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Address by the Hon. Shawn Richards, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education on the performance of students in our schools and colleges in the May-June 2015 Regional Examinations set by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and Test of Standards

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Hon Shawn RichardsIt is with a sense of pride that I bring to you, for the first time, the Minister of Education’s National Report on the performance of students in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC), all offered by the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). I will also share with you insights from the Test of Standards sat by children in the primary grades 3 to 6.
The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)
CAPE is taken by students in the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, and at the Nevis Sixth Form College. Students write CAPE examinations at Unit 1 and Unit 2 in selected subject areas, usually taking Unit 1 in their first year of study and Unit 2 in their second year and have five (5) years in which to obtain an Associate’s Degree.
The total number of candidates in our colleges sitting the 2015 May-June CAPE Examinations was 515, an increase of 13.43% over 2014. Exams were written in 48 units across St. Kitts and Nevis. There were one thousand, eight hundred and thirty six (1836) subject entries, an increase of 12.22% over 2014 with one thousand, five hundred and seventy six (1576) entries returning passing grades for a national average pass rate at CAPE for 2015 of 85.84% compared to 84.66% in 2014 which is not too far from the regional average of 90.7%.

Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College
The CAPE results for the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, for the academic year ending 2015 saw 371 students registered for the CAPE examinations compared to 397 in 2012, 352 in 2013 and 335 in 2014.
There were one thousand, two hundred and forty eight (1248) registered subject entries, 74.91 percent or 935 being Unit 1 courses, and 25.09 percent or 313 being Unit 2 courses.
Of the one thousand, two hundred and forty eight (1248) registered subject entries at the CFBC for the 2015 examinations, 87.90% or one thousand and ninety seven (1097) entries returned a passing grade, of which ones and twos were 22.78%.
The following subjects returned a 100% pass rate: Art and Design Units 1 and 2, Chemistry Unit 2, Computer Science Unit 2, Digital Media Units 1 and 2, Entrepreneurship Unit 1, French Units 1 and 2, Geography Unit 2, History Unit 1, Information Technology Unit 2, Performing Arts Unit 2 (Music and Dance), Pure Mathematics Unit 2 and Spanish Units 1 and 2. All other subjects returned a 75 – 97% pass rate except Chemistry Unit 1, Economics Unit 1 and Pure Mathematics Unit 1.
Nevis Sixth Form College
The 2015 CAPE results for Nevis Sixth Form College where a total of 144 candidates compared to 138 in 2012, 122 in 2013 and 119 in 2014 were registered for 588 subject entries, an increase of 34.24% over 2014. Of the total entries, 75.85% or 446 were Unit 1 entries while 24.14% or 142 were unit 2 entries.
Of the 588 subjects entries registered for CAPE at the Nevis Sixth Form College, 479 or 81.46% compared to 80.14% returned graded results of which ones and twos were 23.79%.
The following subjects attained a 100% pass rate: Agricultural Science Unit 1, Art & Design Unit 2, Biology Unit 2, Caribbean Studies, Chemistry Units 1 and 2, Geometrical and Mechanical Engineering Drawing (GMED) Unit 2, Information Technology Unit 2, Management of Business Unit 2, Physics Unit 2 and Spanish Unit 2. All other subjects returned a 70 – 76% pass rate except Geometrical and Mechanical Engineering Drawing Unit 1, History Unit 1, Literatures in English Units 1 and 2, Pure Mathematics Unit 1 and Sociology Units 1 and 2.
The overall pass rate for the 2015 CAPE examinations at the Nevis Sixth Form College stands at 81.46%, which is slightly higher than the 80.14% achieved in 2014.
I wish to congratulate the students and lecturers at the Nevis Sixth Form College and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies for their diligence in most instances that has contributed to another year of sterling performance by our students. I commend the parents for their support and acknowledge the contribution by principals, teachers and others.

2015 Most Outstanding CAPE students
SCHOOL NAME NUMER OF GRADE ONES

• CFBC CHRISTIAN BRYDEN 7
• NSFC TYLER MARTIN 4
• CFBC CHAVEZ LAWRENCE 3
• CFBC JAMALJE BASSUE 3
• CFBC PHILMON ROBERTS 3
• CFBC REISA HERBERT 3
• CFBC SAMUEL HANCOCK 3
• CFBC TAJI HAMILTON 3
• NSFC NICOLAI WILLIAMS 3

As is customary, the declaration of the winner of the State Scholarship and his or her runners-ups for 2015 as well as the best student in the cognate areas will be made after a full determination is made on that matter.
Performance of Students in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)
CSEC or CXC O’Level is usually taken at the General and Technical Proficiency Levels by students in Form 5 of our secondary schools. In recent years, we have seen entries from students at lower forms as well.
The total number of candidates across all our schools sitting the 2015 May-June CSEC Examinations was 743, a 3.23% decrease compared to 767 the previous year. Exams were written in 33 subjects across all schools in both Nevis and St. Kitts. There were four thousand seven hundred and nineteen (4719) subject entries with three thousand nine hundred and eight (3908) entries returning passing grades for a national average pass rate at CSEC for 2015 of 82.81%, compared to the 78.91% average of the three preceding years while the region returned a 68% pass rate.
The Ministry is quite pleased that the following subjects have turned out 100% pass rates: Agricultural Science Double Award, Building Technology: Construction, Clothing and Textiles, Physical Education and Sports, and Theatre Arts. 90 – 99% pass rates were received for Agricultural Science Single Award, Building Technology: Woods, Economics, Electronic Document Preparation & Management (EDPM), Food and Nutrition, Home Economics: Management, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Office Administration and Principles of Business. School Departments responsible for these subjects ought to be highly commended for this outstanding achievement. Of concern, however, is the continuous decline in Visual Arts at 31.11%. Human and Social Biology – 65.64%, Physics – 68.60% also returned decreased performances this year.

English Language returned a pass rate of 72.48%, an improvement over the 68.13% in 2014, while registering a -2.16% decline in the number of entries this year. Throughout the region, the past rate this year stood at 59%.
Mathematics has put forward its best showing for the past three years as it returned an 80% pass rate and a 3.57% increase in subject entries over last year with the region producing a 57% pass rate. Consequently, the Ministry will be taking a closer look at the number of students given the opportunity to write these subjects.

The Basseterre High School entered 110 students who offered themselves in 26 subject areas. Of the 728 subject entries, a 4.12% over 2014, 86.26% or 628 entries returned passing grades which is comparable to the 86.96% obtained in 2014. 100% pass rates were received in Agricultural Science Double Award, Building Technology: Woods, Chemistry, Clothing & Textiles, EDPM, English B (Literature), Food and Nutrition, Home Economics: Management, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Office Administration, Physical Education and Sports, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business and Theatre Arts written for the first time in the Federation. Unacceptable returns were received for Visual Arts – 10%, Music – 50% and Spanish – 56.25%.

The Cayon High School entered 91 candidates for the 2015 CSEC exams in 28 subject areas. Of the 441 entries, a 7.71% decrease over 2014, 80.05% or 353 entries returned passing grades which is the best performance over the preceding three years. 100% pass rates were registered in Agricultural Science Single and Double Award, Building Technology: Woods, Clothing & Textiles, Economics, EDPM, Electrical and Electronic Technology, English B, Office Administration, Physical Education and Sports, and Principles of Business. Unacceptable returns were received for Visual Arts with no passes, Human and Social Biology – 47.62% and Biology – 50%.
At the Charlestown Secondary School, there were 96 candidates, compared to 131 in 2014 in 29 subject areas. Of the 663 subject entries 80.69% or 535 returned passing grades compared to 76.70% in 2014. 100% pass rates were realized in Biology, Building Technology: Construction, Clothing and Textiles, English B, Food and Nutrition, Geography, Home Economics: Management, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Office Administration and Technical Drawing. Social Studies – 54.76% and Economics – 56% showed unacceptable returns.

The Immaculate Conception Catholic School entered 58 students in 21 subject areas. Of the 271 subject entries, a 40.96% increase over 2014, 84.13% or 228 returned passing grades. The school achieved in the 2015 CSEC exams a 100% pass rate in Agricultural Science Single Award, Biology, Chemistry, French, Home Economics: Management, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business and Spanish. All other subjects returned 66.67% or higher.

Fifty-four (54) candidates versus sixty-nine (69) in 2014 at the Gingerland Secondary School offered themselves for the 2015 CSEC exams in 27 subject areas. 84.05% or 295 of the 351 subject entries returned passing grades which is an increase over the 80.49% realized in 2014. 100% pass rate was achieved in Agricultural Science Single Award, Biology, Building Technology: Construction, Clothing and Textiles, Economics, EDPM, Electrical and Electronic Technology, English B, French, Integrated Science, Office Administration, Principles of Business, Spanish and Technical Drawing. Physics – 50% and Caribbean History – 52.94% had unacceptable returns.

At the Charles E Mills Secondary School, 76 students, an 18.42% increase over 2014, sat exams in 27 subjects. Of the 520 subject entries, 83.65% or 435 returned passing grades compared to the 74.19% returned in 2014. 100% returns were received in Agricultural Science Single and Double Award, Building Technology: Woods, Economics, EDPM, French, Office Administration, Physical Education and Sports, Principles of Business and Visual Arts. Unacceptable returns were received in Music – 33.33%, Spanish – 47.06% and Technical Drawing – 46.67%.

There were 62 students, compared to 47 in 2014 taking the CSEC exams in 27 subject areas at the Verchilds High School. Of the 404 subject entries, 75.50% or 305 returned passing grades compared to 82.37% in 2014. 100% returns were received for Agricultural Science SA and DA, Building Technology: Woods, Economics, EDPM, Food and Nutrition, French, Home Economics: Management, Information Technology, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts, Technical Drawing, PE & Sport, Principles of Business and Technical Drawing. Unacceptable returns were received for Visual Arts – 20%, Chemistry – 25%, Geography – 43.75%, Integrated Science – 46.67%, Physics – 50% and Social Studies – 52%.

The Washington Archibald High School entered 126 candidates, a 3.17% increase over 2014 in 28 subject areas, the highest number of candidates at any one school. Of the 894 subject entries, the highest number of entries at any one school, 86.02% or 769 returned passing grades. Unacceptable returns were realized in Visual Arts – 43.75%, Electrical and Electronics Technology – 50% and Physics – 58.33%. 100% pass rates were achieved in Agricultural Science SA, Building Technology: Woods, Economics, EDPM, English B, French, Information Technology, PE and Sports and Technical Drawing.

At the Nevis International Secondary School, 3 students were entered in 12 subject areas. Of the 22 subject entries, 50% or 11 returned passing grades compared to 78.26% in 2014. There was a 100% pass rate in Agricultural Science SA, Geography, Information Technology, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. 0 – 33% unacceptable returns were realized for the remaining subjects.

The Saddlers Secondary School entered its second cohort of fifth form students this year. Sixty-seven (67) candidates were entered into 26 subject areas. Of the 425 subject entries, 82.12% or 349 entries returned passing grades compared to 69.69% last year. 100% pass rates were realized in Agricultural Science SA and DA, Building Technology: Woods, Clothing & Textiles, Food and Nutrition, Information Technology, PE & Sports, Physics, Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business. Less than satisfactory passes were obtained in Caribbean History – 16.67%, Visual Arts – 40%, Technical Drawing – 40%, Geography – 50% and Biology – 50%.

Commendation must be given to the WAHS for having the highest number of subject entries and to the BHS for maintaining a consistent performance over the past years. Commendation must also be given to the Saddlers Secondary School that improved by more than 10% in their second showing as well the students of the Basseterre High School, that despite their challenges, were able to achieve much success. I applaud the efforts of all the schools and encourage them to continue striving for excellence.

2015 Most Outstanding CSEC Candidates
St. Kitts and Nevis High Schools

SCHOOL NAME NUMBER OF GRADE ONES
• VHS TASSANEY STEINBERGEN 13
• BHS KAMAU GRANT 12
• WAHS XAVIER-JON BASS 12
• CSS CHESLIN MALONEY 11
• CSS NEKHAILA TYSON 10
• WAH ANGELA BRYDEN 10
• BHS KAYLOR BASS 9
• GSS DEREZ MORTON 9
• WAHS KHANISA MAYNARD 9
• CSS PAIGE JAMES 8
• CSS YVADO SIMMONS 8
• ICCS PERNELLE ABRAHAM 8
• WAHS GLENDICIA PAUL 8
• WAHS ORWENCIA HAYNES 8
• SSS TREVICIA NISBETTE 8
• BHS ATHWON BLACKETT 7
• BHS JOESHAN ROGERS 7
• BHS YARUSKA IRISH 7
• CSS JUWAN EVELYN 7
• ICCS AMMA GYIMAH (Jimah)# 7
• CEMSS KAEDIDA FOUGH 7
• VHS LANIQUA HENDRICKS 7
• WAHS ALJANI BRIDGEWATER 7
• WAHS SUNY AQUINO 7
• SSS KIZAN DAVID 7

The Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC)
The CCSLC responds to the changing demands of education, and is designed to certify the knowledge, generic competencies, and attitudes and values that all secondary school leavers should have attained. Students who successfully complete the CCSLC would also have achieved:
• A foundation for further education and training;
• Expanded opportunities for entry-level employment;
• Opportunity to articulate with other programmes such as the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET).

In order to obtain this certificate a candidate has to pass five qualifying subjects over five years.

Of the nine (9) schools that wrote the examination passing grades were returned as follows in English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, French or Spanish:
– Basseterre High School – 199 candidates; returned 227/264 subject entries for a 85.98% pass rate
– Cayon High School – 152 candidates; returned 214/238 subject entries for a 89.91% pass rate
– Charlestown Secondary School – 110 candidates; returned 204/282 subject entries for a 72.34% pass rate
– Gingerland Secondary School – 42 candidates; returned 73/103 subject entries for a 73.78% pass rate
– Charles E Mills Secondary School – 122 candidates; returned 130/155 subject entries for a 83.87% pass rate
– Nevis International Secondary School – 2 candidates; returned 6/6 subject entries for a 100% pass rate
– Verchilds High School – 85 candidates; returned 126/165 subject entries for a 76.36% pass rate
– Washington Archibald High School – 186 candidates; returned 396/413 subject entries for a 95.88% pass rate
– Saddlers Secondary School – 57 candidates; returned 96/114 subject entries for a 84.21% pass rate.

It is hoped that through sensization, the CCSLC will gain currency which would lead to employability.
Test of Standards

The 2015 Test of Standard Examination in Mathematics, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science and Technology for grades 3 to 6 were held during the period June 9 – 17. A total of 759 grade three students, 764 grade four students, 741 grade five students and 794 grade six students wrote the Examination.

Grade 3, with an overall average of 62%, had the best performance in the Federation for all grades for 2015. Grade 5 had the weakest performance. All grades achieved an average of more than 50% for 2015. This is an improvement over 2014 where grade 5 had an average that was less than 50%. All grades had an improved performance over last year with grade 4 achieving the largest gain of 5 percentage points. Both islands had an average of more than 50% for all grades and improved over last year. Nevis had a better performance than St. Kitts for grades 3, 4 and 6. For those grades Nevis achieved a performance of over 60%.

The best performance in terms of grades was grade 3 with a national average of 62% and grade 5 had the lowest national average of 51%. This means that the trend of grade 5 having the lowest average continues. The national average was higher for all grades compared to last year. Grade 4 had the largest gain of five percentage points over 2014.

Nevis’ performance was better than St. Kitts in terms of the overall grade average for grades 3, 4 and 6.

The girls continue to outperform the boys from grades 3 to 6 on all subjects and by as much as seven percentage points as in grades 4 and 5 in terms of overall average. The trend continues this year as in previous years.

The improvement in the national average for all grades is reflected in the improved performance of the various subjects. Mathematics had averages ranging from 57% (grade 5) to 66% across the grades. Social Studies had averages ranging from 54% (grade 5) to 63% across the grades. Mathematics and Social Studies improved across all grades over last year. Mathematics improved in grade 3 by eleven percentage points and by nine percentage points in grade 5 and six percentage points in grade 4. Social Studies improved in grades 3 and 4 by eight percentage points and by six percentage points in grade 5. In grade 6 all subjects had averages above 50% with Science and Technology having the highest average of 65%.

Higher order questions continue to pose challenges to many students. Questions demanding the cognitive skills of analysis, application and evaluation continue to be weak areas in the various subject areas.

Writing composition continues to be a weak area across all grades. For Social studies, map skills and time calculations in different time zones continue to challenge the students. Problem solving questions continue to pose challenges to the students in Mathematics and Science and Technology.

Conclusion

Overall, the 2014-2015 academic year has been a very successful one. I pause at this time to say a heartfelt thank you to all stakeholders who contributed to this significant achievement of our nation’s youth, take a bow, you deserve it! I digress briefly at this point to express my pleasure at the transformation that is taking place with the inmates at Her Majesty’s Prison where fifteen (15) of them wrote nineteen (19) subjects and returned 18 passes or a 94.73% pass rate which comprised of nine (9) grade ones, six (6) grade twos and three (3) grade threes. At the New Horizons Rehabilitation Centre, six (6) students wrote eighteen (18) subjects and returned 10 passes or a 55.55% pass rate which comprised of three (3) grade ones, three (3) twos and four (4) threes. Our sincerest thanks to Mr. Newrish Nital and the management and staff of the NHRC.

For CAPE, we have had slightly improved pass rates in both Nevis and St. Kitts over the past year. It is apparent, however, that much work needs to be done in a number of subject areas to ensure that our students get the very best chance of achieving success in their studies. At CSEC, we have had an unprecedented number of students performing exceptionally well. Their names have been mentioned above. Overall student performance has been acceptable, however, emphasis needs to be placed on improving the quality of grades returned. The Ministry takes note of the fact that although there was improvement in Mathematics this year, we should not be complacent. CCSLC will continue to create the foundation needed in the core areas at the lower secondary level and we will endeavour to invest the necessary resources and have the mechanisms put in place for improvement in Test of Standards.

As we close this chapter of the 2014-2015 academic year, we look forward to another year with great expectation. We intend to capitalize on our strengths and replicate our successes while working incessantly to conquer our areas of weakness and promote even greater success among our students. Let us then continue to pray for even greater resolve and commitment on the part of our teachers and education sector managers. And may we work together as parents, educators and members of the wider society, for the continued improvement of the education system and the overall empowerment of our young people.

May God bless us all!

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