In its continued quest to embrace the evolution of Information Technology, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) yesterday announced that it has successfully hosted its inaugural bout of electronic testing (e-testing).news 20170124

At a press conference held at CXC’s Barbados headquarters, and streamed live via social media, it was revealed that some 500 candidates from seven territories were able to participate in the e-testing format of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Among the seven territories that were involved in the historic undertaking were Anguilla, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat and St. Lucia.
There were reportedly few glitches during the examinations, which saw candidates being able to utilise the use of a computer or an equivalent device to participate fully in the Paper One or multiple choice segment of the examinations.
Speaking of the success of the venture yesterday was CXC Registrar, Mr. Glenroy Cumberbatch, who said that that the initiative has been found to be very favourable to the majority.
“It has been a very successful venture and I want to thank all those members of staff and all the other people who made a contribution in this historical moment in CXC, we tried and were successful in offering examinations electronically in January 2017,” Cumberbatch said.
He recalled that it was only a few days ago that CXC had embarked on having a view of the strategic direction in which it wants to be by 2020. In order to do that, he noted, the Council decided to look at all of the strategic plans of the various Education Ministries across the Region, and found that in those plans were moves to include Information Technology more in the teaching/learning and assessment of students.
“We had to close the circle…It is not easy for children to take part in activities in one way and then do the examinations in a totally different way. If Information Technology is to be used for teaching and for learning, then it should also be used for testing,” Cumberbatch asserted.
CXC, moreover, decided to embrace the added benefits of e-testing. Some of these benefits, according to Cumberbatch, included the fact that children could take advantage of their long acquired Information Technology skills.
“We set out to do that and we got added benefits of e-testing and included in some of those benefits is that students have all the skills that are needed. Should they just use it for social media or for sending messages to one another and so on, or should they also use them for the learning assessment?”
He continued, “We concluded it would be very good for them to use them for educational sessions as well, and hence we embarked on this effort to provide electronic testing to students from the Region.”
As such, when the examining body conducted its examination earlier this month, Cumberbatch said that it essentially continued its journey into having innovative systems added to its examinations.
“We began as an innovative institution and we will continue to be very innovative,” the Registrar assured.
According to Cumberbatch, of the candidates who participated in the examination electronically, a total of 158 responded to a CXC questionnaire. And according to him, 96 percent of them found the system to be satisfactory, good or very good, with over 50 percent of them finding it to be very good.
“So they enjoyed the experience of doing the exams electronically,” Cumberbatch asserted, as he added that “only four percent found it poor or very poor. One of the students said, ‘with due respect, I prefer to have my paper and pencil’…We will have people who are like that.”
Some of the candidates, based on their responses, also shared their opinion that the platform used to conduct the examinations was easy, and at least one-third of them said that they had in fact practiced on that very platform before they took the examination. “We would want to improve that so more people have access to the platform and are able to practice before they actually write the exams,” Cumberbatch said, as he disclosed that even more interesting in the responses seen was the fact that 87 percent of the candidates said that they would recommend the system used and, by extension, recommend e-testing to others.