22 Nov. 2020
Weekly Current (archived version)
Thanks for reading, and thanks for caring about education! Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education news in the Cayman Islands.
Week In Review
This week we strapped on the scuba tank, slipped on a pair of fins and dove deep into the results of the 2020 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams (CSECs).
What we found was this: Cayman Islands Year 11 public school students beat the regional average. They bested their scores from the past decade. And the majority of them exceeded the national expected standard.
In other words, although there is plenty of room for improvement, the results were good — or, at the very least, significantly better than they had been in years past.
A couple of caveats: The scores released by the Ministry of Education on 10 Nov. are ‘preliminary’. Due to COVID-19, this year’s CSECs were modified (i.e. eliminating Paper 2 ‘written/essay’ components, and relying on Papers 1 and 3, ‘multiple choice’ and ‘teacher assessments’). That being said, a Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) review panel has stated that regionally, this year’s scores ended up being in line with past year’s scores.
+ Year 11 students outperformed the Caribbean average in both English and Mathematics.
- On the 2020 CSECs, 83% of Cayman’s Year 11 public school students achieved Level 2 or greater passes on English, and 57% in Maths.
- Around the Caribbean, 82% of students passed English and 52% passed Maths.
- Cayman’s closest comparator is Jamaica, where 84% passed English and 56% passed Maths.
- For broader context, on the UK-based GCSEs, the equivalent pass rate in English among exam takers was 71%, and in Maths was 67%.
+ Cayman’s Year 11 scores in English and Maths were the highest in at least a decade.
- The 57% pass rate in Maths was a 10-point improvement over the previous high, set in 2015.
- The 83% pass rate in English was an 8-point improvement over the previous high, set in 2019.
- It was the second time that Year 11 students beat the Caribbean average in both Maths and English. The first time was in 2017.
+ For the first time on record, more than half of Year 11 and Year 12 students met the ‘national expected standard’ of passing 5 or more subjects (including English and Maths) on CSECs.
- It’s the first time that the Year 11 pass rate (55%) was higher than the Year 12 pass rate (52%).
- In 2012, the Year 11 and 12 groups each had a pass rate of 23%.
- Since 2014, the Year 12 pass rate has been between 47% and 54%.
- The 2020 pass rate of 55% for Year 11 is 13 points greater than the previous high of 42%, set in 2017.
+ A record number of students (71% of the cohort) achieved at least 1 Level 2 pass on a science exam.
If you prefer charts and tables to text, we summarised the CSEC results and published all the graphics in a roundup post here.
On an unrelated note, here’s a press release from UCCI with key dates for the Spring 2021 semester.
And finally, we’ll draw attention to a 3-part feature on ‘education inequality’ by the Cayman Compass (that appeared in the 13 Nov. print newspaper, and then on the website several days later). Story One, Story Two, Story Three. (Paywall alert)
Around The Web
The Current is a central resource for education journalism by others, including regional and international news relevant to Cayman education. (Find our running collection of links here.)
- The Guardian (UK): Manchester University chief apologises for false claim over ‘racial profiling’ incident
- Miami Herald ($): No plan to close South Florida schools as COVID numbers rise in the schools, counties
- The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Saltus year group to quarantine after contact with coronavirus case
- Jamaica Observer: 887 students from nine West Kingston schools get tablets
- Miami Herald ($): Florida schools to allow remote learning through second semester, state chief says
- Miami Herald ($): UM, FSU, USF classes will be online after Thanksgiving. What about your Florida school?
- The Guardian (UK): Sexual abuse at English and Welsh universities ‘a public scandal’ – study
- The Guardian (UK): Proportion of students in England awarded first-class degrees soars
- Jamaica Observer: Local government — the engine for educational development in a COVID-19 era
- Jamaica Observer: UNICEF taps students’ views on improving education system
- Cayman Compass ($): Scotiabank Cayman gives US$15,000 in student grants
- Caymanian Times: JobsCayman reaches out to graduates
- Cayman Compass ($): 69 Cayman CXC exam results under review
- The Guardian (UK): Exodus of exhausted headteachers predicted in England after pandemic
- Jamaica Observer: MPs receive application forms for ‘Own Your Own Device’ incentive programme
The Week Ahead
- A look at newly rebranded nonprofit Inclusion Cayman (formerly Special Needs Foundation Cayman)
- Regional and international COVID-19 update: What schools are closed and where; how are different countries responding to resurgences in the virus