The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is moving towards full online testing, according to Registrar and Chief Executive Officer Dr Wayne Wesley.
He reported that work was still being done to get member states ready for the full digitisation of all examinations.
In April 2016, CXC piloted its electronic testing platform which was followed by the launch of the January 2017 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) multiple choice exams.
“This year, we are now capable of doing all our multiple choice examinations electronically and we are moving soon to have similar situations for Paper 2,” the CXC CEO said.
“However, given the vast difference across the region with respect to the IT infrastructure that is required for the administration of electronic testing, we have to be working currently with the ministries on a particular schedule that will see us over a period of time implementing electronic testing. But we have started that process and we are hoping that it will move quickly in the right direction.”
Wesley, who also gave an update on the outcome of CXC’s investigations into the leak of the CSEC Mathematics Paper 2 last Wednesday, hours before the exam, conceded that having exams fully online would not eliminate the possibility of leaks or cheating.
“While we don’t see it as the panacea, it will certainly help in advancing and increasing the level of security surrounding our examinations. Of course, then you will have cyber security to deal with, but it will give us greater control as to when exams are dispatched and ready because it is on the morning that we would release the exam and not necessarily a couple days before, given the terrain and the geographical areas that we would have to cover for the execution of the exam in any one country,” he explained.
CXC launched an investigation following reports the Mathematics Paper 2 was leaked before the administration of the examination on Wednesday. Wesley said CXC’s security measures helped pinpoint the examination centre in Jamaica where the leak originated.
“As a result of the breach and the compromise of the examination, as well as consideration for the mental health and wellbeing of our candidates, timely release of results, and matriculation requirements, CXC has determined that for this examination the modified approach will be used to award fair and valid grades,” CXC said.
Copies of the exam paper began circulating on social media the night before the exam, prompting an immediate investigation.
Noting the anxiety the incident had caused among students who had spent months preparing for the exam, Wesley said the criteria for assessing the exam will be modified.