The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) 2021 examinations will be written between June 14 – July 16; however, students registered for the 2021 exams have the option to postpone writing their subjects until 2022, and will be given up to May 1, 2021, to apply for deferrals if they so choose.

Students who defer their sitting of the 2021 exams will be able to choose whether they want to sit their exams in January 2022 or May/June 2022. These students will still be able to use the same scores from their School Based Assessments (SBA) for their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Internal Assessments (IA) for their Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE).

The 2021 sitting will see the examinations returning to their normal format to include the writing of both the Paper One and Paper Two components, in addition to Paper Three for private candidates. However, CXC will continue to moderate 100 percent of the SBAs submitted by students, akin to what was introduced at last year.

These developments were confirmed by CXC officials during a virtual press conference held on Monday. During the press conference, CXC Registrar and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Wayne Wesley, explained that the chosen strategy of allowing exams to go forward while still allowing desirous students to defer, was the most optimum compromise from a number of options deliberated, because it caters for the varying levels of students’ preparedness.

“While there are individuals experiencing challenges in their preparations, there are others who are ready to write. So, we presented a situation for both groups; it gives us the best of both worlds,” Dr. Wesley commented.
Dr. Wesley was joined at Monday’s press briefing by CXC Director of Operations, Dr. Nicole Manning; Chair of COHSOD, Jeffrey Lloyd, who is also the Minister of Education in The Bahamas; as well as Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Clive Landis and a representative of CARICOM.

Dr. Manning informed the media that the final timetable for the 2021 examinations is expected to be published by the end of this week.
“There is a draft timetable on the website. We are not expecting much [sic] changes there and that will be finalised before the week is out,” Dr. Manning noted.

Dr. Wesley affirmed that the selected timeframe for the exams is not expected to change outside of extenuating circumstances.
“If, God forbid, COVID-19 continues to impact that, nothing can be done; certainly, we would have to rethink what obtains. But all things considered, the broad position is that this is the definitive position,” Dr. Wesley declared.

Students choosing the deferrals will sit the examinations at the same centre where they are currently registered. Students taking the option must apply for their deferrals through the schools, while private candidates can apply for their deferrals through the local exams office in each respective nation.

“No fee will be implemented for deferral of subject. CXC will be working closely with the MoE (Ministries of Education) and local registrars to ensure implementation of changes will be done smoothly and in the best interest of our students,” Dr. Wesley said.
Over 102,000 individuals across the Caribbean are registered for the 2021 CSEC, while over 27,000 individuals are registered to write the 2021 CAPE. Dr. Wesley noted that the final decision on moving forward with the 2021 examinations was done following extensive consultations with the education ministries of the respective countries where the exams are administered.

“For the approach adopted this year, we ensured we had consultations at the national level. All the relevant stakeholders were consulted and recommendations were made to the CXC from the respective territories on their national standpoints. In administration of all our exams, we will ensure they conform with the respective national protocols,” Dr. Wesley informed.

In measures implemented to better facilitate writing of the examinations, CXC has also extended the date for submission of the SBAs in addition to conducting training across the Region to ensure that concerns regarding SBAs are addressed.

Dr. Wesley noted that the CXC will not be issuing any interim scores awarded for the SBAs and cautioned against students using such scores as a prediction of their final grades. Results for the 2021 exams are expected to be issued by the end of September, 2021.

Cognisant that this could affect students applying to colleges and universities, Dr. Wesley explained that CXC has been in contact with several tertiary institutions to seek consideration for those students who will be affected by the change of customary dates. The CXC exams are customarily written in May/June with results issued by August.

Professor Landis took the opportunity to announce that special measures are being implemented at the UWI application process to give consideration to this situation.