18 April 2022 (Easter Monday)
Weekly Current (archived version)
Public schools’ Year 11 test scores dropped in 2021. CIS responds to COVID with strategies, accountability for leaders. Inspectors’ reports on Montessori By The Sea and Clever Fish.
Welcome to this week’s newsletter on education in the Cayman Islands.
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Week In Review
After a spike in test scores in 2020, Year 11 exam results for Cayman Islands public secondary school students in 2021 regressed back to 2019 levels.
In 2020, test administrators in the UK and Caribbean adjusted their exams in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decline in Cayman’s scores in spring 2021 coincided with the Caribbean Examination Council‘s decision to return to its usual practices.
We won’t call it a ‘news dump‘, but on Thursday afternoon before the long Easter holiday weekend, education officials published the annual Education Data Report for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Data Report is one of the Current’s major sources of information on the Cayman school system, along with inspection reports from the Office of Education Standards.
Just like we did last year, we’ll be combing through the Data Report and will publish a series of analyses over the next few weeks. … Stay tuned …
As the name suggests, the Data Report contains a myriad of facts and figures on public schools from early years through secondary.
But for us, the bottom-line number is the percentage of Year 11 students who met the ‘national expectation’ of achieving at least 5 Level 2 passes on their exams, including English and Mathematics.
2021 results, public high school students meeting ‘national expectation’
- Total: 40%
- John Gray: 32%
- Clifton Hunter: 49%
- Layman Scott: 55%
- Total: 56%
- John Gray: 53%
- Clifton Hunter: 56%
- Layman Scott: 76%
- Total: 39%
- John Gray: 37%
- Clifton Hunter: 39%
- Layman Scott: 72%
When the 2020 exam results were released, Cayman education officials cautioned against making apples-to-apples comparisons to previous years because of the one-off adjustments made due to COVID.
Similarly, they are now stating that 2021 results are better assessed against 2019 results, rather than 2020.
“In 2021, CXC reintroduced the full suite of examinations in line with previous years and for this reason, we believe that the 2021 results are more comparable to those obtained in 2019,” Department of Education Services Director Mark Ray said.
Cayman International School had put strategies in place to deal with COVID, placed accountability on senior leaders and focussed on the mental wellness of students and staff, OES inspectors said.
Teachers said students had experienced minimal learning loss during the pandemic.
“The Board of Management and senior leaders had a clear strategy in place to promote continuity of learning for students. Throughout the pandemic, the school has remained open,” the inspectors said.
“The Board of Management held school leaders to account for the quality of education provision through regular reporting and meetings during the pandemic. In a meeting with the OES inspectors, the Board representative expressed strong confidence in the leadership of the school,” they said.
Clear leadership and closeness among staff have helped Montessori By The Sea navigate the pandemic, an inspector said.
There was no reported learning loss among students, who continued to make good academic progress.
“The principals and senior leaders had a very strong vision of progress and protocols throughout the pandemic, and had analysed changes that may be usefully kept post Covid,” the inspector said.
The small size of Clever Fish had worked to the school’s advantage in terms of dealing with the pandemic, an inspector said.
The school had experienced relatively few cases of COVID and little, if any, learning loss among students.
“The school had reported very few cases of Covid amongst either the staff or students throughout the pandemic. This was accredited, in part, to the school’s robust adherence to Covid protocols,” the inspector said.
***Editor’s note: OES inspectors promised to perform 31 ‘thematic visits’ to local schools, and as of last Sunday’s newsletter we thought they had finished. But as you can see, they published 3 more reports this past week for a running total of 35 (including UCCI). We’ll keep writing about them as they come out, and we’ll continue with our higher-level analyses as well. We’ve updated our central ’roundup’ post with the newest visits.***
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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): 44% of teachers in England plan to quit within five years
- Jamaica Observer: EDITORIAL | Absenteeism from school not straightforward
- The BVI Beacon: $11m in ESHS contracts awarded
- Jamaica Gleaner: Ronald Thwaites | Critical role of churches and trusts in education
The Week Ahead
- Education Data Report 2021
- Analyses, school inspectors’ reports
- EdBeat: Episode 34