‘Modest’ improvement in school exam results

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At the graduation of the CHHS Class of 2020, CHHS Director Dr Richard Wildman with high performing students Diamond chambers (left) and Joshua Peart

(CNS): Government officials said “modest gains” have been made by high school students in Grades 11 and 12 in their external exam scores this year. By the end of grade 12, 86% of the 2020 cohort had reached Level 2 (Grades I, II or III) in English, up from just over 75% last year. Math scores were much lower, with just 54% of students reaching the passing grade, but still an improvement over 2019, when grades were below 50%. Overall, over 70% of all students obtained at least five Level 2 passes.

In the Cayman Islands system, after grade 11, when students graduate from high school, they then have to attend grade 12 elsewhere to graduate: they can go to UCCI to start their associate’s degree, attend the Cayman Islands Further Education Center (CIFEC) to rewrite certain external exams if necessary and / or take vocational courses, attend a private school offering A-level courses, or they may attend another accredited educational institution.

Figures released by the government on Tuesday show that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and a very difficult and disruptive year for public school students, they have continued the steady improvement in results that has emerged over the past four years.

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Department of Education Services (DES) Acting Director Tammy Banks-DaCosta said the improvement was a reflection of the strategies that were implemented. “Overall, we are showing modest year-over-year gains attributed to the strategies and interventions that have been implemented,” she said in the ministry’s results statement.

In the interim results, some of which are being reviewed by external boards at the request of Cayman Islands schools, the number of students achieving at least one science subject at level 2 has reached a ‘record high’ of 71% , although figures before 2016 have not been provided.

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In October, 330 students graduated from the government secondary education system, including Lighthouse School. Overall, 157 (48%) of these graduates graduated with Level 2 “Honors” or “High Honors”.

Level 2 “Honors” indicates that a student has passed seven exams with grades I, II, or III, or the grade equivalent in accepted exams other than the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CBSC), which are the equivalent of the ordinary level (O-Level) exams. Level 2 “Honors Honors” indicates 9 grade I or II passes, or grade equivalent in accepted exams other than ESEC. Domain passes obtained must include English and Mathematics.

Cayman Brac’s Layman Scott High School performed particularly well, with 13 of 18 graduate students (72%) achieving these passing levels, and 89% reaching Level 2, which corresponds to at least five exam passes with Grades I , II or III.

Preliminary statistics on graduation

Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said students ‘received exceptionally’ in the face of COVID-19 lockdown, with shift to distance learning and exam schedule changes .

“This says a lot about the level of support provided by our public school educators, support staff and, of course, their parents and guardians,” the minister said. “The dedication our students have shown in persevering in uncharted waters cannot be underestimated. The resilience and tenacity of our hardworking students should be a source of pride for every Caymanian. “

Three students from Clifton Hunter High School also reached the Top 10 Merit regionally in the BBRI exam series from May to June 2019. Diamond Chambers ranked 9th in the region in Human and Social Biology and also in tied with Joshua Peart for 7th place in integrated science. Aaliyah Powell, who was an early entry in grade 10, placed 9th in electronic document preparation.

With the challenges presented to the exams due to the pandemic, 69 results submitted by the Cayman Islands are currently under review by the relevant committees.

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