Math is and always has been a problem for students writing CXC Exams. On this page, we have compiled a list of articles across the Caribbean that highlights this point. We hope that this app will aid in remedying the problem by allowing students to practice as much as they can for the exam. 

Poor performance in Maths gains Cabinet’s attention

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:57 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Feb 8, 2017, 10:11 AM ]

Kaieteur News 2016.10.26

Poor performance in Mathematics is being considered a matter of national urgency by Government. This was the declaration made when Cabinet met on Tuesday.
It was underscored that the daunting performance requires Government’s focused attention and commitment to finding adequate and appropriate solutions in the shortest possible time.
Members of the Cabinet met Tuesday and deliberated “as a matter of extreme urgency and grave national importance,” the unsatisfactory results in Mathematics nationwide, at the 2016 Grade Six Examination.
Senior officials from the Ministry of Education, including Minister Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, were engaged by Cabinet to examine the declining performance of students in mathematics at this year’s Grade six assessment.
For many years Guyana has consistently failed to achieve acceptable pass rates in mathematics, an important core subject. It must be noted that the previous approach to this problem has been inadequate.
This year, for the first time, the Ministry of Education contracted the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to conduct the examination for the Grade Six students in Guyana. The basis of assessment used by the Caribbean Examination Council was radically different from what was used previously by the Ministry of Education. What was observed was that this year there was an increased focus on reasoning and a decreased emphasis on retention.
The new method to testing as implemented by CXC has exposed even more the weakness of the previous approach to education adopted by the Ministry of Education in previous years.
As part of a plan for short and medium term measures, Cabinet called on the Ministry of Education and its technical advisors to identify all appropriate steps needed to remedy this situation.
Those steps would include remedial training of teachers, better and more varied text books, more teaching aids and better use of technology in the delivery of education.
When the 2016 NGSA results were released this year, Minister Roopnaraine disclosed that strategic collaborations between his Ministry and CXC are expected to improve the quality of all primary grade assessments.
Local teachers, subject specialists and test development officers were tasked with developing all items for the 2016 NGSA, with the technical guidance of CXC. The support from CXC also included making the local professionals competent to address key areas such as item construction, weighting of items, sampling and other psychometric elements.
According to Minister Roopnaraine, “the objective of this consultation is to ensure that all assessments conform to regional and international test development and administration standards and expectations to facilitate consistent, reliable measurement and tracking of pupil performance.”
The 2016 NGSA was written on April 27 and 28. A total of 14, 386 candidates were assessed in the subject areas of Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and English Language.
While the performance in English Language and Social Studies this year has been consistent with previous years, this was not the same for Mathematics and Science. Both fell below what was obtained in previous years, the Minister admitted.
The best performance in Mathematics this year was secured by one of the top national performers, Aryan Singh (of the Dharmic Rama Krishna School), who also produced the best performance in Social Studies.
Singh and Anthony Ferreira of Mae’s Under 12 were named the top performers at this year’s NGSA with a total score of 568 marks each. The highest possible total score obtainable was 583.

Barbados - Solving the math problem

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:55 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 11:56 AM ]

Authorities in Barbados are confronting poor maths performances among students head on.

This morning officials from the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Education launched an on-line teaching project that would place the skills of the island’s best maths teachers at the instant disposal of students all over the island.

This has all resulted from grave concerns about poor student performance annually in the Caribbean Examination Council’s mathematics tests.

The on-line teaching project is aimed at significantly improving academic achievement in this discipline.

It involves participation of the island’s best mathematics teachers, under the guidance of a UWI Cave Hill senior lecturer, and is expected to assist students in acquiring greater mastery of math concepts and, as a result, help them achieve higher exam scores.

“Improved success in mathematics is considered critical to the region’s ability to make major strides in areas of science and technology, which has become a strategic developmental focus as the university assumes a lead role in helping the region to arrest its declining economic fortunes,” said a statement from the campus today.

It is the brainchild of lecturer in physics and electronics, Dr. Janak Sodha, and is the second initiative which he has implemented in recent years to assist students to better understand the fundamentals of mathematics.

Two years ago, the UK-trained academic pioneered a remedial programme for UWI students whose math scores were below par. It fused mathematical concepts with on line animation and multi-media support to make the subject more attractive to students.

According to UWI: “This year only three out of ten students across the region who sat CXC mathematics gained passes and project organisers are confident of improving this dismal performance following today’s launch of, which will provide students with a data base of problem-solving material.

“Through the use of tablet computers, the teachers will create video solutions of math content, with assistance from Sodha, which they will upload to a UWI-operated domain that he will manage. Teachers from 20 secondary schools are involved in the project’s initial phase.”

Sodha said: “Our aim is to place on-line for free, videos that are directly relevant to the CXC mathematics exam and eventually expand this on line resource across the region and onto the more advanced CAPE level, also utilising school teachers from across the Caribbean.”

Berger Paints and CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank are major sponsors of the initiative.

Math Failings -

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:44 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul

DESPITE attending classes everyday for the past five years, most pupils failed a recent math exam for school-leavers.

We should all be greatly concerned about the revelations in a report in Newsday (August 11) entitled, “Decline in Maths – a cause for deep concern”, which reported the Caribbean Examinations Council’s (CXC’s) concern over the poor performance of Caribbean pupils (including Trinidad and Tobago) in last May/June’s Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Exam, for fifth-form pupils. 

The Council revealed that two-thirds of pupils failed the CSEC Math Exam last May/June. Their statement said the proportion of pupils passing the exam by earning a grade I to grade III fell from 41 percent in 2010, to 35 percent last year to just 33 percent this year. So 67 out of every 100 pupils failed, this year! 

We’d like to sound an alarm on this math crisis in a society where math and English passes are a basic requirement for many jobs such as nursing and policing. In fact, figures posted on the CXC website suggest that the 2012 general proficiency math results are the worst ever in the past nine years! This June’s 33 percent pass-rate sharply contrasts with the 47 percent pass-rate seen in the May/June 2008 Exam, and moreso the 57 percent pass rate scored in the January 2008 exam (although 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011 also saw dismal results). 

Questions must be asked as to why pupils scored so badly in the 2012 exam, which is part of a steady decline in results over the past five years. Are our pupils simply becoming less capable, (say due to too many other distractions in their lives)? Are teachers failing? Would some pupils be better advised to write the easier “Basic Proficiency” math exam? These questions must now be placed foremost in the minds of the nation’s teachers, pupils, parents, administrators and employers. 

The CXC website itself acknowledged the math crisis in a statement, “Call for Action to Address Performance in Mathematics” where the CXC’s Subject Awards Committee (SAC) said it was “deeply concerned about the quality of work produced by candidates at this level.” 

The report noted, “Topics such as the range, perimeter, and profit and loss that should be covered at the lower secondary level were not fully understood”. 

The statement said, “The SAC has called on the region to address the issue of teaching and performance in Mathematics by re-organising its Mathematics programme, supporting teacher training and facilitating access to instructional resources”. CXC Registrar, Dr Didacus Jules, listed steps the CXC is taking to remedy the situation, including the establishment of an expert working group to recommend “comprehensive changes in the teaching, learning and assessment of Mathematics”. 

Dr Jules also urged more teacher training, plus more math content on the CXC interactive online portal, among other initiatives. 

However, most remediation measures, in our view, will have to be initiated locally. We’d like to hear the suggestions of Minister of Education, Dr Tim Gopeesingh; the TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA); and teacher training institutions such as supplied by TT’s three local universities. Math is not some exotic, optional subject but is a core prerequisite to even the humblest of professions. At the micro-level, a good starting point for individual teachers, if they have not already done so, would be to familiarise themselves with the reports on candidates’ performances that are listed for the past nine years on the CXC website. The reports list pupils general misconceptions about specific mathematical ideas, and suggest remedies. 

At a macro-level, it may well be time for a national debate on the ongoing decline in mathematical ability. Do pupils need a reversion to old, traditional ways of learning? Alternatively, would pupils benefit from more use of electronic technology such as internet-linked smartphones for learning mathematical concepts? One way or the other, can teachers find new ways to practically illustrate certain mathemetical concepts that pupils might otherwse have problems mentally visualising?

UWI - Mobile Learning

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:40 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 11:41 AM ]

Poor Math Performance A Problem (Caribbean News)

posted Jan 15, 2017, 11:05 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 11:08 AM ]

Poor Math Performance A Problem 
by Jeanneau Martelly  
A veteran educator has called on education officials across the Caribbean to address the underachievement of students in Mathematics.   Virginia Albert Poyotte says poor performance in the subject is of great concern especially at the CXC examinations level. She is urging education stakeholders to meet and discuss new ways of addressing the issue.   
This year only 33 per cent of entries for the CXC Mathematics examination achieved passes which is a further decline in performance compared with the last two years.     
“This is something that needs to be addressed by all the different parties involved. That would require Ministers of Education, representatives of CXC, Teachers Unions, and other examining boards to look at what the problem is, what must have cause of the students  performing at that low level and there are a number of measures that they would need to put in place at varying levels,” she said. CXC for its part has outlined some measures being implemented to address the issue, including the establishment of an expert working group to recommend changes in the teaching, learning and assessment of Mathematics.

Math co-ordinator set to address low CXC math pass rate

posted Jan 15, 2017, 10:50 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul

Antigua Observer 2012.08.23

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Co-ordinator of Mathematics in the Ministry of Education, Caron Weston, said she will be “pulling out all the stops” to increase the national performance in the subject area.

Last year, a mere 29 per cent or 437 student out of a total of 1,518 that sat mathematics passed the exam, and the figure is believed to be lower this year.

This pass rate is quite alarming compared to the region’s average, which according to the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) is 33 per cent this year.

Weston, a doctoral student who returned to the job December last year, said this high failure rate is of grave concern for her, especially when compared to other subject areas which are recording high passes.

Weston said teachers need to be more equipped with 21st century methodologies to deliver the subject in a more effective manner.

She indicated that this would mean including more research as part of the curriculum and teachers making writing, reading and comprehension a part of their trajectory.

“We have also got to make certain that the mathematics we are teaching our children they can link it to their real world experience,” Weston said in an exclusive interview with OBSERVER Media.

The co-ordinator admitted that the examination body can not reduce the pass rate any lower, adding that the solution going forward is to ensure that the practical math component is not abstract.

“We have to build the students up from where they are, and it can be done, but again we have to empower our teachers to make them understand these are things that you can do. High quality teaching is important,” Weston said.

She also pointed out that her visit to a number of schools across the island proved that certain components are missing from the application of the subject which is compulsory.

Education Minister Dr Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, in an interview last year following the announcement of the Math results, said her ministry would be implementing a number of recommendations by CXC to tackle the decline in math scores.

Dr Quinn-Leandro said those steps included training teachers in the use of the new CXC online learning portal Notesmaster for math.

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Examination Council has issued a call to action to address the performance in mathematics.

According to the examination body, the performance in the May/June 2012 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) mathematics examination has resulted in a call for action in the region to address deficiencies in the subject.

This year, 33 per cent of the entries for mathematics achieved Grades I – III, which are the acceptable grades at CSEC.

CXC said this is a further decline in performance when compared with the last two years. In 2011, 35 per cent earned similar grades and in 2010 the figure stood at 41 per cent.

Registrar of CXC Dr Didacus Jules outlined some measures CXC will be implementing to address the issue.

The examination body said 35 subjects were offered for the May/June examination this year and performance improved in nine subjects, declined on 19, remained the same on six and included one new subject.

CXC also reported steady progress in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), which replaced the traditional A ‘levels in the region.

The number of unit entries this year increased from 108,379 last year to 109,880 this year, an increase of 1,501 entries.

The number of candidates writing CAPE also increased when compared with previous years.

This year 28,043 candidates wrote CAPE, compared with 27,596 candidates in 2011, an increase of 447 candidates.

The Ministry of Education is expected to give an official breakdown of the results for CSEC and Cape later this week.

CSEC performance worsens slightly in 2016 – CXC

posted Jan 15, 2017, 10:44 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 10:47 AM ]

Jamaican Observer 2016.08.22

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has reported a decline in overall performance in the May/June 2016 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

According to a release from CXC, only 66 per cent of candidates achieved acceptable scores of grades I-III. This reflects a two percentage point decrease in comparison to 2015 when 68 per cent of candidates achieved similar grades.

While performance improved in 14 subject areas, CXC reported a decline in 17 subjects and constant grades in four. 

Among the subjects which performed at 90 per cent or better this year are Physical Education and Sport with 98 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades. Theatre Arts also topped the list with 95 per cent, Agricultural Science (Double Award) had 92 per cent pass rate, Electronic Document Preparation and Management recorded 91 per cent and Principles of Business had 90 per cent.

CXC also reported mixed results in Mathematics and English. 

In English A, there was an improvement in performance with 67 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades compared with 60 per cent in 2015. For English B however, there was a 15-percentage point decline as 62 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 77 per cent in 2015.

Meanwhile, there was a 13-point decline in performance in Mathematics with 44 per cent of entries achieving acceptable grades this year compared with 57 per cent in 2015, CXC said. Performance also declined in Additional Mathematics: 67 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades compared with 72 per cent last year.

The number of subject entries for the May/June 2016 sitting increased to 585,223 subject entries this year, up from 578,035 entries in 2015. However, CXC reported a marginal decline in the number of candidates sitting exam with 132,674 candidates this year in comparison to 132,824 candidates in 2015.

Decline In CXC Maths Regionally, Says Examinations Council

posted Jan 15, 2017, 10:40 AM by Surendra Dhanpaul   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 10:42 AM ]

Jamaica Gleaner 2016.08.12

The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has revealed a significant drop in the performance of students in mathematics at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level across the region.

At a press conference in Anguilla this morning, Registrar at CXC, Glenroy Cumberbatch, said the region had a 44 per cent pass rate this year compared to 57 per cent in 2015.

Meanwhile, there was an improvement in English Language across the region from a pass rate of 60 per cent in 2015 to 67 per cent in 2016.

Cumberbatch says a committee has been set up by CXC to look at how to improve passes in English Language and mathematics.

He says a similar committee has been set up to look at the sciences, which he says have been on a decline for the last three years.

Cumberbatch says there was a 64 per cent success rate for CSEC across the region, while it that figure was 90 per cent for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

CAPE results are to be released online to students tonight, while CSEC results will be available on August 16.

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