a result of a review.

For context, overall scores on the United Kingdom-based General Certificate of Secondary Examination (GCSEs), which are also used by some schools in Cayman, tend to be lower in English and higher in Maths than Cayman’s public school results on CSECs.

For 2020, the equivalent pass rate in English among GCSE takers was 71%, and in Maths was 67%.

Unlike the 2020 CSECs and CAPEs, where scores were calculated using a combination of written exams and school-based assessments, GCSE scores for 2020 were calculated based only on school-based assessments (i.e., teachers’ predicted grades for students).

*Editor’s Note: This the first entry in a series of posts exploring results on the 2020 CXC exams.

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